Production of Machine Parts From Ceramic Waste

Never before has our society had such a massive and noticeable predilection for recycling. Many industries now want to show that they have a minimal carbon footprint and are doing everything in their power to reduce the burden they cause on the planet as a whole.

This desire has now come to the machining industry. Ceramics often go unused in many industries. This can be things such as broken or excess tiles from a construction site or any other number of ceramic using industries. Previously, we didn’t really know what to do with this excess waste and carted it off to landfills for it to live out the rest of its days.

Now, we are able to grind the ceramics into a fine powder that can then be repurposed for a staggering number of alternative uses. Turning this powder into useable machine parts is just one of these uses that is now seeing some major traction.

Why machine parts?

Many people are woefully unaware of just how prevalent ceramic parts are in the industry. Everything from electrical insulators to use in high-powered lasers and even as durable nozzles for dispensing materials from. Ceramic is highly prized for its thermal resistance, toughness, and applications in the electrical field.

Any of these parts, however, require careful machining of ceramics to get the parts to the right specifications. What this means is that there is a huge demand for people who can take ceramic waste, break it down, and then change it into a useable part.

Okay, but why ceramic?

Ceramic parts are one of the biggest places for growth in industry application currently. Both designers and engineers are finding new ways to apply ceramic to their needs, and part of this requires heavy testing. It can be prohibitively expensive for consistently machine parts from new ceramic for testing in ways that haven’t been proven to be economically viable yet, so using repurposed and recycled ceramics are a great way to test ideas before taking them to market.

The low weight and toughness of ceramics mean that over time, many parts thought only usable if they were made from metal or specialized materials can now be created from relatively simple ceramic materials. As chemistry advances and allows us to create new forms of ceramics in all manner of shapes and sizes, so do our possible applications for these ceramics.

 

In short, nobody wants to be left behind as better ceramic products are created which in turn is creating a huge demand for ceramic waste for recycling purposes.

They say that technology advances at an exponential pace, meaning that the time it takes for us to double our relative amount of technological advancement is shrinking with each major technological milestone. There’s very little opportunity for those who can’t manage to keep up, with obsolescence coming quickly, there is a major incentive to be on the cusp of any given field’s knowledge. Having the newest and best ceramic parts is just part of this drive for future-proofing businesses, meaning ceramic waste is at a premium currently.

Plastic Waste Reduction Leads to Growth in Plastic Recycling Market

Wide-spread environmental concerns about plastic waste are leading to increased demand for the plastic recycling market that has various uses for plastic waste. At the same time, and in line with this growing need, an increased number of industries that produce plastic products have committed to reducing their use of virgin plastic and ensuring that the plastic they do produce is recyclable, reusable, or compostable.

Growth of the Plastic Recycling Market

Valued at around $43.73 billion in 2018, research indicates that the plastic recycling market will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% in revenue and 8.8% in volume by 2027. Findings are that rising environmental concerns will be the primary driving force along with the concerted global effort towards effective waste management and sustainability. Another is the growing awareness of the need for recycling plastic and the anticipated market growth of the PR market.

A new report released by Research and Markets in February 2020 gives a market snapshot in its executive summary and discusses the plastic recycling market by material type, source, application, and geography. Titled Global Plastic Recycling Market Size, Market Share, Application Analysis, Regional Outlook, Growth Trends, Key Players, Competitive Strategies and Forecasts, 2019 to 2027, it explores the roles of the many global and regional participants in the plastic recycling market and analyses anticipated acquisitions, partnerships, and collaborations. These, the report states, are likely to be the major strategies market players will follow in an endeavor to expand their geographic presence and market share.

An older report published mid-2018 gave a slightly lower CAGR for the period 2018 to 2023 of 4.3%. This report, Global Plastic Waste Management Market 2018 by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast to 2023 stated that it would grow from an estimated $27,1000 in 2017 to $34,900 in 2023.

Global Focus

When research for the new report was carried out during 2018, the Asia-Pacific region including China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, had the highest market share in plastic recycling. This was attributed to the fact that the region has the largest share in the generation of plastic waste and is also the biggest plastic waste importer.

However, Europe was pinpointed as a region poised to become the fastest-growing in the plastic recycling market due to increasing government initiatives and the improvement of recycling facilities in this part of the world.

While the report covers at least 16 companies involved in plastic recycling globally, the Hungarian MOL Group has been highlighted as a result of its acquisition of Aurora, a German recycled plastic compounder company. MOL is a well-established supplier of virgin polymers and was motivated by its Enter Tomorrow 2030 strategy that aims to move its business from a traditional fuel-based model to a higher value-added petrochemical product portfolio. More specifically, MOL intends to strengthen its position as a supplier in the sustainable plastic compounding segment of the automotive industry.

The older report focused on plastic waste management not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Use of Recycled Plastic

In terms of plastic materials, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) had the biggest market share in 2018. The reason given for this was a rapid surge in demand for PET and HDPE for the manufacturing of packaging. Hopefully, this won’t increase the production of PET and HDPE, but will rather help to get rid of waste.

As the CEO of Unilever, Alan Jope, said in a press statement late 2019: “Plastic has its place, but that place is not in the environment.” He was announcing Unilever’s commitment to halve its use of virgin plastic, reduce its use of plastic packaging, and dramatically step up its use of recycled plastic by 2025. They would also help to collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells – which will amount to about 600,000 tonnes per year, he said.

plastic-wastes

 

Additionally, technological advances in the plastic recycling industry have led to other less expected uses including the manufacture of denim clothing.

