A word on modern manufacturing

So after writing my article on the problems of America’s “new” obsession, I realized that there is a lot of good things that come from new products. No I’m not talking about these so called green products but just our everyday stuff. To build more stuff and make it cheap, well you can export the processes to someplace where the labor is cheap, but eventually the manufacturing process will get better. Think about it, we use more wood from a log than we ever have before. 2x4’s, plywood, and MDF can all be made from that one log and in a lot of ways is better than the materials we were making the past. 60% to 80% of most steel and aluminum materials are from recycled metal. It is cheaper and easier to melt the recycled metal than it is to work over the raw ore. Leather is laser cut now so that more of it can be used on more stuff. I doubt any of those things are taken into account into all of this new green talk, but higher efficiency and doing more with less energy is always good.

As an engineer in a factory, and as I’m sure most engineers in most factories, I try to reuse / retool old equipment, improve processes, and recycle what isn’t usable as much as I can. It is a required part of my job to be cost conscious and make the factory work at its highest efficiency. So all of the new stuff that is made is typically made in the most green way that it could be.

One last thought, higher efficiency equipment and recycled goods would not be made without an economy demanding and then purchasing them.. So “new” isn’t all bad, it can be a pretty good proponent of green as well.

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