At The Rodon Group, we are dedicated to maintaining the health and vitality of the environment. We firmly believe that every business holds a societal obligation to implement green manufacturing initiatives aimed towards fostering sustainability and minimizing the impact on the local community and environment.
We don’t buy into such excuses as:
- “We can’t make our employees sort their trash.”
- “Recycling is pointless because everything ends up at the landfill anyway.”
- “Recycling costs too much time and money.”
The issue is clear—manufacturers are consuming too much electricity and producing too much trash—and, at The Rodon Group, so is the solution—make electricity, not trash. As part of our commitment to implementing green initiatives, along with our energy reduction practices, we partner with Sustainable Waste Solutions (SWS) to run a landfill-free enterprise that aims towards reducing total waste and converting it into usable energy.
The Issue of Energy
Compared to a decade ago, energy consumption in plastic injection molding machines has decreased by 20–50%. Despite this improvement, however, energy consumption remains an important issue.
During the injection molding process, total energy consumption is heavily influenced by the type of material and machine employed. The choice of machine type—whether hydraulic, hybrid, or all-electric—has a significant impact on the amount of energy consumed per kilogram of processed polymer. The average specific energy consumption (SEC) values for these machine types are distributed as follows:
- 3 MJ/kg for hydraulic machines
- 5 MJ/kg for hybrid machines
- 8 MJ/kg for all-electric machines
Hydraulic machines offer greater clamp force and better injection rates, but consume the highest amounts of energy. Electric injection molding machines offer high precision levels and cleaner processing, but cannot achieve the same forces that hydraulic machines provide. Hybrid options generally provide the advantages of hydraulic force with the efficiency of electric.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages afforded by each type of machine allows you to make a more informed decision as to which best suits your injection molding application.
Reducing the Environmental Impact of Plastic Injection Molding
Throughout the injection molding process, there are many opportunities for optimizing energy consumption and facilitating sustainability.
The Eco-Indicator 99 (EI’99) methodology is a life-cycle assessment (LCA) weighing method that specifically focuses on the product design process. It provides quantifiable measures of “environmental friendliness.”
From the EI’99 methodology, we can see that a stronger focus on recycling the plastic resin from the injection molding process would be a significant step towards environmental sustainability. Other significant steps would include:
- Using machinery appropriate to the process/end application
- Monitoring production cycle speed
- Limiting waste that cannot be easily recycled (e.g., waste that will end up in the landfill)
Green Initiatives at The Rodon Group
At The Rodon Group, we aim to integrate sustainability initiatives in everything we do, including by:
- Maintaining a landfill-free facility
- Minimizing packaging use and waste
- Reducing energy usage
- Employing non-toxic materials
- Implementing recycling programs
We realize that we have a great responsibility to society and the planet and work hard to live up to that responsibility in all aspects of our business. Thus, we will continue to focus our efforts on making electricity, not trash, and working towards a greener Earth.
For additional information on sustainability and recycling, visit The Plastics Industry Association website.