ISA Interchange

Welcome to the official blog of the International Society of Automation (ISA).

This blog covers numerous topics on industrial automation such as operations & management, continuous & batch processing, connectivity, manufacturing & machine control, and Industry 4.0.

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. ISA blog posts may be authored by ISA staff and guest authors from the automation community. Views and opinions expressed by a guest author are solely their own, and do not necessarily represent those of ISA. Posts made by guest authors have been subject to peer review.

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How is Modern Tech Increasing Sustainability in Manufacturing?

Most people don’t often associate the manufacturing industry with sustainability. However, modern technology has made it possible for manufacturing companies across the globe to reduce waste and improve sustainability efforts. It’s now time to change the overall scope of the industry so that your business can reduce its carbon footprint and make a commitment to long-term sustainability.

If you’re not currently using modern tech to boost sustainability in your manufacturing business, we’ve got a few different options to discuss that are improving the manufacturing process and mitigating errors to increase sustainable production efforts. Let’s take a closer look at some of the modern tech options that are poised to change the industry for the better, creating a cleaner future in manufacturing.

AI and Automation 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can not only improve the effectiveness and efficiency of your manufacturing company, but it can also promote sustainable practices. As AI learns production methods, it will be able to suggest and eventually implement adjustments that will allow greater efficiency while using less energy and creating less waste.

Automation offers similar benefits, including automated data analytics. Companies that leverage data often boost their efficiency, reduce energy use, and optimize their performance while reducing human error. Automation can be used to:

  • Optimize supply chains to reduce the carbon footprint
  • Help switch to paperless reporting
  • Provide clean, detailed data useful for creating an environmental strategy

While many worry that more automation means fewer jobs, nothing could be further from the truth. As automation grows in the manufacturing industry, it will help drive new revenue streams and create new jobs, bringing more people into the workplace while cutting back on carbon emissions.

Solar Tech 

We’ve undoubtedly seen the growing popularity of solar panels on homes and businesses across the country. However, solar tech is about more than panels providing electricity. Solar technology is shaping the future of multiple industries. In manufacturing, installing solar panels can help supplement energy use. However, utilizing advancements in this type of tech can cut back on carbon emissions through the supply chain.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation is the number one contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. When shipping in supplies and shipping out products every day, businesses are contributing to these emissions.

Thankfully, electric vehicle (EV) technology has come a long way in recent years. By replacing a business’s current fleet with EVs, carbon emissions are cut back immediately—especially when powering those EVs with solar energy. Solar-powered vehicles are on the way, and, in the meantime, consider switching out your current fleet or working with supply companies that utilize electric vehicles.

3D Printing 

3D printing has also come a long way in recent years. It has advanced to a point now that many people have 3D printers in their homes and are able to make their own creations with complex designs. This type of printing can save businesses time, money, and improve sustainability efforts.

3D printing allows for tooling-free manufacturing without waste. Any “scraps” that are left over from each printing job can typically be reused. While making the switch to 3D printing can be a major investment, it’s one that’s likely to save your business money in the long run and provide cleaner creation immediately.

Conclusion

Technology continues to advance at rapid speeds, and it is intersecting with sustainability in a variety of ways. Take advantage of these advancements and how they’re impacting the manufacturing industry. The more sustainable changes you make within your business, the better you’ll feel about reducing your carbon footprint and establishing a brand that’s focused on a cleaner, greener future.

Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn't writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.

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