Will Green Engineering Save the Planet?

How engineers around the world are trying to get us back track and how it helps us. 🌍


When looking at the state of the planet, it is easy to get scared. A lot of damage was done in a relatively short time, when you consider how long the planet has been hanging out. As a result, every industry has begun changing their products to get us where we need to be. The question is, “Is it enough?”. That’s where green engineering steps in. Making products more environmentally friendly is extremely important; manufacturing them in an environmentally friendly way is key.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Green Engineer

Engineering is the art of looking at something thoroughly and methodically then applying creative problem solving to fix the issue. Why not dedicate this approach towards our biggest challenge of all, the environment? Well, exactly…and so we meet the hero of the story, the Green Engineer.

This branch of engineering is dedicated to analyzing how processes are running and find a greener, more sustainable way to execute. This applies throughout the product lifecycle from design, across manufacturing to shipping and support. The Green Engineer’s role is to find a way to achieve results while minimizing pollution, increasing sustainability, and ensuring operations are safe for employees. Additionally, the quality of the product must remain intact without affecting the company’s bottom line.

What are Green Engineers Looking at?

There are few limitations in green engineering. If a process can be improved, it will be subject to evaluation. Examples include:

Reduce waste
This can apply to the amount of energy being used, unnecessary components being ordered, extra shipments, and general abuse of the world’s natural resources.

Analyze material
Engineers review the material being used for the products and determine if there is a safer, more sustainable, or greener option available. A simple example of this is switching plastic straws to paper.

 • Prevent pollution
By reviewing what is creating pollution, Green Engineers can investigate cleaner ways to perform the same task and receive the same result.

Is Green Engineering Worth Investing in?

It’s unfortunate that the question needs to be asked, but does it make sense for companies to invest in a Green Engineer? Saving the planet aside, yes, there are many reasons to seek the services of an environmental specialist. Green Engineers value technology as much as they do value the Earth. The goal is not only to do things cleaner, but also to do them better.

While investigating the global implications, a Green Engineer will also look for overall product and process improvements. Often, this results in better products, efficient and proactive processes, and cost reductions.

Examples of Greener Test

Generic Test Stations

To reduce on waste and maximize reuse, a generic test station is a cost-efficient solution where everyone is a winner. By designing a common core within a platform, that station can be reused over and over between different products and different stages within the product lifecycle. The key to a generic station is to gather all the expensive, common equipment and gather it into one base. Then test engineers can create unique fixtures for each item type which can be swapped in and out to accommodate multiple products.

Generic stations allow companies to make the most of their existing equipment, and avoid having to purchase new, redundant components. This reduces starting new production for parts as well as unnecessary shipments and logistics.

Often these cost a little more than a standalone station, but the investment pays off in the (short) long term. By only investing in fixtures instead of full systems, costs drop significantly and ramp up is minimal. Best practice would be to standardize these stations company wide. By using the same equipment through R&D, manufacturing and repair, traceability is simple, and everyone is speaking the same language.

Regenerative Test Equipment

For applications that require high-power/high-voltage testing like electric vehicle supply equipment (yay, green transportation!) the only logical solution is to leverage regeneration equipment. Simply put, these devices grab the energy that is created for the test and feed it back into the system to use again. This is the exact definition of perfect recycling. Depending on the application, this can drop the energy usage up to 80% which is better for both the planet, and the bottom line.

It must be considered that regeneration equipment is not cheap, which has had companies hesitate in the past. With proper analysis it is proven that the ROI pays back very quickly for anything generating over 10 Kilowatts. It is comparable to whether one chooses to insulate their house. They may save some money in the cost to build their home but pay a lot more in heating bills over time.

To make a long story short, there is never a wrong time to find a more environmentally friendly way of doing things, and there are more benefits than one might think. Let’s hear it for the Green Engineer!

For questions on developing a sustainable test process, please contact Averna.


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