Realizing the environmental impact production of denim clothing has, Levi Strauss & Co. has taken bold steps to reduce its use of water and chemicals in cotton and cotton-clothing production, and about a decade ago, the company launched its much more sustainable Water<Less range of jeans. In 2013, Levi’s used dumped plastic bottles and food trays to make 300,000 jeans and trucker jackets for its spring collection. Of course, not the entire product was made from plastic, but it was guaranteed that at least 20% came from recycled plastic content.

Many other items are also made from recycled plastic, some with more plastic content than others. They include bags, rugs and mats, blankets, bottles, planters, dog collars, shoes, decking, fencing, and outdoor furniture.

The Future of Plastic

While many people talk about plastic as a material that should be eradicated, it does have remarkable uses as Alan Jope implies. But there is a dire need to change our thinking. The irony is that when recycled plastic was invented it was used to try and solve environmental problems like reducing the hunting of elephants for ivory and to provide protective sheaths for electrical wiring.

There is undoubtedly too much virgin plastic being produced worldwide and during the process, there are too many other natural resources being depleted. Added to this, too many consumers have no knowledge or concern about the use and disposal of plastic products. They simply don’t care!

We, as a global nation, need to focus more on the reuse, recycling, and remanufacture of plastic, which is exactly what plastic recycling companies can do so successfully.

Ultimately, we need to eradicate plastic waste by making it useful, and there is no doubt that the mechanical engineering sector is well positioned to find solutions.

All You Need to Know About the Original Equipment Manufacturer

Although they are among the most important parties in computer manufacturing, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is often overlooked. The majority of people only see the final product and don’t understand the work that goes into producing computers, laptops, printers, etc. either.

In this article, we will shed some light on this process through the role of the OEM. First, we will identify OEM is and determine how they work. Then we will compare OEM to other parties such as aftermarket and ODM to provide further practical context.

Let’s get started!

What Does OEM Mean?

OEM stands for the original equipment manufacturer. So, the term is used to refer to companies that produce parts to be used by other companies to create larger-scale finished products.

For example, a company tasked with building an electrical train track may outsource the production of hardware for the track to an electrical OEM. That way, they can focus on the electrical side and software products, and use a specialist OEM to take care of the hardware.

Apart from electrical engineering, OEMs are common in industries such as computer manufacturing and the auto industry. This is typical because end products in these industries are made up of several different parts, as shown by the diagram below of an electric train.

what is OEM

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s take a closer look at how OEMs work.

How Do OEMs Work?

OEMs can operate in different ways. First of all, they can be hired by other companies on a freelance basis. For example, an engineering company working on a one-off job may require unique parts to complete the project. In that case, it makes sense to outsource the production of those parts to an OEM who will work on the project on a temporary basis.

On the other hand, an OEM may produce and sell some parts regularly. For example, a spark plug for a car is something that an auto-parts manufacturer would regularly produce. Companies can simply buy the parts like any other product. In some cases, an automatic order and invoice may be set up between the OEM and the purchasing company.

Finally, some companies hire OEM partners to produce parts for their end products as contract manufacturers. The OEM is paid to produce the parts and gets a share of the revenue on products they contribute to. Overall, it becomes more of a collaborative process. The OEM works with the partner company to manufacture a specific part for a larger scale project as opposed to selling a product that they already manufacture.

It is important to note that OEMs are not tied down to a single company. Depending on the size of the OEM they may partner with multiple companies on different types of projects.

Original Equipment Manufacturer vs. Aftermarket

It is important to understand the difference between OEM and other similar parties that provide parts for end products. First, let’s take a look at aftermarket manufacturers and establish how they differ from OEMs.

Aftermarket products are parts that can be used to replace parts manufactured by an OEM. The first difference to note is that aftermarket products are generic, meaning they can be used for a wide variety of similar products.

OEM versus aftermarket part

For example, a wire pulling compound designed to be compatible with all types of cables and conduits could be considered an aftermarket product. On the other hand, an OEM manufactures quality products for use as part of a specific end product, not for general use.

As they are generic, aftermarket products are also much cheaper than OEM products. Aftermarket products are also readily available, unlike OEM products. These differences are summed up perfectly in the graphic below in the context of the automotive industry.

Companies working on an end product with a fast-approaching deadline may resort to aftermarket products for a quick fix if an OEM product becomes obsolete. However, despite the convenience they provide, you may have to sacrifice quality by choosing to use aftermarket products.

As we mentioned earlier, aftermarket products are not designed for a specific product. So, in the long run, it may be best to solve the issue with the help of the OEM. Most OEM parts should have a warranty, so you can also save on production costs by going back to your OEM partner.

OEM vs ODM

ODM stands for original design manufacturer. It refers to a company that produced the initial design for a product.

As we know, an OEM manufactures products and sells them to other companies to be used in a larger-scale product. On the other hand, an ODM creates a product design and hires another company to manufacture the product using their product specifications.

OEM vs ODM

In summary, an ODM designs products and an OEM produces them. The graphic below sums up the difference nicely.

When purchasing parts in industries such as electrical engineering, it is critical to understand this distinction. If you are looking for a very specific type of part with specifications, you may need to consult an ODM to come up with a design for an original product.

It’s also worth noting that some companies may be an ODM and OEM rolled into one. If you can find a partner like this, it is probably the best scenario. You can cut out the middleman and collaborate on design and manufacturing with the same company.

In Closing

In summary, OEM stands for an original equipment manufacturer. OEMs can be very helpful. Outsourcing to OEMs is quite common, particularly in industries such as engineering and car manufacturing, where many individual parts make up the end product.

