Although it is a necessary part of modern manufacturing, sheet metal fabrication is not an environmentally friendly industry. In recent years, we have come leaps and bounds in terms of developing greener fabrication technologies that consume less power, use fewer hazardous chemicals, and produce less waste, but there is still a way to go before sheet metal fabrication can be considered a sustainable industry. This week, we take a look at some of the key aspects of the industry, which affect environmental sustainability.
The process of transforming sheet metal into products, is an energy intensive process which requires a wide range of machinery across the supply, fabrication and distribution processes. Many sheet metal machinery manufacturers have addressed this issue by using less energy intensive technologies to design machines that use substantially less power.
Raw material use
Most of the products which roll off the production line in the sheet metal fabrication industry are sourced entirely from non-renewable resources such as minerals and ore. Improved metal recycling systems are the obvious answer to this, but unfortunately, Australia falls far behind the rest of the world when it comes to recycling practices.
Sheet metal machinery uses a range of different toxic chemicals like solvents, cutting agents, surface treatments and of course hydraulic fluid which pose a risk to both the environment and human health when they are released during production or as a result of an accident. There are a number of researchers currently working to minimise the harm caused by metalworking fluids, and creating more sustainable systems.
In sheet metal fabrication, water is relied upon as a coolant, a dust suppressant, and of course a cleaner. Whilst these processes are all important, fresh water is a finite resource and in a drought prone country like Australia, using this for manufacturing processes when there are other options such as grey water and desalination, makes little sense.
Historically, sheet metal manufacturing produced a great deal of non-degradable waste as part of the production process. However, modern technologies and improved waste management processes mean that this problem is diminishing over time.
ACRA are proud to stock a comprehensive range of quality sheet metal machinery. Our range includes revolutionary designs such as the environmentally friendly AD Servo Press Brake, which boasts an average power consumption reduction of 53% when compared with a conventional hydraulic press brake. Browse our product range online, or get in touch with us by calling 03 9794 6675.