- SPECIAL REPORTS
Green Manufacturing Assembly
Manufacturers are pursuing a wide variety of “green” initiatives, such as energy-efficient lighting, landfill gas, recycling, solar panels and wind turbines. In fact, more than one-half of our 2014 State of the Profession respondents claim their plant has implemented green-related programs during the past 12 months. That’s a 3 percentage point increase over 2013 and 8 percentage points higher than 2012.
3M Co. is famous for sand paper, Scotch tape and Post-it notes. But, it’s also bullish on the future of fuel cell technology. The company is a leading provider of materials that are critical to fuel cells, such as fluoropolymers, membrane materials and advanced ceramics.
The General Motors’ Orion Assembly Plant sits in the shadow of a large landfill. But, the 4-million-square foot factory, which is home to the Chevrolet Sonic and the Buick Verano, uses that to its advantage. The plant derives a significant portion of its power from landfill gas.
EVANSTON, IL—Solar panels made in China have a higher overall carbon footprint and are likely to use substantially more energy during manufacturing than those made in Europe, says a new study from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory.
PUNE, India—Volkswagen plans to reduce energy consumption at its assembly plant here by 436 megawatt hours per year by equipping the assembly line with high-volume, low-speed fans. The carmaker also aims to reduce water usage at the facility by 1,636 cubic meters annually.
OXFORD, UK—BMW has installed 11,500 solar panels on the roof its Mini assembly plant here. The panels will generate enough electricity to power 850 UK households.
DEARBORN, MI—Ford Motor Co. reduced per vehicle water use last year by 30 percent globally from a 2009 baseline, reaching its goal two years ahead of schedule. Plans are under way to further cut water use by another 2 percent this year and to set new long-term goals.
ALTONA, Australia—Toyota has installed a 500-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the roof of its assembly plant here. The 2,000-panel system will provide approximately 10 percent of the factory’s energy needs.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA—Boeing and Lockheed were among several companies honored last week for leadership in manufacturing by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
Many experts tout fuel cells as one of the cleanest forms of green energy, because the devices reduce CO2 emissions and provide greater energy efficiency than combustion engines.