The goal of sustainable manufacturing is to create products using economic processes that minimize negative environmental impacts. Sustainable manufacturing should conserve energy and natural resources.
Sustainability and being “green” have become objectives for many companies in recent times, and these values are important to many consumers. Working to reduce the negative effects of manufacturing while at the same time lowering costs is a win for all parties involved.
Companies of all sizes, ages, and business sectors should constantly search for new ways to innovate and improve their manufacturing processes to reduce costs and waste and improve sustainability. Such practices will allow them to reach new customers, increase their competitive edge, and create long-term success.
When searching for a fully sustainable process, it is important to look at every step of the process. The sourcing of raw materials is becoming a topic of growing importance to customers. Many people and companies desire a product that is 100 percent free and clear of unnecessary negative environmental effects.
There are factors beyond just emissions, waste, and energy use that are scrutinized, such as the welfare of laborers and the reputation of contracted companies.
A focus should be placed on these factors throughout the entire production process, from materials processing to manufacturing, assembly and test, product use, and disposal. For instance, finding ways to reclaim material or recycle end-of-life products could save money while being green.
Shifting Focus to Achieve Sustainable Practices
Depending on the scale and type of manufacturing a company does, different methods may be used to become more sustainable. While in-house employees may offer ideas and options to improve sustainability, many companies opt to outsource the development of these processes to experts in the field.
By outsourcing the work, companies are able to receive fresh ideas from individuals that have extensive experience and knowledge in the field. Regardless of what is being manufactured, there will be subject matter experts (SMEs) capable of guiding your company to the optimal production process that is both economically and environmentally sustainable.
Outsourcing this work will allow your employees to focus on the projects they are currently assigned to, preventing disruption to the manufacturing process. It will also bring proven, successful business practices that large OEMs and MROs perform.
The benefit of having experienced experts is that they know the field, they know what other manufacturers are doing, and they have connections that allow them to make progress that could otherwise take you a long time and a lot of resources to accomplish. You might not even realize some of the things you are overlooking with your current processes, so bringing these experts into the fold can have a significant positive impact.
Outsourcing to experts also allows companies to seamlessly scale their operations to fit demand and market trends. When the product needs additional engineers assigned to oversee manufacturing or work on development, new employees do not need to be hired or trained. Rather, the outsourced company can assign another individual who is already an expert and can quickly be brought up to speed on the project.
Additionally, multi-faceted processes can be covered with no downtime. Outsourcing allows work to be done regardless of the circumstances within your company. Small operations do not have to worry about coverage for employees who take time off work or leave the company. This steady and reliable method of completing engineering work is something that can be trusted to meet deadlines and quality standards without relying on internal help.
Sustainability in Aerospace Engineering
Many aerospace executives see sustainability as a crucial topic for their business to address. As the price of materials increases and governments across the world are creating stricter sustainability regulations, it is now more important than ever to develop and embrace new practices that will allow aerospace companies to see long-term success.
Sustainability extends beyond manufacturing. The design and servicing of aerospace products are also necessary areas to look at for optimizing sustainability. Engineers that know the best practices of other companies in the same field can be used to ensure your company is at the forefront of the sector in sustainability.
Reward Sustainability-Minded Engineering
Aircraft designed to have a lower weight result in reduced CO2 emissions. Factories using IoT (internet of things) smart meters can reduce energy consumption in the manufacturing process. Technology such as digital twins can collect data to create new preventative maintenance policies, which save money in the long run when compared to reactive maintenance.
Finding the best ways to dismantle older aircraft is another area of growing importance. It’s estimated that around 40 percent of aircraft will reach their end of life within two decades. Creating ways to recycle and reuse materials is an excellent way to promote sustainability and advertise it to potential customers.
Relying on experienced aerospace engineers will help your company develop successful products that are sustainable. Products designed with sustainability in mind will be less resource intensive to produce, service, and recycle. This will allow customers to feel good about themselves when they choose to purchase your product, and it is easier to market the advantages of a sustainable product to the average person.
Preparing for the Future of the Aerospace Industry
Carbon emissions from aircraft are expected to grow in the future due to growth in international air traffic, and regulatory bodies are taking action to address this through more stringent requirements. By placing focus on sustainability now, companies can be well positioned to comply with regulations while discovering more economically friendly processes to design, manufacture, and recycle their products.
Many customers are at the point where they want to see more than just talk about being green; they want to know that companies are working hard to reduce their negative environmental impacts. By outsourcing much of the work involved in developing these new practices and methods of production, companies can avoid disrupting their current business while receiving the help of subject matter experts to learn how to become more sustainable.
Many companies are making commitments to meet certain metrics when it comes to carbon emissions, energy consumption, or reduced manufacturing waste. Meeting these goals can be difficult, especially if your current staff does not have experience in sustainability.
Once again, outsourced engineers can help provide guidance and indicate areas of your manufacturing process that can be improved upon.
Additionally, closing gaps in the manufacturing process is something a fresh set of eyes can help with. There are many new methods of production that can be used to streamline processes and save money. For instance, new automation practices can be more efficient and less costly in the long term when compared to existing labor-intensive methods.
Since there is no universal metric to assess sustainability in aerospace engineering and manufacturing, each product needs to have a process tailored for it specifically. Whether the main priority is fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, or a less wasteful manufacturing process, anything can be achieved when harnessing an experienced expert workforce.
Relying on outsourced workers can also help companies to be leaner in areas beyond engineering and manufacturing. Fewer direct employees mean fewer managers and human resource department employees are needed. There will also be less money spent on paid time off, healthcare, retirement, and other employee benefits.
The advantages of outsourced workers are numerous and can give a company an edge over competitors over time. Embracing sustainable manufacturing by using experienced, managed engineering is an option any company within the aerospace field should investigate when searching for ways to improve their business.
If you’re interested in learning more about Intertec Engineering’s managed solutions, contact one of our team members today.