As an extremely high volume micro molder for some of the worlds most impressive tech companies, we understand we have a big environmental responsibility in manufacturing. Even though a large amount of our customers require 100% virgin resin for their parts, the overwhelming majority of our manufacturing waste gets recycled for other uses. It’s not an easy task.
Accumold has been certified to ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems for over a decade and we take our environmental responsibility seriously. For us, sustainability doesn’t start with recycling but reducing the usage of natural resources at the beginning of our process, which reduces the amount of landfill space needed.
Environmental responsibility in manufacturing and the recycling landscape has changed since China closed the doors on the import of recycled plastics in early 2018 (National Sword initiative). Despite this change, we’ve been able to stay on target continually improving our sustainability processes. Operationally, we reduce scrap and waste which has the added benefits of lowering the amount of resin we use along with the energy needed to produce extra parts.
The nuance of environmental responsibility in manufacturing
From our molding equipment to our internally-built tooling, we have focused on efficiency and consistency to perfect our environmental responsibility in manufacturing our critical components. In recent years, we have increased the number of parts produced in a single molding cycle, especially small, tight-tolerance parts that have demand for tens or hundreds of millions of parts per year. We’ve made micro parts from tooling with 4, 8, 16, up to 48 molding cavities. We’ve observed most competitors won’t even attempt that number of cavities because they struggle with consistency and part tolerance.
Maintaining a clean and organized space also impacts our sustainability. Obviously, our 100K (Class 8) and 10K (Class 7) cleanrooms maintain rigid standards, but our efforts go beyond the cleanroom. From our molding areas to our tool room, our operation is clean, organized, and well maintained. Environmental responsibility in manufacturing is enhanced by preventative measures. Having dedicated storage for materials and a robust preventative process for our equipment and facilities assures there is a significant reduction in accidents, spills, and other emergency situations that may have an impact.
Environmental responsibility in manufacturing crosses over into all systems and includes preventative measures as well. We go beyond reducing scrap and recycling waste, implementing systems to prevent releases of materials that may impact the land, air, or water. As world leaders in micro molding, we understand the impact our actions have not only on other manufacturers but the world in which we live.
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David Cooper is a veteran professional in quality assurance, environmental, health, social responsibility, and safety systems. David is credentialed as a Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence, Certified Medical Device Auditor and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt. David holds an MBA from the University of Iowa.