While industrial advancements over the past few decades have introduced greater efficiencies, new solutions, and so much more for businesses and individuals across the globe, they’ve also, unfortunately, had a massive impact on the planet’s health.
The carbon footprint required to support the shipment of goods worldwide is immense, with international transport alone responsible for 33% of world trade-related emissions. Along with placing demands on the transportation infrastructure for moving goods and people, factories consume a large amount of physical space and energy because of high-staffing requirements. The manufacturing’ category is responsible for around 24% of global carbon emissions, and the electronics assembly market alone is equivalent to about 1% of total US emissions.
Today, however, there’s a heightened awareness and increased focus on reducing waste and shifting towards a smaller footprint and more energy-efficient production. As a result, it’s time for manufacturers to look at their current practices, processes, and technologies and start taking action to create a greener, more sustainable path forward.
How automation can support more sustainable business practices
One of the most significant steps a manufacturer can take to implement more sustainable processes and practices is to adopt automation, specifically intelligent automation, for the final assembly process in their factories. Traditionally, final assembly has been the most labor intensive and challenging to automate, but recent advances in technology have enabled even the most manual of operations – motherboard electronics assembly, for example – to now be automated using software, machine vision, and programmable robotics.
Manufacturers who embrace this have the opportunity to move their production operations closer to their end customers, significantly reducing their global footprint and operating factories that are much more energy-efficient and transportation-light.
Automation-based factories are, by definition, more efficient, capable of running a higher number of shifts per day with greater production output and yield per square foot of factory. Programmable assembly lines can enable quick product changeovers and accommodate multiple types of product SKUs on a single line, providing higher utilization of the line and lower inventory carrying costs by better matching supply to demand.
Bright Machines solutions make all of these improvements possible – and then some. Here are a few more examples of what our technology can achieve within factories:
● Reduced waste: Machine vision-based inspection and calibration can catch defects before they happen, dramatically reducing scrap and rework costs.
● Right-sizing use of materials: Intelligent software assesses the areas of production that can be improved, allowing manufacturers to understand which materials they need more or potentially need less.
● Line efficiencies: With real-time monitoring and servicing capabilities, manufacturers can not only reduce the need for on-site visits but also understand where potential improvements can be made on production lines to increase Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and uptime.
Better yet, automation’s positive impact on the environment is proven
We not only believe in the power of automation, but we know that it can lead to more sustainable production. Various tools, platforms, and approaches are helping both established and up-and-coming manufacturing organizations assess their operational impact on the environment and the technologies they adopt and implement that can lead to more sustainable practices.
Eclipse Ventures, one of our lead investors, knows that everyone from VCs to manufacturers needs a way to analyze the environmental value proposition of new technologies. Its 2022 inaugural Eclipse Carbon Optimization (ECO) Framework allows users to better understand potential climate impact estimates, including those from Bright Machines.
The framework assessed emissions from the electronics manufacturing sector by evaluating Bright Machines Microfactories, our intelligent automation solution that allows manufacturers to quickly localize supply chains, improve yield, and reduce waste. As a result, the research found that we can help customers reduce the GHG intensity of electronics manufacturing by ~51%, resulting in an annual reduction potential of 5.5 MMtCO2 annually. That’s the equivalent of planting 6.5M trees a year.
Why it matters
Manufacturers struggling with where or how to adopt more eco-friendly solutions have their answer: today’s full-stack automation solutions make business sense, enable sustainable practices, and help reduce emissions in a sector desperately in need of change.
Plus, many manufacturers want to change how they operate and will eventually be required to do so. Pressure from lawmakers and customers who only want to partner with sustainable-forward organizations will demand this from their partners and vendors. If there’s a time to wake up and make moves that improve the conditions of our planet, it’s now.
At Bright Machines, we’ve had our hearts in making the world better from day one. We’re proud to be part of the conversation and look forward to partnering with our customers to help the global manufacturing sector take a step forward to reduce our global footprint.
To learn how we can help you meet today and future environmental targets, contact our team to begin a conversation.