The aerospace industry has numerous waste streams that can produce enough waste to disrupt the world. This is mainly from the manufacture of aircraft, engines, and parts. However, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) confirms that the industry is doing its best to prioritize waste management.
In fact, the association feels that the industry is making good strides toward ensuring that the natural environment is protected. But there’s always room for improvement as waste management and environmental protection are continuous processes. For many players in the aerospace industry, waste reduction and management are the most significant hurdles to overcome.
This article looks at six strategies aerospace companies can employ to help improve waste management.
1. Waste Prevention
The best way to manage waste is to prevent its production in the first place. That’s why waste production prevention is usually a top goal in any industry looking to manage waste effectively. If the aerospace industry can eliminate the production of some of its waste materials, it’ll be able to make significant progress in waste management.
There are numerous and technologies that the industry can utilize throughout the product cycles to help steer clear of waste. For example, aerospace precision machining companies like Moseys Productions use certain techniques that are meant to reduce manufacturing waste. This creates a chain reaction where there’s waste prevention in the rest of the stages in the product cycle.
2. Waste Reduction
The first strategy mentioned would be the best and only one needed for aerospace waste management in an ideal world. However, zero waste production isn’t always possible for various reasons, such as the steps followed in the manufacturing process. But there are other things the industry can do to ensure that there’s minimal waste production.
In waste reduction, the industry will need to look at all of the processes that lead to waste production. This may include changing the design of the products or the way they’re manufactured to ensure that the least amount of waste is generated. The industry can take the same steps to ensure that the waste produced isn’t as toxic or harmful to the environment.
For the aerospace industry to get the most out of waste reduction, it needs to identify areas with high waste production. The necessary changes have to be carried out in a way that won’t compromise the quality of the final products. Pinpointing such areas is the key to the success of this strategy. Precision machining can also be applied in this waste minimization strategy.
3. Sustainable Material Use
Apart from making efforts to eliminate or reduce waste, the industry would do well to use sustainable materials. These are materials that the industry can have produced in precise volumes. This would help make sure that there’s no disruption of the established environmental balance or depletion of nonrenewable resources.
The beneficial result is ensuring that waste is cut right at the production of raw materials so there isn’t much to waste in the manufacturing process. The focus here is on what materials the industry purchases and their quantities. Waste management is possible when it starts from the very beginning of the product cycle—at the sourcing of raw materials.
4. Recycling And Reuse
Even in the aerospace industry, materials such as wood, paper, glass, and plastics can be used to fabricate fresh products. When more materials are recycled and reused, the need for new ones is significantly reduced. In addition, it allows for the recovery and use of materials that would’ve otherwise gone to waste.
Having a waste material recycling strategy is essential in aerospace waste management. Not only would it help conserve energy and reduce emissions in raw material extraction, but it’s also an excellent way of keeping waste to a minimum.
5. Technology And Waste Processing
Successful waste management in the aerospace industry lies in effectively making waste easy to handle. Fortunately, technological advancement has continued to make waste processing simpler and more efficient. By reducing waste materials at the front-end processing system, there are added benefits such as:
- Reducing the number of times a company needs to dispose of waste from manufacturing plants
- Producing better recyclable waste
Properly handling aerospace waste processing goes a long way in improving waste management in the long run. The latest technologies include those used in the briquetter systems, ultrafiltration systems, and coolant recycling systems.
6. Joint Waste Management
It’s good for the industry to open up and embrace partnership initiatives with other entities both public and private. This would result in the accumulation of ideas that can help make waste management more accessible.
Taking a collective approach can benefit the industry as it’ll bring in players who may help with many functions of waste management. For example, having a partner who recycles metal, plastic, or wood waste would make it possible to dispose of such directly and sustainably. It may also help in overcoming some barriers the industry may be facing with waste disposal and management.
Waste management is crucial in the aerospace industry given that it’s a huge waste producer. Having clear strategies for the prevention, reduction, and disposal of waste would go a long way in making sure that aerospace companies achieve their environmental goals.