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Process Control Technology Alert. Innovations in Green Manufacturing Processes

  • May 2014
  • 20 pages
  • Frost & Sullivan
Report ID: 2241898


Table of Contents

Technology Landscape
Key Trends and Drivers for Green Manufacturing
Key Challenges
Technology Roadmap and Analyst Insights
Advancements in Reduced Emissions and Energy Consumption in Green Manufacturing
Wireless Applications in Green Manufacturing
Advanced Process Control for Green Manufacturing
Planning and Scheduling of Green Technology Products


Green manufacturing pertains to the use of environment friendly, sustainable, green processes to reduce or eliminate pollution and waste. Green production processes use inputs with a low environmental impact, which generate minimal or no waste or pollution. Such green manufacturing practices include minimizing the use of natural resources, and recycling and reusing what has been regarded as waste to reduce emissions. Furthermore, green manufacturing can involve the employment of green processes to develop and manufacture green, environmentally benign products. The design, composition, and use of green products minimizes their environmental impact throughout their lifecycle.

Manufacturing companies play a significant role in building a greener future for the world. According to the US Energy Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2013, the industrial sector—which includes manufacturing and non-manufacturing (agriculture, mining, construction)— consumes about one-half the world’s total delivered energy. Stakeholders in the manufacturing industry (including process manufacturing sectors such as food, paper, chemicals, refining, metals) are designing and manufacturing products in a sustainable way, thereby eliminating pollution, reducing waste, and conserving energy. Organizations are beginning to realize that green, or environmentally
sustainable, practices are becoming a standard for industrial processes and factories of the future. In order to be successful in the long term, companies need to increasingly adopt this trend. This changing landscape of global commerce in adopting eco-friendly practices not only increases the bottom line due to cost cuts, but also keeps consumers happy and protects the future of the planet. Companies that adopt eco-friendly practices will have a competitive advantage and will be able to operate at the most advanced stage of development in the industry. In addition to reducing waste and emissions and preserving finite resources, such companies will be able to reduce costs through implementing more efficient systems and through innovation.

In most companies, considerable changes are required to go green. These improvements can include restructuring the company’s entire supply chain or simply converting to energy-efficient lighting in a manufacturing facility. Moreover, the transition to green manufacturing can require implementation of new manufacturing processes and creation or adoption of the technology and machinery required to support green manufacturing. In this process, the company will not only increase profits, but also protect
the global environment and overhaul the company’s image. This will be considered a win-win situation for all and could take the company’s business to the next level.

Among the many steps that are taking place in manufacturing, companies are reducing waste, eliminating pollution, recycling, optimizing the current use of fossil fuels, and recovering energy that is otherwise wasted in heat. Once the reasons for adopting green practices are appreciated and the processes developed, eco-friendly practices can be expected to extend to other areas of operation. Businesses too can profit immensely from a healthy planet in the future.

Technology Landscape
Eliminating Steps in Production Process
By examining each step in the production process, one can identify certain steps that create waste. The steps that create waste should be eliminated, allowing reduction in overall waste production. For example, in the chemical industry, companies are eliminating the steps that involve generating waste salt as a by-product. This is done by using selective synthesis. Some companies have also developed processes to eliminate steps that involve painting. This reduces the amount of paint used, thereby lessening both waste and emissions and also cutting costs.

Switching Manufacturing Process Steps
As certain manufacturing processes have a significant impact on the environment, switching to more eco-friendly processes becomes advantageous. An example of the benefits seen in changing processes is by switching from a chemical to a biological process, such as using inorganic catalysts and enzymes in a product. The environmental benefits from such changes in the process are seen in the reduction inputs and their related waste.

An example of changing from a chemical process to a physical process is when chlorofluorocarbon is replaced with other ways of producing flexible polyurethane foams. One such process is to use electrodynamic principles in spraying materials. The main issue with the spraying processes is that a large amount of sprayed material misses the target. Electrodynamic technology uses electrical forces to generate very small and slightly charged droplets. Waste can be greatly reduced by giving the target material opposite electrical charges.

Change in Cleaning Processes
Cleaning processes, such as using water-based cleaners instead of solvents, can considerably reduce environmental impact due to production. Some steps in cleaning processes during production can also be changed or even eliminated by changing the production processes. For example, changes in production processes in the microelectronics industry have significantly reduced the need for cleaning with solvents. In the textile printing industry, the need for cleaning is eliminated through careful planning of printing sequences. This has allowed the elimination of residues, thereby eliminating waste.

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