"My faculty colleagues, staff, students and I constantly work with manufacturing companies on sustainability projects, helping them by applying our methodologies," said I.S. Jawahir, Ph.D., the James F. Hardymon chair in manufacturing systems, professor of mechanical engineering, and director of the Institute for Sustainable Manufacturing.
is currently working on about 30 to 40 different projects.
About 10 years ago, Jawahir
colleagues introduced three more R's: Recover materials from end-of-life products, Redesign the next-generation products that can use recovered material, and Remanufacture.
"We were the first to introduce these world-wide, and it is starting to catch on," he
"There will be more and more regulations and policies being issued for sustainability, sometimes negative, sometimes positive," Jawahir
"Our job as academics and researchers is to provide manufacturers and other companies with a sense of belonging - to make the most of the regulations and policies, to make more profits, and to grow their businesses."
Economic Models for Sustainable Manufacturing: Study the economic analysis of sustainable products and processes.
"We work with professors in business schools, including marketing, to learn how sustainable products and processes can be marketed profitably," said Jawahir
"While engineers can come up with great ideas, they usually don't know how to commercialize them."
When working on projects with manufacturers, ISM
primarily focuses on three areas: improved products, improved processes, and improved systems.
"In terms of products, by focusing on product design, we help companies develop products that are more sustainable, environmentally-benign and economically advantageous," Jawahir
In terms of plant processes, ISM
has developed advanced methodologies to monitor and control inefficiencies, reduce wastes, toxicities, etc. "In terms of enterprise-level systems, we cover a broader area, beyond plant boundaries, to include the supply chain," he
"The seminars and short courses are aimed at engineers and plant-level workers, including managers and supervisors," said Jawahir
For companies interested in moving forward with sustainability, Jawahir recommends that they first need to know where they are in terms of sustainability before they can get started with anything.
"A lot of companies try to engage in sustainability initiatives without having much scientific background or measurable targets," he
Metrics have been established by ISM for sustainability evaluation at product, process and system levels for companies.