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Tips for reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing

Carbon emissions is a huge issue for all industries, not least manufacturing. The government has undertaken to reduce carbon emissions by 34% in the next ten years, which means every business needs to look at how they can reduce their own carbon footprint. Almost half the greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are the result of business and travel, and unnecessary travel is expensive on the pocket as well as the planet. With most manufacturing plants now based in the Far East, the challenge for manufacturing is to reduce carbon emissions without jeopardising product quality and safety. Using technology could well be the answer. Here are some tips for reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing.

Tips for reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing

As we already mentioned, by far the biggest contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions is business and travel combined – and the manufacturing industry is, understandably, perhaps one of the biggest culprits. Manufacturing is a global business and while the planning and design may take place in the UK, production is more likely to happen in China, Korea or elsewhere, resulting in global travel.

There are several tools that manufacturing companies can use to enable remote communication between designers, the production line and other departments. Videoconferencing has been around for a while now and gives you face to face conversation in real time, so you can hold meetings without the need for travel. The latest systems employ high definition images, making communication clearer than ever before. Of course the downside of video conferencing is you can only share video and voice – not data.

Many companies use web conferencing services such as WebEx to share data and, combined with video conferencing, this can be another way to cut down on travel.  However, the disadvantage is that web conferencing in this way is a one sided affair – one person prepares a presentation that other people watch passively. Even with integrated video conferencing, it’s not possible for everyone to be truly involved in the conversation.

A third option is to use SMART Boards, either with or without video conferencing. SMART Boards allow you to share data and content in real time, and everyone involved in the meeting is able to share their own screen, so it’s a fully collaborative meeting. There are a number of ways people can join the meeting – either using their own SMART device, or via a desktop, laptop or tablet computer using server-based software. There are no limits on what information you can share using SMART Boards – if you can open it on your computer screen you can share it on the SMART Board. This means you can use programmes like AutoCad and share designs and 3D models. Everyone can write notes directly on the screen and those notes can be saved, along with all the shared data, and distributed via email.

You can also connect a visualiser to your SMART Board and share live images in real time. The benefits of this to manufacturing are huge – instead of having to  arrange a meeting to diagnose a fault or redesign a product – with all the travel implications that entails – you can call everyone together for a SMART session, put the product under the visualiser, zoom in and see every detail. And of course you can record and save the entire session, along with the visualiser images and any notes made during the meeting, for future reference.

Using SMART Boards, with or without video conferencing, gives the manufacturing industry the opportunity to reduce its carbon footprint without impacting on communication or quality. To find out more call us today on 0118 336 0010 and ask for a free demonstration.

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