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Sustainability in Manufacturing: Standards on the way!

Blog Written by Hutch Hutchison, Director, Technology & Engineering Matching, FuzeHub
NIST working on prototype for Sustainability in a variety of industries.
Manufacturers who are inclined to be engaging in sustainability, rejoice! A source to help navigate the dynamic and complex minefield of regulatory, voluntary, and performance aspects of sustainability is making great progress!
NIST, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, part of the Department of Commerce and parent of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, (MEP) (our benefactor at FuzeHub and the NYSTAR Regional Technology Development Centers (RTDC’s) has been hard at work to create a systematic means to adopt and implement sustainability in US Industries, particularly manufacturing.
NIST Has been hard at work since 2011, working on several projects and programs, all aimed at providing a template and metrics to aid manufacturers in their efforts to become sustainable practices. Among the programs:
Sustainability of Unit Manufacturing Processes Project
Sustainable Manufacturing Program
Sustainability Characterization for Product Assembly Processes Project
Testbed for Sustainable Manufacturing Project
Sustainability Metrics for Design and Manufacturing Project
Sustainability Modeling and Optimization Project
Measurement Science for Optimized Machining Processes
Production Network Supplier Characterization Project
These programs, all accessible on the NIST Sustainable Manufacturing Portal (http://www.bldrdoc.gov/sustainable-manufacturing-portal.cfm) by any visitor to the portal, are all aimed at proving a proper framework for manufacturers to adopt sustainability in their enterprises. Take for example the first project above, the Sustainability of Unit Manufacturing Processess Project, which has the scientific horsepower of NIST providing the measurement science and methodology to evaluate sustainability performance metrics (such as energy and material consumption, emissions, waste, and water usage) of unit manufacturing processes (manufacture of a single piece.) by the end of this year. They claim that, currently most manufacturers lack the ability to compute this critical measure.
Visitors to the portal can keep track of results of this program, and gain information crucial to implementation of their own sustainability practices
Of further help to manufacturers, NIST is working to develop a prototype of the framework for evaluating the dynamic array of Sustainability standards, and adopting appropriate ones. NIST scientists and mathematicians have adopted a well-established organizational approach from the 1980’s to help provide structure to the efforts to promote sustainability in manufacturing.
Read more about the framework and its progress here: http://www.bldrdoc.gov/el/msid/sustain-042611.cfm
The excuses for not becoming Sustainable continue to dwindle!!

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