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4 Ways to Make Your Manufacturing Business Eco-Friendly

Author: E. Walgamuth Date: September 14, 2012

Eco-Friendly Offices

Big changes don’t have to be big costs. These one-time efforts will pay for themselves and benefit your company and the environment.

As green manufacturing becomes more common, it’s important that small businesses become more eco-friendly. And while change often means a burden on your budget, eco-friendly manufacturing can be mutually beneficial to you and your community.

NFIB member Max McAllister, president of Traxxion Dynamics Inc., a manufacturer and servicer of high-performance motorcycle suspension kits in Woodstock, Ga., offers four ways to make your process more eco-friendly.

Balanced Board

For around $150, you can hire an electrician to rewire your electricity power board. It pays for itself before your next bill, and you’ll save on every bill thereafter.

McAllister says it’s like a tug of war: You don’t want all of your heavy hitters on the same side. “If you have three air conditioners drawing energy from the left side of your panel and one from the right, you’re actually drawing and paying for enough electricity to run six units,” he says. Balancing the power board ensures you’re only drawing the energy you’re actually using.

     RELATED:  How to Audit Your Business’ Energy Bills

Coolant-Fed Tooling

McAllister says the single biggest improvement to his factory came from purchasing CNC Machine Tools that force high-pressured coolant through the drill bit.

“The biggest thing we consume is electricity,” he says. “You can reduce the amount of time to do a single operation, [thereby reducing] the electricity it takes to make one piece.”

For example, the machinery cut the production time of one product from 45 minutes to 16 minutes. “That’s a 65% reduction in the total cycle time on the part,” McAllister says. “We sell it for the same amount of money, and it costs me 65% less to make.”

Collecting Rainwater

Harvesting rainwater is a simple way to reduce water consumption and costs. All you have to do is buy a barrel and pump to connect to your gutter system.

While it can cost almost $3,000 up-front, once the system is in place you won’t be reliant on the city water system.

“Using an online formula, we calculated that 17,000 gallons a month hit the roof of my building, assuming 4 inches average monthly rainfall,” McAllister says. “We’ll use it for everything except drinking—toilets, washing parts, washing hands.”

Parts Cleaning

McAllister invested in a $9,000 ultra-sonic parts cleaner to replace the machine they had that used chemicals and solvents that were harmful to his employees and the environment. 

“We’ll never go back,” he says. “All we have to do is put the parts in, turn it on and come back in three minutes. It’s a safe, green way to clean parts prior to working on them.”

The cleaner dislodges oil, dirt and grime with a biodegradable mixture of water and mild detergent. Impurities are captured in replaceable filters.

     RELATED: 5 Ways a Small Business Can Go Green
 

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