Depending on your business and the project you are working on you can hire an OEM on a freelance basis, or partner with them. In the long term, partnering is probably the best option, as you can regularly call on the OEMs’ expertise.

You should also keep in mind the differences between an OEM and both ODMs and aftermarket products. ODM stands for original design manufacturer while aftermarket products are cheaper, generic parts that can be used to replace OEM parts at short notice.

Keep these tips in mind when outsourcing. Good luck!

Recycling of Lead-Acid Batteries: Perspectives

Lead-acid batteries are used on a mass-scale in all parts of the world for energy storage. Lead-acid batteries contain sulphuric acid and large amounts of lead. The acid is extremely corrosive and is also a good carrier for soluble lead and lead particulate. Lead is a highly toxic metal that produces a range of adverse health impacts particularly among young children.

lead-acid-battery-recycling

Exposure to excessive levels of lead can cause damage to brain and kidney, impair hearing; and lead to numerous other associated problems. On average, each automobile manufactured contains approximately 12 kilograms of lead. Around 96% lead is used in the common lead-acid battery, while the remaining 4% in other applications including wheel balance weights, protective coatings and vibration dampers.

Recycling Perspectives

Recycling of lead-acid batteries is a profitable business, albeit dangerous, in developing countries. Many developing countries buy used lead-acid batteries (also known as ULABs) from industrialized countries (and Middle East) in bulk in order to extract lead. ULAB recycling occurs in almost every city in the developing world where ULAB recycling and smelting operations are often located in densely populated urban areas with hardly any pollution control and safety measures for workers.

Usually ULAB recycling operations release lead-contaminated waste into the environment and natural ecosystems.  Infact, Blacksmith Institute estimates that over 12 million people are affected by lead contamination from processing of used lead acid batteries in the developing world, with South America, South Asia and Africa being the most affected regions.

Associated Problems

The problems associated with recycling of ULABs are well-documented and recognized by the industry and the Basel Convention Secretariat. As much of the informal ULAB recycling is small-scale and difficult to regulate or control, progress is possible only through cleanup, outreach, policy, and education.

For example, Blacksmith’s Lead Poisoning and Car Batteries Project is currently active in eight countries, including Senegal, the Dominican Republic, India, and the Philippines. The Project aims to end widespread lead poisoning from the improper recycling of ULABs, and consists of several different strategies and programs, with the most important priority being the health of children in the surrounding communities.

Lead poisoning, from improper recycling of used batteries, impacts tens of millions of people worldwide.

Lead poisoning, from improper recycling of used batteries, impacts tens of millions of people worldwide.

There is no effective means of tracking shipments of used lead-acid batteries from foreign exporters to recycling plants in developing world which makes it difficult to trace ULABs going to unauthorized or inadequate facilities.

The Way Forward

An effective method to reduce the hazards posed by trans-boundary movements of ULABs is to encourage companies that generate used lead batteries to voluntarily stop exporting lead batteries to developing countries. These types of voluntary restrictions on transboundary shipments can help pressure companies involved in recycling lead batteries in developing to improve their environmental performance. It may also help encourage policy makers to close the gaps in both regulations and enforcement capacity.

Another interesting way is to encourage regeneration of lead-acid batteries which can prolong its life significantly. The advantage of battery regeneration over regular recycling is the reduced carbon footprint incurred by mitigating the collecting, packing, shipping and smelting of millions of tonnes of batteries and their cases. Most importantly, it takes about 25kWh of energy to remake a 15Kg, 12V 70Ah battery and just 2.1KWh to regenerate it electronically.

Sputtering Target: An Overview

Thin films are required for several processes—from manufacturing touch panels and glass to solar cells and displays. These layers are manufactured using a process called sputter deposition. The sputtering target is a vital piece in the procedure.

This article will cover all you need to know about sputtering targets.

Let’s dive right in.

What is a Sputtering Target?

A sputtering target is a raw material that helps produce thin films used in sputtering deposition/coating. It helps to coat different materials called the substrate. Substrates can be glass, displays, solar cells, etc.

Sputter targets can be circular, like the one shown below. Similarly, they can come in powdered form.

what is sputtering target

Source

Sputter coating occurs in a sputtering system. The image below shows what this system looks like. The sputtering system is a vacuum chamber with a controlled pressure of 0.5 to two pascals. 

applications of sputtering target

Source

The coating process begins with the introduction of argon gas until the system attains a low-pressure argon-filled environment.

Sputtering targets are usually negatively charged. Since argon has a positive charge, it is attracted to the target. When it collides with the sputtering target, it ejects atoms from the target surface. There is also a magnetic material/array in the system that reinforces the ejection of these atoms.

Then, the ejected atoms travel opposite the target to coat the substrate layer-by-layer until they form a uniform thin film.

One of the most popular target materials used as sputtering targets, especially for semiconductors, is aluminum. This is thanks to its versatility and superior heat resistance. However, you still need a certified aluminum powder supplier to get the best possible coating quality.

4 Uses of the Sputtering Target

The sputtering target is a vital piece for coating most of the materials you use today. In this section, we will discuss the four popular uses of the sputtering target.

1. Semiconductors

The sputtering target is necessary to create several thin layers in semiconductors. These include microchips, flat panel displays, etc. The target is an integral part of the wiring and barrier layer of the semiconductor.

Besides, in wafer manufacturing, these targets are necessary to produce conductive layers and metal grids. The importance of the sputtering target further extends to chip packaging, where it is used to manufacture the wiring layer and metallic layer just below the bump.

