It’s our own fault, but we still have time to reverse the process. No matter how big or small, it’s up to everyone to play his or her part in tackling climate change. Individuals have the power to change the way organizations do business by encouraging go green initiatives in their workplace. Going green also can provide a competitive edge over the competition. Thesefour ways identify areas in which an organization can become more environmentally friendly.
1. Limiting Manufacturing Scrap and Rework
Scrap and rework can occur from production system breakdowns. If the product is left sitting for an extended period while technicians scramble to fix the issue, it may need to be pulled from the production line. The defective product is either scrapped or reworked through the system, requiring further energy and effort. For example, defective metal, plastic, or glass products can be melted down and reformed. Food products may be scrapped due to food safety concerns. In the semiconductor industry, silicon wafers get dipped in acid baths to remove the defective layer. The rework process uses harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment. In any case, the additional energy and effort used in the scrap or rework process produce further emissions or a waste trail.
Improperly maintained equipment leads to more breakdowns and, hence, more scrap and rework. The easiest way to mitigate emergency breakdowns is by performing proactive maintenance,such as inspections and lubrications,on allsystems within the organization so issues can be eliminated or identified before they turn into something more serious.
2. Reducing Energy Consumption
Evernotice that you make fewer journeys to the gas station after your car receives service? That’s because the car is running more efficiently and using less energy to drive it forward. The same is true for many other mechanical systems. If you keep them running efficiently, they will use less energy. Today, the manufacturing industry is responsible for 35 percent of global energy use. Greater demand for energy in the future could lead to energy shortages that hurt everyone, so it is in our best interest to ensure energy consumption is minimized. Adhering to maintenance schedules ensures equipment is operating as efficiently as possible, limiting the impact equipment and facility assets have on climate change.
3. Extending the Life of Equipment
When assets are retired, the disposal produces a significant waste stream. In conjunction with this, new replacement assets require raw materials and energy while producing production waste during their manufacture and delivery. It is well-documented that regular maintenance can extend the expected life of an asset. For example, regularly greasing moving parts will prevent wear and extend the life of the components. Obviously, there are some exceptions where new assets have a dramatically lower impact on the environment. For example, newer jets produce lower emissions than older jets, but generally speaking, extending the life expectancy of assets can reduce the environmental impact.
4. Reducing the Need for Spare Parts
Currently, over one trillion dollars in obsolete equipment and parts are sitting on shelves in the U.S. alone. Eventually, obsolete parts will be either recycled or scrapped. Similar to item #3 above, these surplus assets required raw materials and energy during their manufacture and delivery. During their disposal, they will consume further energy and waste. If the amount of redundant spare parts produced is limited to only what isneeded, we could make another dent in climate change.
Your CMMS Is the Key
Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) software is one tool organizations can use to help reduce their greenhouse emissions and impact on the environment. CMMS software can help an organization ensure its equipment is functioning efficiently and reliably within predefined norms, thus reducing its energy footprint and the emergency downtime that leads to product defects and scrap or rework.
A CMMS can also help an organization extend the life expectancy of assets by ensuring theyare regularly serviced and repaired on time. Analyses show that capital asset replacement can be reduced by three to five percent with a properly implemented CMMS. Tracking asset repair costs in the CMMS can be used to make informed repair versus replace decisions so equipment is only replaced when needed. Finally, according to industry expert David Berger, inventory levels can be reduced 10-30 percent with a properly implemented CMMS. The CMMS can help identify spare parts that are needed to meet availability goals.
Properly maintained equipment can prevent emergency downtime, improve performance, reduce energy consumption, limit the need for spare parts and keep equipment in use longer. A computerized maintenance management system is a proven instrument to ensure assets are properly maintained, so it should be a key component of your green strategy.
Jeff O’Brien is a product specialist and blogger at Maintenance Assistant Inc, a leading provider of innovative web-based CMMS. CMMS software is the ideal way to manage your maintenance on facilities and equipment. www.maintenanceassistant.com