Issues With Environmental Sustainability In The Sheet Metal Industry
Sheet metal is something that is used in many parts of modern manufacturing. The problem is that the sheet metal industry is not a very environmentally friendly one. There are a number of different issues which affect the environmental sustainability of sheet metal which will need to be looked at to make this a more eco-friendly industry.
The Energy Consumption
The amount of energy that the sheet metal industry uses is one of the primary problems it is facing. The transforming of sheet metal into any product requires large amounts of energy to power the wide range of machinery that is required. There are 2 ways that this issue can be remedied, but both options can take time.
The first potential solution is to look at less energy intensive technology for the industry. This will involve changing the designs of the machinery used to ensure that they require less power. The second solution would be to use sustainable energy to power the machinery. While this does make the industry more environmentally friendly, it does not address the root need for large amounts of power.
The Use Of Hazardous Chemicals
There are a number of toxic and hazardous chemicals which are used within the sheet metal industry. These chemicals include solvents, surface treatments and hydraulic fluid. The primary issue with these chemicals is that they could be released during sheet metal production or as the result of an accident. When this happens, they pose a risk to people and the environment as a whole.
Researchers have been looking into ways to limit the use of hazardous chemicals in this industry. They have also looked at minimizing the harm which is caused by these fluids through the creation of more sustainable systems. Of course, this will take many years to complete and many more before it becomes an industry standard.
Reliance On Water
Many people do not realize how reliant the sheet metal industry is on water. Water is the standard coolant used in the industry and is also used to suppress dust and clean the sheet metal. While these are important processes, fresh water is a finite resource and is very important in certain locations which are prone to drought.
The best solution which has been found for this problem is to limit the use of fresh water in the sheet metal industry. The processes that require water do not have to use fresh water and can use desalinated or grey water. This will make the overall process more environmentally friendly and better for areas that are drought prone.
The Production Of Waste
The waste that is produced by the sheet metal industry has actually been declining and is one of the issues that is becoming less of a problem. This is due to the fact that modern technology has limited the amount of waste produced. Improvements to waste management processes also helps with the reduction of waste. This is a major step to environmental sustainability for this industry which historically created a large amount of non-degradable waste.