Green Manufacturing – Imminent and Inevitable
Green manufacturing refers to the adoption of environmentally friendly practices throughout the manufacturing process, aiming to minimize negative impacts on the environment while maximizing resource efficiency. It involves the integration of sustainable principles, renewable energy sources, waste reduction techniques, and the reasonable use of materials into all stages of production, from design to disposal.
In the words of Dr. Unmesh Jagtap, CEO, Sonnenschein Engineering & Infra LLP, Green manufacturing, also called green production, is the renewal of production processes and the establishment of environmentally-friendly operations within the manufacturing field. Essentially, this means that we use fewer natural resources, reduce pollution and waste, recycle and reuse materials, and moderate emissions in their processes.
And it’s not that only big factories or establishments are polluting the environment. Even the smallest workshop can contribute to carbon emissions and environmental pollution.
“If you want to help save the environment, we all need to learn to manage production processes in an eco-friendly way, manufacture eco-friendly products and maintain the whole supply chain to minimize pollution, carbon emission, waste and release of Toxic materials. Along with this, we should all take the responsibility as a manufacturer and as an individual to recycle most of what we produce including the waste,” says Dr. Jagtap.
The main purpose of green manufacturing is to reduce waste, reduce carbon emission, recycle products and waste, avoid toxic materials in manufacturing as well as in products and waste that is generated. It is a collective effort and all manufacturers can help make the environment better. This will help stop or slow down man-made disasters and predicted health problems like respiratory diseases, stress and psychological issues and other pollution prone diseases.
The main goals of becoming a green manufacturing company are:
- Use fewer natural resources
- Use more and more renewable energy sources
- Reduce pollution and waste
- Recycle and reuse materials
- Lean Manufacturing
- Reduce the amount of harmful gases that are released into the air during production.
Some of the green technologies and practices are:
1. Energy from Renewable Sources – Use of Alternate and Cheap Energy Sources like Solar and Wind. As the alternate Energy Costs are becoming more and more economical especially with the Government Support in form of Subsidies and Tax Benefits, you can go in for Solar or Wind Energy with different modes of execution which will result in direct Energy Cost Savings with payback within 3 years for most of the Industries.
2. Energy Efficiency – Utilize latest technologies and practices to improve energy efficiency in each and every process and equipment level.
Some of the General Strategies and Approaches towards the common goal of Energy Saving are listed here which should be helpful in achieving the Energy Efficient Manufacturing Processes:
- Develop an Energy Management Team
- Schedule Shutdowns and Restart
- Optimize Air Compressors
- Optimize your HVAC System
Apart from the above generalized Strategies, you can also plan some more specific solutions as follows:
Understanding of your current Energy Bills and analysis of the same to know the current status to develop strategies for reducing the consumption and cost.
Design Strategies and Build Solutions for Efficient Energy Utilization for manufacturing processes with the help of the following:
i. Energy Audits & Analysis
ii. Monitor Equipment level Consumption Data
iii. Energy Consumption Data Monitoring with Smart Dashboards
iv. Power Conditioning and Load Management
v. Predictive Maintenance Dashboards vi. Load Balancing
Use of Passive Cooling Solutions
3. Pollution Reduction – Greenhouse gas reduction and recycling. Reduce or eliminate release of hazardous gases, maintain air quality and reduce all Carbon Emissions.
4. Natural Resources Conservation – Use practices to conserve natural resources, such as those related to organic agriculture, land management, and soil, water, or wildlife conservation
5. Design for Re-manufacture or Reuse – Make products so they can be taken apart and the parts used again in new products.
6. Supply Chain – Reduce inventory. Use paperless inventory control. Source materials and parts locally to reduce Transport costs and bring down carbon emissions.
7. Reduce Energy and Water Consumption – Use Energy simulation techniques to use Minimum Energy and Water.
8. Recyclable or Biodegradable Materials – This gives your products a competitive advantage.
Reduce the raw materials and resources used to produce final product and reduce the cost. By following Green Manufacturing Processes like energy-saving (reduce energy costs), pollution reduction (reduce tax implications), economical driving (reduce fuel costs), or raw material reuse and reduction (reduce costs of sourcing new materials).
Gaining Increased Customer Loyalty and Attraction
While Cost, Quality and Delivery have now become default criteria by customers to choose the supplier, the expectations have now risen on other levels like Safety and Environment Friendly manufacturing with minimal Carbon Emissions.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
All individuals are now concerned with the environment and want to work for companies that share their values and also provide safe and healthy work environment with least pollution.
Increased Margins and Stakeholder Value
The margins are directly linked to your increased revenue, reduced energy cost, waste management, water use, and material expenses and all these are part of Green Manufacturing.
If your business does a great job at green manufacturing, it can be an extremely useful tool for your public relations and help portray a positive picture of your brand.
Many state governments as well as the centre offer incentives to companies that use green manufacturing methods. The move to go green can have significant upfront costs, but there are lots of incentives to help you make a start.
Ways to implement Green Manufacturing
Here are a few ways in which you can implement green manufacturing:
Using Non-Toxic Materials
Communicating in Real-time for Energy use, Waste Produced, Pollution measurements, Air
Quality Monitoring, etc.
Implement Eco-friendly Products Optimize your Current Use of Fossil Fuels Reduce, or Eliminate Pollution
Recover Energy, Don’t turn it Into Heat
Use Circular Manufacturing to Save Energy and Reduce Waste
Circular manufacturing is a green solution with a three-fold win
Implement Safety Measures by Utilizing Automation Tools, AI, IoT, and Robots
Digitize Internal Communication
All said and done, Dr. Jagtap agrees that Green Manufacturing is not a cakewalk altogether. There are many challenges associated with its implementation. Some of these are:
Going Green is a Long Lead Process
It’s a slow and time taking Process. It involves first collection of Data followed by a good analysis of the same. Only after that you can go for solutions, calculate the economic feasibility and then go to implementation. Also, it’s a continual process as you need to monitor effectiveness too.
Initial high CAPEX Costs
Many of the solutions are new and certainly more expensive than conventional technology. The biggest example is going to Solar Energy. It is defiantly high CAPEX solution and payback periods are in the range of 3-5 years.
High Production Cost
All Capital investments in Energy Saving Solutions are sometimes adding some fixed and variable costs. This may increase your cost of total Production.
Difficulty in Finding Right Vendors
Inculcating the Green Manufacturing practices in the entire supply chain is one of the most important aspects. It may be difficult to find such vendors who can follow the same without affecting costs.
Going Green Takes Effort and Dedication
Much efforts and long-term dedication are required. Also the drive has to be from Top Management with their active involvement. Many practices and solutions are cost-effective in the long run and many have intangible benefits. You need to be focused, dedicated and patient at all levels in Management.
The Greener Side of Green Manufacturing
Green manufacturing is the refurbishment of all processes to become environmentally-friendly
The economic benefits of going green are significant but may have long paybacks and some benefits in intangible forms.
Energy Analysis, Audits and shifting to Renewable Energy Sources are some of the main strategies and measures.
Today the awareness of Environment Protection, Carbon Emissions and Pollution Control is greater and ignorance of these factors can be a grave threat to your Business.
Dr. Jagtap exhorts that the time to start your journey towards Green Manufacturing is today and now. It will not only reduce waste, save Energy, have a positive impact on Environment and render the workplaces healthier, but also increase your Revenue, Margins and Customer Delight!