Engineering and manufacturing industries have some of the largest outputs of CO2 in the world. Over the past three decades, levels of manufacturing industry emissions have dropped by 40%, but they still recorded 78.4 million metric tons of CO2 in 2020 in the UK. These are staggering statistics. With the government aiming to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 and hoping to reach net zero by 2050, workers within the engineering industry are seeking ways to cut their own emissions down further.
With so many machines that are necessary for the manufacturing industry, a lot of energy is required to maintain the industry, which contributes to emissions. In this article, we’ll look at how your machinery’s health and overall maintenance is important in bringing down your business’ CO2 emissions.
No matter what your business produces in the world of manufacturing, there are processes that can’t be carried out by humans. Machinery is crucial for these practices to streamline production but over time they can start to wear down with each usage. This becomes common with machines that may be the cheaper options when initially sourcing them for your business and you’ll end up paying more to have them serviced more than higher-quality machines.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that in 2020, 1,539.6 metric tonnes of CO2 was emitted as a direct result of the creation of new machinery and equipment. This shows that buying brand new equipment could hugely contribute to greenhouses gases being introduced into the atmosphere, so keeping and maintaining old equipment could be a huge solution. Making sure you have a consistent schedule for assessing the health of your machines as well as regular maintenance can help to extend their lifespan. For example, if you need to replace a hydraulic ram part or seals, such as a retaining ring, investing in a high-quality piece will likely ensure longevity and efficiency.
If what you produce requires multiple pieces of equipment, your energy output and overall emissions will most likely be higher. This will be the case if your end product needs extreme temperatures to be made or stored, as maintaining steady temperatures can be incredibly energy intensive.
It’s important to be objective with your selection of machinery. Whether that’s by removing certain machines in favour of one that runs using renewable energy sources or implementing those that do multiple jobs rather than having unique machines for each process. Reducing the number of machines in your production process will greatly reduce your energy output.
One thing that may not be considered when it comes to equipment emissions is that when you’re buying new machines as upgrades to your pre-existing ones, owning it can encourage more frequent use. Increased use will lead to further emissions and drive down the efficiency of your processes.
Instead of buying new equipment, renting could be a more efficient solution. This could mean that you’re reducing carbon emissions by bringing down the intensity of use. The European Renting Association found that using a rental model for equipment can significantly reduce emissions by 30–50%.
The idea of ownership when it comes to brand new machines is an appealing idea, as it means your company won’t have to rely on rental companies to provide equipment when you need it. Especially when your business needs to make an upgrade, you might have an idea of exactly what you need and have the budget to afford a purchase. But if you’re making an active effort to work towards net zero, renting might be the better option.
Keeping an eye on the health of your machines is crucial for making sure you’re business is as energy efficient as possible. However, beyond optimising your own efficient procedures, it’s good to set a precedent across all points in your supply chain. Working with other companies who are becoming more conscious of sustainability will help further the goal of meeting a net-zero target within the coming decades.