The targets used for semiconductors are the most demanding when it comes to purity and technology. They will not meet the required electric performance if the impurity level is higher than required. This can lead to circuit damage. Metals such as Aluminum, Tantalum, Titanium, Copper, etc., are recommended for the process. A mil-spec supplier can help ensure this purity.

2. Solar Cells

The sputtering target is an integral part of thin film solar cells, which is the second and one of the most efficient generations of solar cells. With the target coating, this generation promises 10 to 20 years of lifetime with the best payback time.

There are many targets used for solar cell coating. The first is cadmium telluride (CdTe) sputtering target. This target works with the least carbon footprint and water usage during the sputter deposition process. With CdTe, you also don’t have to worry about energy deficit in the short term. However, cadmium is a component of the target, which can be toxic.

Another target used is the CIGS target. CIGS is the combination of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium. Films prepared using CIGS show superior light absorption and power-generating potential.

You can also use the gallium arsenide target, which maintains its efficiency even at overly high temperatures. It is most suitable for solar cells used in areas with high radiation and ultraviolet rays, such as aerospace.

3. Low Radiation-Coated Glass

Energy-saving glass or low radiation-coated glass is replacing the traditional glass today. This is partly because of its aesthetics and its energy-saving and light control capabilities. The magnetron sputtering technique is used to manufacture this low radiation coated glass.

Silver sputtering targets are very popularly used for energy-saving glasses. This is due to their elevated conductivity, ductility, and malleability. Another material is chromium sputtering target. This target can make a film as tiny as 2 to 10 micrometers. Chromium is hard, doesn’t wear off easily, and can resist impact. These are the features you want in your glass.

Titanium sputtering target is perhaps the most versatile choice. Whether you’re using it for semiconductors or low radiation-coated glass, it slots in seamlessly.

Other important target materials to note are the zinc tin target, silicon aluminum target, and titanium dioxide target.

4. Optical Glass

Sputtering targets are also necessary components for making coatings of sunglasses, optic filters, eyeglasses, and other optics glasses. You can superimpose these thin films on these optical components. These thin films further optimize how light is transmitted or reflected in the optical glass. In essence, sputtering targets are responsible for the anti-static safety property of lenses and other visors.

Coating with the target material can help you elevate the luster and lifetime of the optical glass. It also minimizes abrasion and increases the glass’s thermal conductivity.

The targets used in this case are similar to the ones used in the energy-saving glass coating. Their difference lies in their manufacturing procedure.

There are two popular sputtering processes for optical glass coating. The first is ion beam sputtering. This involves bombarding the target with high-energy ion beams. This will help eject the target atoms and form a hard, dense, and smooth film on the optical surface.

The other sputtering process is advanced plasma sputtering. This process uses a hot cathode to eject the atoms instead of high-energy beams. This process gives you smooth and hard coating on the optical surface, reinforcing its stability. It is a very versatile process. Thus, it is the preferable choice for high-volume and more demanding coating processes.

In Conclusion

From automobiles to electronics and other applications that require thin films, the sputter target is integral. It helps you add more functionality and durability to the substrate. There are various types of target materials, each suitable for various purposes. Some of them include zinc, titanium, CIGS, CdTe, and others.

These targets have various applications. You can use them to make components of semiconductors and solar cell coatings. They also come in handy when you want to coat energy-saving and optical glasses.

Industrial Ovens: Types and Uses

Industrial ovens are absolutely essential pieces of equipment in many industries, from the pharmaceutical industry to the world of manufacturing.

Able to operate at immensely high temperatures, well in excess of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, these ovens can make use of various power sources, including electricity, gas, and oil, in order to operate, being used for heat-treating parts, conditioning metals, and much more.

This guide will take a look at some of the many different types of industrial ovens and some of their common uses too.

industrial-oven

The Types of Industrial Ovens

There are many different types of industrial ovens, and new types are being produced by leading industrial oven manufacturers all the time. It’s therefore not possible to list every single variety out there, but the list below will cover some of the most common types, introducing their basic design and functionality.

1. Electric

An industrial electric oven, as the name implies, will make use of electricity as its primary power source. This allows it to reach high temperatures very quickly, as well as giving the user a lot of precise control over the interior temperatures, times, and settings. These types of ovens are useful when working with certain types of metal products and combustible items that aren’t suitable for gas ovens.

2. Gas

Gas ovens make use of gas to operate and are more affordable to use than electric ovens due to their lower energy costs. They can heat up very quickly and keep their temperatures high for longer than other oven types, making them useful for extended sessions of heating and treating. They generally make use of either natural gas or propane and are well-suited for jobs like automotive part manufacturing and powder coating onto the steel.

3. Drying

A drying oven, as the name implies, is designed to dry out the items that are placed inside it, removing any excess moisture. This can be very useful for sterilizing medical items, heat-treating metals, and so on.

4. Curing

A curing oven is designed to help powders and paints bond with metal surfaces. They’re great for processes like powder coating, as well as being useful for hardening substances like plastic and rubber, and they can have a range of different power sources, including electricity and gas.

5. Conveyor

A conveyor industrial oven is one that has a conveyor belt system on the inside which gradually moves the items along into different oven zones. There are usually multiple heating zones operating at different temperatures in a conveyor oven, as well as cooling zones too, and these ovens are hugely versatile, working with curing, drying, forming, and other processes.

6. Batch

A batch industrial oven is a very large oven that can take on big jobs, heating many items all at once. These tend to be some of the biggest industrial ovens around and they’re usually powered by electricity.

7. Tunnel

A tunnel oven is a long industrial oven with openings at either end and a belt in the center. Items move along the belt, through the tunnel, from one end to the other, being heated and baked in the center. These ovens tend to operate continuously, able to treat batch after batch of items, making them well-suited for baking and food preparation.

