A study by two business school professors makes the case that green manufacturing is not an expense; in fact it’s a money-maker. It took 20 years, but a Subaru plant in Indiana that makes 800 cars a day has reduced by waste 47 percent and makes use of 99.9 percent of the remaining waste. Nothing goes to a landfill, and dumpsters have been converted to recycling bins. One of the biggest problems was a toxic solvent used to flush painting systems. Subaru now distills impurities from used solvent so that it can be re-used. The impurities go to a company that makes coatings for steel industry ladles. There are a thousand examples, but one of the more intriguing (odder?) is to use all cafeteria food waste in a circular composting track. One day’s waste would be placed next to the last day’s in a plan under study. Special worms devour the waste, leaving rich soil behind. Or, I guess, Subaru could just hire workers who clear their plates.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.