Monday, 22 May 2017

Sustainable Manufacturing Processes Ensure Environmental Integrity

Environmental integrity is becoming more measurable than ever before, and as a result, manufacturers must pay close attention to their sustainability credentials. Brian Sofley, Managing Director at ASSA ABLOY Security Doors, explores the environmentally friendly processes and practices adopted at ASSA ABLOY Security Doors. 

The construction industry has a significant impact has upon the environment, accounting for 40% of the energy used, and this doesn’t even take into account the impact manufacturing has upon the process .

Brian Sofley
And yet there are significant opportunities for manufacturers to help the construction industry to mitigate its environmental impact, from the sourcing of raw materials, to the manufacturing process itself, and finally taking into account the product life cycle.

Responsible Resources

The UK is self-sufficient for many construction materials, but relies on certain metals, clays and coal to be imported. As quality sources are exploited, availability is decreasing, and this can be seen in the global demand for engineering materials having quadrupled in the past 50 years .

As a result, efficient resourcing is no longer just a cost issue for manufacturers, but a core part of their environmental strategy.

One solution is using recycled materials, which not only helps to meet climate change targets and reduce the impact of higher commodity prices, it also helps meet the demand for resources. This strategy goes hand in hand with the avoidance of landfill, an important step to consider for businesses aiming to manage waste more effectively and to consider end of life costs.

At ASSA ABLOY, we are committed to the established environmental principles of reduce, reuse, recycle. This includes reusing many of the materials that come into our factories including wooden pallets, plastic bags and cardboard boxes. This may seem straightforward, but being mindful can have a considerable impact on waste reduction.

The manufacturing process

From simple ideas to advanced technology, there are opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

New innovations mean manufacturers can develop ultra-efficient processes that make the most of raw materials in an environmentally friendly way, in turn reducing emissions further.

At ASSA ABLOY Security Doors, we have invested in a new manufacturing process that is decreasing lead times for customers, having a positive impact on the environment and improving product quality.

Each stage of the new manufacturing process requires little or no manual handling compared to the previous production line, and as a result, the speed of production has accelerated.

Not only this, but the full impact of the investment has been seen through the launch of SMARTform technology, a new door design that incorporates a full interlocking seam on all sides of the leaf. The new door platform reduces the manufacturing time and improves the aesthetic qualities of the door leaf by removing unsightly spot-weld marks. The new design also eliminates processes such as welding and grinding, significantly improving the environmental impact of the product.

Seamlessly linking all parts of the CNC production process with the computer-aided design software ensures consistent accuracy, speed of production and ease of replication should replacements be required.

Ongoing performance

The environmental integrity of a building is a key consideration in the design process for architects and contractors, particularly as clients are beginning to see the benefits of more sustainable buildings through future proofing, reduced operating costs, as well as comfort and health benefits.

The consciousness of the industry to consider the longer-term financial costs and implications of projects and individual products has changed how specifiers source products, and although actual initial cost will always take precedent, there is a growing emphasis on the associated costs over a period of time, and therefore sustainability.

It is crucial that specifiers work with manufacturers who fully understand industry pressures, and will provide a long-term solution, as opposed to an affordable commodity product that offers initial cost savings but no long term benefits. For example, specifying a high quality, fit for purpose security door can reduce maintenance, repair and replacement expenditure over the entire life cycle of a door, ultimately providing better whole life costing and reducing environmental impact.

Customers, investors and communities all expect companies to be working towards green growth, and as a consequence, organisations that aren’t committing to environmental improvements in the manufacturing process may well lose out to greener competitors. Sustainable manufacturing is no longer a luxury, but a business essential.

ASSA ABLOY Security Doors has recently launched its sustainability whitepaper. Read more here:

  1 The Impacts of the Construction Industry and the Built Environment, Willmott Dixon
  2 The UK in 2030: Key Trends for Manufacturing, BITC

This article was also featured in our Spring 2017 issue on page 18 and 19.

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