Emery, R., "Sustainable Manufacturing: Beyond Turning the Lights Off," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-1299, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-1299.
- Sustainable Manufacturing: Beyond Turning the Lights OffThere is increasing pressure for manufacturers to go “green.” Automotive OEMs are improving their own sustainability practices and demanding environmental accountability from their vendors.Sustainable manufacturing is defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the creation of manufactured products using processes that: 1Minimize negative environmental impacts2Conserve energy and natural resources3Are safe for employees, communities and consumers4Are economically soundInstalling low-energy lighting and adding recycling bins have had a positive effect, but manufacturers must take a comprehensive view of sustainability to have a continuing impact. This white paper will address some “out of the box” methods to improve sustainability of automotive assembly. Case study data will be included with examples of applications in each area. 1Minimize negative environmental impacts1.1Minimize waste: Reduce equipment waste, such as conveyance scrap metal during line change, discarded AGV batteries and obsolete machines. Assembly lines must be designed for flexibility and scalability.1.2Minimize facility and machine sprawl: Design machines, automation and conveyance to optimize existing floor space and avoid sprawl. Use equipment health monitoring to extend machine and tool life.2Conserve Energy and Natural Resources2.1Minimize energy use: Select equipment and strategies to reduce energy use, such as electrical and mechanical regeneration in powertrain test to reuse energy or return it to the grid.2.2Reduce raw material consumption: Design machines and conveyance for flexibility, scalability, portability and commonality to reduce requirements for new machines.3Safety for Employees, Communities and Customers3.1Improve ergonomics: Incorporate better material kitting and sequencing. Utilize integrated lifts, rollover automation and redesigned processes for better worker-line interactions.3.2Reduce risk of worker injury: Configure safety scanners by station, part and process. Choose conveyance designed for safe worker interactions.3.3Create a cleaner, quieter environment: Machines and conveyance options that are less mechanical offer a dual benefit of quieter and cleaner operation.3.4Facilitate Effective Recalls: Tracking and traceability systems create a complete product birth history, including raw materials, processes and parts. Recalled cars and parts can be quickly identified for the protection of automotive consumers and communities.4Economically Sound4.1Reduce unplanned equipment outages: Maintenance and spare parts ordering schedules can be created based on actual usage, not supplier guidelines. Tool and machine health monitoring systems capture usage data and repair requirements, reducing machine downtime.4.2Reduce recalls and recall impact: Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) can quickly identify defective raw materials and parts, avoiding the addition of labor and material. Recalls are reduced and impact is limited to only the affected products.4.3Improve Return on Investment: A sustainable factory is a cost-effective factory. Flexible, scalable, portable machines and technologies create a line that does not have to be scrapped with every model change. Effective MES will reduce waste, increase machine life, reduce parts inventories and minimize part loss. Portable, multi-function machines will be readily repurposed to new requirements and increase their ROI.