Sustainability means the capacity to endure. And Sustainable Manufacturing is a cornerstone initiative at NCMS.The word “sustainability” describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions. In a manufacturing context, sustainability is the ability of a company to provide enduring value to:
- Its shareholders
- The community
- Our planet
NCMS has several initiatives in place supporting Sustainable Manufacturing including:
- Sustainable Manufacturing Strategic Interest Group (SM SIG)
- Sustainable Product Design and Manufacturing Tools
- Compliance Assistance Centers
- Alternative Energy Technologies
Sustainable Manufacturing Strategic Interest Group
NCMS held its inaugural Sustainable Manufacturing Strategic Interest Group (SM SIG) Meeting on October 11, 2012. Twenty-four executives from 20 companies and 3 universities participated in the one-day event at NCMS. Click here for more information.
The purpose of the SM SIG is to provide a forum and infrastructure for evaluating, implementing and disseminating open-source, data-driven sustainable design and manufacturing tools, technologies, best practices, and standards that address cross-industry needs to help develop products and processes that offer reduced environmental impact, are economically competitive and socially equitable. In other words, the SM SIG is organized to promote life-cycle thinking in product design, manufacture and service.
Quarterly SIG meetings are planned for 2013. Topics include energy efficiency, sustainability tools, awareness/outreach, and education and training. Membership in NCMS is a requirement for participation on the SM SIG.
The first quarter meeting will take place March 5th, 2013 in Joplin, MO. Click here for event information
Sustainable Product Design and Manufacturing Tools
Enormous potential opportunities and payoffs exist when life cycle thinking is consistently applied by manufacturers, both in business terms and in technology development; but requires the materials industries, manufacturers and stake-holders to re-think product design, analyses and material selection strategies. NCMS, in cooperation with EPA, DOE and multiple industry stakeholders, has developed several unique sustainability assessment tools to assist product and manufacturing design engineers. These online tools and guides help users assess and minimize the environmental impacts of products through their entire product lifecycle (design to end-of-life disposal) based on the raw materials, and their related manufacturing processes, chosen early in the design stage. Access the Sustainability Tools here
Compliance Assistance Centers
The Compliance Assistance Centers (CACs) program is one of our best known and long standing sustainability initiatives. The CACs are independent, industry-specific websites that provide key environmental compliance and best management practices information to help users better understand environmental regulations at both, the Federal and State level. NCMS developed and currently manages 12 CACs and 26 State Resource Locators (SRLs). The CACs and SRLs are funded through EPA grants and other sources. Each CAC covers a key industry sector, including construction, paints and coatings, transportation, metal finishing, healthcare and many others. Some CACs have been online for more than 15 years, providing guidance, information, access to regulations and forms, and community for stakeholders in these sectors. Many of the NCMS CACs offer Ask-the-Expert assistance, FAQs, technical libraries, compliance assistance tools and calculators, and on-line training, all of interest to NCMS member organizations. The service is free. Links to specific CACs can be accessed here: http://www.assistancecenters.net/
Alternative Energy Technologies
NCMS, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, has focused upon key manufacturing technology issues designed to greatly improve the affordability of alternative energy systems. An earlier program addressed key manufacturability issues in hydrogen power and technology areas, including the production of critical components such as fuel cells, membrane electrode assemblies, seals, balance-of-plant components and lightweight hydrogen storage tanks. This program builds off this previous work and extends into renewable energy sources –such as innovative wind energy technologies.
For more information on any of these sustainability initiatives, please contact