Lean manufacturing is an uncompromised everyday practice at ReAgent. We carry out lean manufacturing processes to save ourselves unnecessary spending, but it’s also a way to work towards minimising waste and reducing environmental impact.
There are three main strategies we adopt to minimise wastage, all of which involve us thinking and acting lean and being responsible to the environment.
Correct Batch Sizes to Avoid Wastage
We keep batch sizes and raw material storage at an optimum level by not making too much of one product and not overstocking our shelves.
Batch sizes are calculated so as not to produce much waste and we aim to eliminate mistakes by having precise work instructions that guide our operators through all processes. If we do make a mistake on a batch, it has to be recorded as chemical waste – we want to avoid this as much as possible.
There is a predicted batch size which is put onto the batch schedule and this takes into account any outstanding customers’ orders and the amount of material that needs to be put in stock. The operators at ReAgent make that batch sizes plus a small amount extra of the product, to allow for any packing errors. For example, if we need 100 L, we might make 102 L instead. This technique ensures we avoid generating vast amounts of waste.
Raw material is measured out accurately and the equipment we use is calibrated to reduce errors. Depending on the nature of a material, we decide whether anything spare is hazardous or not. If waste is classed as hazardous, we have to retain it and get it disposed of.
Safe Packing Techniques
We pack containers accurately by measuring weight. Packing processes are carried out on spill capture objects such as a tray, sump or spill capture flooring. You can read our recent post on avoiding pollution by reducing spills for more details on spill control.
We pack directly from a vessel so there is no long transfer line that could result in a leak. We’re in direct control of container filling, because products go straight from the vessel outlet into a container and there’s no worry about pipes bursting during the process.
We also have filling machines that are suitable for dispensing solvents which have drip trays built into them to catch any spillages. When packing flammables, we earth any metal drums or containers to avoid static discharge.
Chemical Waste in the Lab
Chemical waste in the lab is generated from samples of raw material that we’ve taken. Samples are kept for a period of around 12 months, after which point they are either disposed of, or they get recycled back into our processes.
Any samples that can’t be reused or recycled are gathered together and retained for disposal.
We avoid huge amounts of chemical waste by keeping sample sizes small – it actually takes around 6-12 months to accumulate a significant amount of waste in the lab.
Which lean manufacturing processes do you adopt with the aim of reducing environmental impact? Let us know in the comments section below.
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