The Role of Sustainable Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry
In recent years, sustainability has become a significant talking point for manufacturers around the world. So, with consumer behavior increasingly shifting towards environmental conscientiousness, the automotive industry has had to adapt. Consequently, sustainable practices are now commonplace.
The industry is finding ways to recycle. There’s also a continuous push for lighter-weight vehicles with greater fuel efficiency. In light of that, we’re going to discuss the role of sustainable manufacturing in the automotive industry today.
Let’s dive in!
What’s Sustainable Manufacturing?
Sustainable manufacturing seeks to minimize waste and reduce environmental impact by adapting product design, manufacturing process, and operational principles.
Quantitive benefits include enhanced brand value and increased market opportunities. Not to mention, reduced waste can lower expenses by either reusing materials and/or achieving a cheaper waste handling cost. Manufacturers that use sustainable products can also worry less about regulatory concerns, as this protects them from many legal liabilities.
How’s Sustainable Manufacturing in the Automotive Industry Achieved?
Sustainable practices are achieved by analyzing the manufacturing process from start to finish. Points of waste and energy loss can thereby be identified and addressed to make these steps more efficient and, consequently, reduce cost and waste.
Ford’s Sustainable Materials
Ford’s been innovating on sustainable processes as early as the 1920s. They fashioned several parts from “Fordite,” a material made from wheat straw, silica, rubber, and other compounds. The aim was to reduce wood consumption. Therefore, Ford produced soy oil to use in their car enamels.
Even now, Ford is re-exploring the use of alternative materials in their manufacturing processes. Many of their materials use waste or by-products of the food industry. The brand currently features nine sustainable materials in its vehicle production.
Reducing the Weight of Vehicles
One major environmental trend in automotive manufacturing revolves around the curb weight of vehicles. Many brands aim to reduce the weight of their automobiles. A curb weight reduced by 10% can result in a 6%-8% reduction in fuel consumption.
Vehicles today are predominantly steel structures with some aluminum. However, the market for lightweight composites is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.4% from 2019 to 2027. So, watch this space; over the next few years, we’ll undoubtedly see a surge in the popularity of lightweight materials.
Electric cars have long been a project inspired by sustainability, with a mission to reduce emissions. While it’s taken a while for these to take off, analysts predict that in 20 years, over half of all new cars will be electric. Companies like Tesla are continuously innovating electric car batteries. They’re enabling them to hold a charge for much higher mileage.
This could potentially push the market value of these vehicles over the next few years, making them an attractive choice for consumers all around the globe.
Sustainability in the Automotive Industry Is the Way of the Future
Manufacturers can no longer turn a blind eye to the waste and emissions produced by their practices. Sustainable manufacturing is now a concern in every industry. As one of the greatest impactors on the environment, automotive manufacturers are at the forefront of establishing long-lasting changes. Therefore, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and contact us today!