Uses of Industrial Ovens

There are many different ways in which industrial ovens can be used, for example:

  • Food – Just like commercial ovens you find at home or in restaurants, industrial ovens can also be used to bake food products, but on a much larger scale than a typical home oven. They’re essential for businesses that make large batches of food for sale and delivery.
  • Sterilization – Industrial ovens can play a key role in sterilizing medical items and accessories like scalpels, syringes, and so on. Their high temperatures help to kill bacteria and other germs, as well as eradicating other contaminants.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Another medical application of industrial ovens is for making pills in the pharmaceutical industry. These ovens can be used to essentially bake the coatings of pills into place and getting rid of any excess chemicals or contaminants.
  • Heat Treating – This process is when heat is applied to metals to create different effects, like strengthening or tempering the metals or aging them. This process can take days to complete but can result in much stronger and more durable metals for use in industries like aeronautics and automotive.

Final Word

In their many forms, sizes, and styles, it’s clear to see that industrial ovens play a vital role in the world around us.

Asia Pulp & Paper Driving Stronger Sustainability Goals

Ways Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas is Driving Stronger Sustainability Goals in the Pulp & Paper Industry

Robust sustainability goals are imperative to creating a brighter, more resilient, and more responsible organisation. Some business leaders consider such targets an impediment to their financial objectives. Yet designing and implementing an effective organisation-wide sustainable development plan can drive growth, reduce risk and enhance capital while protecting the earth.

How APP Sinar Mas is Driving Stronger Sustainability Goals

Research has even found that businesses actively addressing their environmental impact benefit from an 18% greater return on investment; and these financial gains aren’t just coming from eco-conscious consumers, but investors and stakeholders who recognise the value of sustainable development in a dynamic and changing world.

Many organisations often look to the United Nations and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) when producing their sustainability plan. Launched in 2015, these objectives help address numerous global environmental, social and economic issues. While implementing sustainable business practices is undoubtedly complex, the SDGs provide a practical framework that helps organisations plan and deliver meaningful changes that align with larger and shared sustainability targets.

For corporations and organisations based in Hong Kong and beyond, considering and shaping your business practices in line with the 17 SDGs could help you address crucial organisational issues that affect success. Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas is one such company that has used these SDGs to develop its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2030 – a comprehensive long-term company-wide sustainable development framework that sets ambitious targets for 10 key impact areas throughout its supply chain.

This integration of the SDGs provides the business and its stakeholders with a benchmark to measure and assess Asia Pulp & Paper’s sustainability performance over time. For organisations working in the pulp and paper industry, displaying a sincere commitment to sustainable forest management practices, community engagement and energy-efficient production methods ensure you work towards a better society that satisfies the demands of all stakeholders – including your own business goals.

Here, we explore some steps businesses must take to meet their sustainability targets now and in the future.

Create a positive work environment

Simply setting robust sustainability targets isn’t enough to secure employee buy-in. Achieving transformative organisation-wide cultural change requires leadership to actively engage employees and show how their individual efforts make a cumulative difference. Many organisations inadvertently discover success by making sustainability the job of everyone in the business hierarchy, with a collaborative and unified mindset helping to produce incredible results.

It’s important to keep in mind that this process doesn’t happen overnight, regardless of the size, scale, or resource availability of your organisation. Instead, management must inspire employees to take part in this journey by defining their long-term goals and highlighting how positive changes can deliver a powerful impact. In many cases, employees often understand the need for a more sustainable approach through an economic lens. Convincing workers to engage becomes natural if you can show how delivering on SDGs improves the company’s bottom line.

Moreover, creating lasting sustainable change within a business is impossible without a happy workforce. Ekamas Fortuna, a business unit of Asia Pulp & Paper, recently received the Gold Awards: Zero Conflict 2022, an accolade that recognises the organisation’s employee satisfaction through workplace agreements and practices that enhance welfare and comfort. While setting impressive sustainability targets is key to creating a better world, persuading your workforce to participate is just as important – and in fact, forms a key part of a sustainable outlook for your business as a whole.

Develop a safe workplace

If businesses are serious about their sustainability targets, employee safety must remain a primary concern.

Every business in the pulp and paper industry, no matter how big or small, must contend with dangerous hazards throughout the supply chain. On the factory floor, the accumulation of combustible dust is a significant problem, as it can lead to major fires and explosions if left unaddressed. Plus, heavy machinery and chemicals can also cause injury to employees when mishandled

In fact, employee safety and welfare are addressed across several of the 17 SDGs – including 3.9, 8.8 and 16.6 – which consider issues ranging from hazardous chemical exposures to labour rights and transparent institutions. Asia Pulp and Paper has taken significant strides in these areas, with 28 of its business units and supply partners recognised by Indonesia’s Minister of Manpower at the recent OHS Management Awards.

These awards are given to organisations that successfully implemented the Occupational Health Safety Management System (SMK3) – a certification designed to control workplace risks and deliver a safe, efficient and productive environment. The Asia Pulp & Paper business unit, PT IKPP Tangerang, was especially highly regarded, receiving extra recognition for its effective COVID-19 policies and for having zero work accidents during the assessed period.

Master social responsibility

Delivering stronger sustainability targets isn’t just about what you can do internally. Organisations with the power to influence communities near and far should also plan and execute targets through the corporate social responsibility (CSR) model. This self-regulatory approach is ideal for proving your sustainable development credentials with the public, business stakeholders and yourself.

So, how do you align a CSR strategy with your business goals?

