You may be making decisions on how to make changes that will impact your bottom line in 2021. One way to do this is by considering eco-friendly technologies and practices. Not only will these changes create a smaller imprint on the Earth’s energy reserves and limited resources, but they will also probably save you money, too. Here is a list of five changes to consider.
Companies like Tesla have thrived with paperless environments, using instead sets of visual work instructions. This change creates a significant environmental impact, but more importantly, it tends to improve quality and boost productivity. When instructions are relayed electronically, there is no chance workers will accidentally pull from an incorrect revision or out-of-date work order since these disappear with every update. Fewer mistakes mean less wasted material and lower scrap rate; that lower scrap rate will have a significant impact on your costs.
Add Renewable Energy to your Plant
The cost of installing solar panels has fallen in the last decade from $8.50 to less than $3 per watt. Additionally, solar panels have an average lifespan of twenty years. Once installed, the cost of upkeep is minimal. While it is unlikely solar or wind power would ever fully replace traditional energy sources for your plant, the addition of renewable energy as a resource will provide your company with long-term energy security regardless of the price and availability of fossil fuels.
The cost of wind power can be minimized by creating a system using quality legacy parts like those created for GE wind turbine systems. These industrial systems have been designed for decades of reliable use.
Look for Ways to Develop Industrial Symbiosis
Industrial Symbiosis reduces final waste products by creating partnerships between companies where one company’s waste product becomes a resource for the other. This reduces costs for both the upstream and downstream manufacturers. Manufacturers often share facilities, energy, and water costs, further reducing costs.
Conduct an Energy Audit
Your plant should conduct an energy audit every few years. This should be run either by knowledgeable internal employees or by a hired specialist. The audit will help identify any areas within your facility that need attention to improve efficiency. Lighting, HVAC, and production equipment should all be thoroughly inspected to identify any usage issues. Once these have been identified, conservation procedures can be implemented.
Consider Technological Advances
Over the last few years, several new technologies have been introduced to manufacturing that allows design and prototyping to happen off the manufacturing floor. Using VR or AR technologies to evaluate designs or process changes will help limit waste in the real-world environment. These technologies allow your design team to start over or back up in their design process without any lost product. Once a digital design has been perfected and analyzed on your virtual platform, you can move it to real-world prototyping, and then to your manufacturing line.
AR technologies are taking off, with many of the largest platforms like Firefox, Snapchat, Apple, Facebook, and Google all announcing or releasing AR development tools in the last year. This technology will reach far beyond the fun applications of cat-faced Snap filters and playing Pokemon Go.
In fact, AR technology has already moved into farming, one of the world’s oldest occupations, through PlantVision’s real-time multispectral augmentation technology that allows artificial intelligence and AR to self-optimize growing systems to save water and other resources. As 5G rollout continues throughout the USA and the rest of the globe, AR/VR adoption rates will continue at an exponential rate in sectors across the spectrum, from retail to manufacturing and agriculture.
Other advances like machine learning can improve your plant’s workflow by limiting downtime, improving your supply chain, and suggesting better use of human labor.
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