Sustainability is the key to a better future and is constantly evolving to improve the quality of our lives. Focusing on the economy, our society and the environment, can simultaneously help meet our own needs as well as the needs of future generations. The pursuit of a more sustainable lifestyle is reflected in consumers, leading to changes in their purchasing behaviors. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, over the past five years, there has been a 71% rise in online searches for sustainable goods globally. So, what does this mean for you? As a manufacturer, it means supplying the ever-increasing demand for more sustainable product. That is no longer a future need, it’s happening right now!
In the manufacturing industry, we know sustainable machinery technology and environmentally-sound processes are critical to our future business success and ability to support new product innovation. Priorities such as reducing material waste, conserving energy, increasing recyclability and strengthening processing efficiency are at the forefront of achieving the ideals of a circular economy. This diagram from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) does an excellent job of illustrating this approach.
We also know that integrating sustainability is a process that can’t be done overnight. It requires time, prudence and a significant investment. We must also address each facet of manufacturing from how we operate the shop floor, to R&D efforts, to new technology application, to ongoing machinery development.
Here are some questions to help guide the process:
(1) What have you implemented to start or continue on the path to sustainable manufacturing?
(2) Do you know what options are available to help support your sustainable goals?
(3) Are you working closely with your machine manufacturer to help implement better energy efficiency?
(4) Are you working closely with your machine manufacturer to improve how your machine operates to deliver a more sustainable product?
Following are some ways Davis-Standard is participating and working with processors to support our industry’s sustainability goals. Anything we do is a step in the right direction!
- Improved manufacturing practices: According to Forbes magazine, manufacturing entities use one-third of the world’s energy. We must do better. Maybe you’re already using alternative energy sources for production. At Davis-Standard, we’re working on increasing our procurement of carbon pollution-free electricity to 100 percent of our total energy usage. In addition, machinery can also help with power consumption. The next few bullets will outline a few examples. You may also consider attaining current environmental certifications such as ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS).
- Ongoing machinery development: Moving toward sustainability does not mean we have to reinvent the wheel. We can take what we know about existing machinery and merge that with what we are learning about better processing outcomes. Machinery that offers space savings, improved transition times, reduced raw material loss, flexibility in extruder upgrades, and output quality improvements can serve BOTH the environment and the bottom line. Two recent examples at Davis-Standard are our SHO groove feed extruder and the CHP extruder for extrusion coating. Both of these machines excel in reducing power consumption and minimizing waste while providing higher outputs.
- Digitalization technology application: Integrating digital technology is fundamental to helping all of us work smarter. Industry 4.0 platforms support visibility in the production process, including a better understanding of energy usage, production parameters, equipment function, and allowing for predictive and preventative maintenance. Davis-Standard’s new DS Activ-Check™(trackable link to digital brochure here) platform is an example of a digital solution that offers a suite of analytical tools, cloud and local data storage options, and process and equipment technology algorithms.
- A commitment to R&D: What are you doing on the R&D front? How can your efforts be improved, and how can your OEM collaborate with you? We just recently adopted a direct funding initiative, targeting five percent of sales revenue, toward sustainable equipment development. With customer input, we’re focusing efforts on further expanding use of recycled content, reducing material waste, and efficient use of energy and process structures. We’ve also discovered the benefits of greater extruder insulation in reducing a machine’s carbon footprint, the benefits of energy-efficient barrel and motor designs, and potential savings when integrating a recycling system for edge trim.
- New material exploration: As another aspect of R&D, what are you doing in terms of new material/resin use and exploration? Using compatible structures with end-of-life recycling qualities is significant to the circular economy. For example, addressing machinery requirements for processing biodegradable resins such as PLA, PHA, and TPS. Davis-Standard offers fully equipped laboratories to conduct extrusion performance studies with biodegradable resins to study melting behavior, output, melt quality and produce samples for performance testing.
Working together to meet your customer and environmental demands is paramount to a successful future for all! We wish you well on your sustainability journey as we work together as an industry to make an impact. We also hope you’ll partner with us to collaborate as we develop new technologies that better serve your business and the circular economy.
If you’re looking for R&D services, please contact us here to set up an appointment with one of our facilities.
Are you looking to make your equipment more sustainable? Contact us here if you would like an evaluation of your equipment with a complete line audit.
Any other questions or inquiries, e-mail marketing.
The D-S Connect Blog Team