First, your corporate hierarchy must define what corporate social responsibility means to the organisation. Then it can identify strategies that realise this definition by partnering with like-minded charities, social enterprises and other philanthropic endeavours. Alongside tangible goals that detail the meaning of success, a well-defined CSR strategy can offer numerous business advantages.

For example, businesses with an effective CSR plan often experience increased customer loyalty, enhanced revenue and employee commitment. As more consumers in Hong Kong and around the globe want to support businesses that aren’t solely driven by profit, creating and delivering a meaningful CSR strategy can help your organisation stand out from its competition in the pulp and paper industry.

Awards, certifications, and other third-party assessments are easy ways for companies to ensure that their sustainability goals are feasible, traceable, and transparent.

At the Top CSR Awards 2022, three Asia Pulp and Paper business units received awards for their commitment to corporate social responsibility. Based on implementing ISO 2600 – an international standard for social responsibility – PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mills and PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper received the “Excellent” four-star award. Meanwhile, PT Paper Factory Tjiwi Kimia received the “Very Excellent” five-star designation.

Achieving such accomplishments not only enables you to assess your own progress via impartial third-party criteria, but holds you accountable to a wider group of stakeholders as well.

sustainability in pulp and paper industry

Deliver sustainability targets

Adopting sustainability targets is only the beginning when building a better and more responsible business. You also have to show stakeholders how your efforts have delivered tangible change. With a transparent and mindful approach, you can set measurable targets that give internal and external stakeholders a way to assess your performance.

Four of Asia Pulp and Paper’s business units were recognised at the recent 2022 Indonesia Asia Green Awards for their dedication to sustainability. In the Water Resources Savings category, PT OKI Pulp & Paper Mills received an award for its work in South Sumatra. Here, the company used reverse osmosis to process peat water into ready-to-drink water for 21 remote villages, reducing local spending on drinking water by up to 50%.

In the Pollution Prevention Pioneering category, PT Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk transformed coal waste into paving blocks for local infrastructure, including roads, mosques and school facilities. Elsewhere, PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper repurposed waste from paper rope machines to provide the women of Tegal Maja village with extra materials to increase their craft-making income.

These initiatives reflect that business growth, sustainability, and community development can be interconnected, rather than disparate and disconnected. In fact, it’s when organisations are able to address all three considerations simultaneously that they are able to see the biggest payoffs in terms of long-term sustainable change.

With a dedicated approach to sustainable development, empowering local communities while increasing business outcomes is more than possible. Asia Pulp & Paper is just one such organisation in the pulp and paper industry taking a forward-thinking approach to its sustainability targets, making them a possible blueprint for other companies in Hong Kong and beyond looking to strengthen their sustainability goals.

How Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Can Help in Renewable Energy Projects Design?

Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has witnessed tremendous global growth, and mechanical engineers have made a significant contribution in ensuring the transition to pure energy and other sustainable practices around the globe.

Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has witnessed tremendous global growth, and mechanical engineers have made a significant contribution in ensuring the transition to pure energy and other sustainable practices around the globe.

The same can be said about the role of electrical engineers in this industry. Nowadays, humans can observe the movement of small businesses and startups toward carbon-free solutions, for instance, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric power in action in all their projects.

Using full benefits of renewable energy sources demands advanced technology in manufacturing, preserving, and supplying electricity. That is what makes the technical expertise of electrical engineers an essential resource at small businesses or startups striving to integrate eco-friendly practices.

In case your business/startup is connected with designing renewable energy projects, the first thing you should do is to check some renewable energy market analysis so that you can develop your strategy. Then, it would be brilliant to find 3D modeling services to make your renewable energy project come true and hire relevant types of engineers who will work on your project.

Now, let’s take a glimpse at several ways how mechanical and electrical engineers can help you in that. We will start with mechanical engineers.

electrical-engineering

Mechanical Engineers in Renewable Energy Projects

Small business and startup owners should consider this type of engineer as a must for designing renewable energy solutions! Why?

A wide range of the essential skills that mechanical engineers experience in their graduate programs possess many useful practices for renewable energy engineering. Profound knowledge in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics, for instance, is a clue to designing the wind power eco solution. The same expertise is also necessary when improving cooling systems, developing hydropower infrastructure, and creating new energy preservation technology, for example, solar fuel or thermochemical batteries for long-term energy storage.

Small business and startup owners should hire mechanical engineers because they practically can be involved in every step of renewable energy generation/distribution. From designing approaches that minimize the cost of silicon production for solar panels to developing optimized ways to build wind farms, this kind of engineer is significant to improving the renewable energy infrastructure. Below, you can see several essential duties of mechanical engineers in designing renewable energy solutions:

  • Rationalizing a certain renewable energy technology for it to get more financially beneficial to develop relevant infrastructure;
  • Explore various materials and their interrelation for further implementation in renewable energy leading to innovative systems/technologies design for producing and supplying eco power;
  • Provide small business and startup owners with consultations regarding renewable energy projects, including delivering the best ways to achieve sustainability goals: determining technology needs and methods to build and invest in renewable energy infrastructure;
  • Multiple integrations of all types of renewable energy technologies.

How Electrical Engineers Solve Renewable Energy Challenges?

When it comes to the contribution of electrical engineers to sustainability-based energy projects, it is the following.

The wind turbines and solar panels that produce pure energy are often located in areas far from municipalities. To experience all bonuses of environmentally friendly electricity, mankind requires the infrastructure to distribute such energy into homes.

Designing a renewable energy project and faced the above-mentioned challenge? Here, electrical engineers are your option!

