Sustainability in electronic manufacturing presents the opportunities to produce new product options in demand for small business manufacturers, tap into a new market, and modernize your business.
The Green Supply Chain
The traditional view of “lean manufacturing” is a way to be more efficient, strip waste from operations, and improve the company financials. Lean manufacturing has been optimized through AI and the Internet of Things, paving the way for green manufacturing, and integrating environmental considerations into lean initiatives. Now a purpose-driven value for businesses to meet consumer demands, sustainability and the environment have grown to be a focus for buyers, which shows the demand for green products, like sustainable packaging.
Because buyers from large businesses are looking for sustainable products, services and partners that share their commitment to sustainability. Adopting green policies and initiatives can give you a substantial leg up during the supplier evaluation process. Manufacturers need to be agile in today’s competitive market. The most cost-effective, most durable/reliable, and the highest quality, with superior service and support.
What Are The Benefits Of Going Green In Manufacturing?
This ability to attract more buyers and win more business is the most obvious benefit of sustainability. However, it’s not the only one. Here are some additional advantages of becoming more sustainable in your operations:
Going green can help you keep more cash in your pockets, and in some ways, it can be easy to start. Installing energy-efficient lighting, for example, can substantially reduce your long-term electrical costs. Reducing water usage and cutting down on waste disposal needs can also add up to big savings over time.
A reduced supply chain of certified and trusted vendors is cheaper than a wide variety of vendors you use sporadically. Local deliveries equal lower distribution costs.
According to recent surveys,
- As of June 2020, 69% of manufacturers indicate they are “likely to extremely likely” to reshore in future.
- 72 percent of industrial/B2B buyers “always or generally” prefer to source locally.
- In comparison, just 10.8 percent of respondents “always or generally” prefer to source globally.
- In fact, nearly half of buyers (46.7 percent) actually “rarely or never” prefer to source globally at all.
People want to do business with companies that are not only good at what they do, but good for the things that they care about. Establishing your company as a champion of environmental responsibility can lift the perception of your manufacturing brand, which can play a vital role in the success of your business overall.
Attracting New Employees
As seasoned employees age out of the workforce, the manufacturing skills gap gets wider by the day. If you do not have the right talent ready to take in and take over these vital tasks, it can be crippling for your company. One of the best ways to appeal to the next generation of workers is to demonstrate your commitment to the environment.
How Can You Become More Environmentally Friendly?
The manufacturing landscape is a crowded one, and you need to do everything you can to gain a competitive advantage. Embracing sustainability and green-friendly practices is one way you can do just that.
Analyse Your Current Environmental Impact
The first step you need to take to become a more sustainable facility is to understand your current state. Start by analysing your energy usage. Determine how these sources are used in your production processes and how they might influence the environment.
Finally, look at the materials you are using on the shop floor. Are they recyclable or hazardous? How necessary are they to the production process? Asking these questions can shed light on your situation and your options going forward. Once you understand where your organization stands, you can take steps towards a more environmentally friendly facility. Fortunately, these steps do not have to be giant strides; you can start small and make incremental, strategic improvements.
Reduce Waste Where You Can
Keep efficiency in mind when using machines. Not in a room? Turn the lights off. Recycle paper and plastic. These are small everyday changes that do not contribute greatly to the cause, but certainly fall into the “every little bit helps” category.
For example, consider how you buy and use raw materials. If you only need part of raw material, explore ways to leverage what you do not use. Work with other shops in the area to see if they can use the excess materials and see if they have any you could leverage in exchange.
Regular monitoring of your resources can help you begin to think sustainably, easing you into bigger and better changes. Document your efforts and be transparent about your efforts to your employees and customers. Think about the bigger picture.
When designing electrical and electronic equipment you should consider the way you will use raw materials. Using fewer materials and fewer different types over the lifecycle of products will generate less waste and can deliver cost and environmental benefits. You should aim for the design to be as simple, and to have as few components, as possible.
You should consider product design at the same time as packaging design. This can help you to keep packaging to a minimum and could offer opportunities for the packaging to be used within the product once it gets to the consumer.
Packaging must protect goods, enable easy handling and distribution, present information and act as a marketing tool for the product. However, you can design packaging so that it uses materials efficiently while ensuring that it does these jobs effectively.
Good design has a vital role to play in producing packaging that is effective and minimises the impacts on the environment. Reviewing the materials and design of your products’ packaging may identify opportunities to:
- improve the protection of your product.
- eliminate or reduce your packaging requirement.
- optimise your packaging use, ie matching the packaging to the level of protection needed
- introduce reusable transit packaging.
- use recycled materials.
Bailers for Cardboard
Many businesses are impacted by runaway cardboard wastage. This wastage can get everywhere, piling up haphazardly in walkways, filling bins in inefficient use of space and generally just making your site unsafe – especially if it gets wet. Bailers for carboard can help reduce the volume of your cardboard waste and make it much easier to handle.
Solder Excess Recycled
Solder Recycling is easy, environmentally friendly and complies with all regulations. Solder dross is classed as hazardous product, so needs to be transported and recycled through the proper authorities.
Recycling of solder also reduces mining of new metals and is one of the best ways to reduce the e-waste. The new electrolytic process of solder paste recycling can remove both metallic and organic impurities from the lead or the lead-free solder, and solder dross.
There are also other benefits of recycling the solder paste waste or dross.
- The solder dross contains a high amount of unused metal, which gets wasted away, not being completely utilised during the soldering process. Recycling ensures that you can use the solder material, which has good benefits towards saving of wasted metal.
- You can save a good amount of cost when you opt for solder paste recycling. You get benefits in the form of scrap sale, metals, and credits and the financial benefits will be beneficial and alluring for you and your organization. The wasted metal, when recycled, can be used again in the process and it is as pure, new, and good as a new solder paste.
- You are doing good to nature and the environment when you choose solder paste recycling. You not only reduce the burden that the earth and planet carry but also make earth a more pollution-free space for the generations to come. Recycling of solder also reduces mining of new metals and is one of the best ways to reduce the e-waste.
- The new electrolytic process of solder paste recycling can remove both metallic and organic impurities from the lead or the lead-free solder, and solder dross.
Recycling PCB Boards
Scrap bare PCBs contain small amounts of copper that can be recycled. The amount of gold, silver, or tin in them is usually tiny. The FR4 epoxy glass laminate which makes up the bulk of the bare PCB cannot be recycled back to its constituents. So it is only the copper content that has any value.
PCBs must be consolidated into reasonable bulk amounts 50 to 100kg perhaps to make recycling economical, otherwise, freight costs will exceed the scrap value of the metal recovered.
Overall sustainability in electronic manufacturing enhances employee, community, and product safety. Going green in 2021 could give your business an edge and competitive advantage over many others in similar industries. It’s definitely worth tapping into.