As a rule, electrical engineers engaged in renewable energy transmission address the following issues:

  • Modernizing and expanding high-voltage distribution lines, selecting appropriate areas for construction to reduce environmental influence;
  • Identifying the finest strategies to transform renewable energy into electricity safely and effectively;
  • Precisely predicting the requirement for eco power and enabling facilities to possess the storage capacity to satisfy those requirements;
  • Securely managing the power flows from production facilities via the grid;
  • Designing innovative control platforms to check how the grid behaves and to react to troubles as they happen.

In case your startup is connected with microgrids, electrical engineers can come in handy. For those who are not on the topic, let’s clarify the thing.

solar-microgrid

Various platforms that involve microgrids make it possible to get more effective energy distribution than ordinary grids, resulting in eco power systems that are less wasteful as well as more financially beneficial.

Besides, some microgrids suggest an eco-friendly alternative by using a renewable energy source, for instance, wind power, biomass, or solar power. With permanent technological development, such microgrids can become central to implementing energy even greener!

It requires creative problem-solving as well as innovative technical knowledge to support in revolutionizing eco-energy production, distribution, and consumption. Electrical engineers understand the principles which are on the background of the latest achievements in the energy transformation, power platforms, and power grids. So, they can potentially design a win-win solution for your business in the renewable energy industry.

Methods For Heavy Metal Analysis

A heavy metal analysis can be a useful tool for evaluating soil contamination. It determines the amount of elements in a sample, which indicates the dispersion and level of contamination. Fortunately, there are several methods available for environmental analysis. In this article, we will discuss some of them.

Methods to analyze heavy metals

Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS)

ICP-MS is a method for quantitative analysis of heavy elements. It uses a laser ablation system to analyze solid samples, requiring minimal sample preparation. The method has a single side-effect, minor depletion of the sample material. However, this side-effect is acceptable for most applications.

ICP-MS is a highly sensitive method for heavy metal analysis, and it is widely used for determining concentrations of elements. The method works by introducing a fine aerosol of the sample to a plasma containing 6000-10,000 K. The plasma causes the atoms of the analyte to be ionized at the same time. The ions are then sorted and quantified.

The ICP-MS is capable of detecting the smallest particles, and it is also able to detect elements with very low ppt (parts-per-trillion) levels. Although the method does not have the accuracy of ICP-OES, it is able to detect elements with a much lower ppt (parts-per trillion).

ICP-MS is a fast and reliable technique for elemental analysis. It is particularly useful for measuring the isotopic ratios of elements with multiple isotopes. Click here to learn more about isotopes. Its high speed and low detection limits make it a highly versatile analytical tool. Because of these characteristics, ICP-MS is considered a mature technique that requires strict quality control.

ICP-MS is used in both primary and secondary tissue analysis. It can also be used to analyze inorganic nanoparticles. The technique has shown promising results for simultaneous determination of the concentration and size of inorganic nanoparticles in environmental and food samples.

Single-particle ICP-MS is also capable of detecting single-element elements in a single sample. It has a high degree of sensitivity, and it can also distinguish between particulate and ionic forms of analyte.

ICP-MS has numerous applications, and is one of the fastest growing trace element techniques. It was first commercialized in 1983, and today, over 16,000 systems are installed worldwide. This technology is used for industrial, pharmaceutical, environmental, and nuclear applications.

ICP-MS is the fastest elemental analysis technique available today. It can detect almost every element in the periodic table in parts per billion concentrations. This technology works by passing small amounts of material into plasma, which operates at approximately 8000 degrees Celsius. The plasma is then cooled and a mass spectrometer separates the sample ions according to their mass/charge ratio.

Atomic absorption spectroscopy

Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) is another analytical technique used in this field. The technique is suitable for identifying and determining the concentrations of several metals. Table 3 provides examples of samples that are analyzed using AAS. Lead and cadmium are among the metals that have been determined in this way.

Atomic absorption spectroscopy is a technique that uses light to determine the concentration of specific metal atoms in a liquid or solid. The light is excited by a specific wavelength and the atoms in the sample absorb energy. The amount of energy absorbed is proportional to the number of atoms in the sample. The sample is then compared to a standard solution to determine the concentration of the element.

methods for heavy metal analysis

The advantages of AAS over classical gravimetric methods include increased sensitivity and selectivity. This technique has many applications in mining, oceanographic studies, drinking water, and soil analysis. There are also various types of spectroscopy used in the pharmaceutical industry.  An AAS is used to determine the concentration of contaminants in soils and other materials.

Atomic absorption spectroscopy is also used in clinical samples. This technique can determine the concentrations of various materials in human muscle, liver, hair, and brain tissue. It can also help determine the levels of mercury in fish. Mercury is an extremely toxic element that can build up in the environment and pose a risk to the food chain.

Methods to analyze heavy metals

Determining the level of metals in the environment is essential in creating an action plan to help mitigate their presence. Methods of heavy metal analysis are a major part of environmental pollution control. They can help ensure that toxic metals are not present in drinking water and are a reliable indicator for pollution prevention. Methods to analyze metals are widely used for monitoring the presence of heavy metals in a wide range of samples, from soil to solid waste.

The first step is to identify the metals that are present in a particular sample. This will determine their concentration. Using inter-element analysis, these metals are compared with the levels in waste water. If the correlations are high, the source of the heavy metals is likely to be anthropogenic.

3 Important PCB Types Used in Renewable Energy Industry

Printed circuit boards play an essential role in many industries. And with the speedy growth of the energy field and the innovation of complex machines, building of high quality PCBs is needed.

In a growing sector such as the renewable energy industry, lead-free and quality PCBs are needed. Below are the three vital circuit board types that are used in the renewable energy industry.

circuit board types used in renewable energy industry

Printed Circuit Board used in Renewable Energy Industry

1. Heavy Copper PCB

A heavy copper printed circuit board has a very heavy copper circuit. It is a type of circuit board subjected to specialized etching and plating techniques.

Heavy copper PCB has great features that make it ideal for high-end applications in the renewable energy industry. For instance, it is heavier and thicker to handle higher voltage and power.

Benefits of heavy copper PCB

a. Good thermal distribution

Heavy copper PCBs have copper-plated vias that provide good thermal distribution. This means they are outstanding when used in renewable energy applications that need high frequency and speed. Moreover, they can be used in harsh environments.

b. Excellent conductor

Another benefit of using heavy copper PCB in the renewable energy industry is that it is an excellent conductor. This means it can be used in the production of complex electronic devices.

c. Multi-use

Heavy copper printed circuit boards can be used in devices with fluctuating power. In addition, heavy copper PCB can endure any weight without sacrificing the quality or performance of the board.

d. Enhances load sharing

With heavy copper PCB, you do not need to generate multiple duplicate and parallel layers. This is because the board can be combined with copper vias. Hence, it lowers the load-sharing difficulties linked with many parallel levels.

Applications of heavy copper PCBs 

Heavy copper PCBs can be used in various renewable energy industries such as solar energy, military, aerospace, geothermal, and many others.

2. Multilayer PCBs

A multilayer PCB is a circuit board with 3 or more conductive copper foil layers. It uses more single-sided or double-sided circuit boards to enhance circuit wiring. The number of layers of a multilayer PCB can be four, six, eight, ten, and up to a hundred layers.

Due to the numerous benefits of multilayer PCBs, renewable energy industries are among the beneficiaries of the boards. Multilayer PCBs have more conductive layers to achieve better electrical performance.

Benefits of multilayer PCBs

a. Smaller size

One advantage of using multilayer PCBs in the renewable energy sector is that they are small in size. This means they encourage manufacturers to build smaller gadgets that do not use a lot of energy.

b. Lightweight

Compared to other printed circuit boards, multilayer PCBs are not heavy. This means they can be used in smaller devices that are mostly found in the renewable energy sector.

c. High durability

Multilayer PCBs are more reliable than single-layer and double-layer PCBs. Since there are no external wires and connectors, the boards are clean and tidy. In addition, they are made to withstand temperature stress, and pressure.

d. Fast performance

Since multilayer PCBs do not use wires and jumpers, the distance between layers is very minimal. This means the performance of the boards is commendable.

Applications of multilayer PCBs

For many industries such as renewable energy industries, multilayer PCBs have become the best option for a wide range of applications. Some of the applications of multilayer PCBs include consumer electronics, telecommunications, computer electronics, and many others.

3. Rigid-flex PCBs

Rigid-flex PCBs are circuit boards designed to act as replacements for rigid circuit boards. And as the name suggests, rigid-flex PCBs are hybrids of flex and rigid circuits. This means they display the benefit of rigid PCBs and flex PCBs.

Several rigid-flex PCBs consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates normally attached to rigid boards externally or internally. They are designed to fit in applications that may require both flex and rigid circuit boards.

Advantages of rigid-flex PCBs

The combination of rigid PCBs and flexible PCBs makes it a beneficial product for many applications. Here are the main advantages of rigid-flex PCBs.

a. Flexible design alternatives

A rigid-flex PCB is a board that accepts any component and connector that can be assembled on the board. Hence, manufacturers can be flexible when designing or coming up with new ideas.

b. Reduction in size and weight of the package

Reduction in the weight and size of products is a policy that is adopted by renewable energy industries. Hence, rigid-flex PCBs are preferred in the industry because the combination of flex and rigid boards helps you to simplify your design.

c. Reduction in assembly cost

Since there are fewer connections and parts, the assembly cost is minimized. In addition, the development of the board’s prototype is significantly reduced thus minimizing the product cost of production.

Applications of rigid-flex PCBs

The main applications of rigid-flex PCBs are medical equipment, the telecommunication industry, the automotive industry, and consumer appliances among others.

what is IMS PCB

Tips to choose a supplier for your project

Below are vital tips to look into when choosing a PCB supplier for your application.

1. The supplier should have a proper set of guidelines

To avoid serious mistakes, a good supplier should have a proper set of guidelines. With the guidelines, the company will be able to maintain repeatability during the whole production process.

Moreover, the PCB supplier must be ready to show the guidelines to the client so that the client can be satisfied.

2. Check the type and quality of the machines

Due to the growth of technology, the printed circuit board industry has added new designs and ideas. Hence, the supplier should use the latest equipment and software to ensure the boards are up to the latest standards, such as lamination, CNCmilling, photo process and so on.

3. Use of green materials

When choosing a supplier to produce PCB type to be used in the renewable energy industry, you need to ensure the elements are lead-free. Hence, the company should be committed to using green materials when manufacturing PCBs.

4. Know the order size and time limit they offer

Before mass production, you require prototypes. Hence, it is essential to check whether your PCB supplier can manage the prototypes and produce small quantities before hiring them.

You need to understand that time is a crucial element in any part of a business. Hence, the supplier should be able to handle all the due dates effectively.

Bottom Line

With the rapid growth of the energy industry and the innovation of more complex equipment, PCB suppliers are building high-quality PCBs to support complex machines. The circuit boards must be reliable, small in size, and made of lead-free components.

Hence, it is important when choosing a supplier to make sure they are committed to using green material when making PCBs.