Our COO Rich Morin recently participated in a discussion about the circular economy, and how industrial companies can introduce its principles as part of their sustainability journey. Circular transformation of industries: a systemic approach was one of the panel sessions at ADIPEC this year and Celeros FT was invited to represent industry, alongside other speakers from government and the biofuels sector.
“Circular manufacturing is all about redesigning products and processes to eliminate waste,” Rich Morin told the audience. “If you can’t completely eradicate waste throughout the product lifecycle, then ask how you can recycle the product or its constituent parts. In its purest form, circular manufacturing means reuse, reuse, and reuse again.”
Asked about the practicalities of this approach, Rich said: “The circular economic model does require investment from manufacturers and this needs to be supported by government policy and a regulatory framework. Some incentives are required to make sure that companies adopting this approach are supported while they transition to new ways of working. For manufacturers who do make the investment, the returns can be enormous in terms of leaner production, better supply chain partnerships and accelerated innovation.”
Rich acknowledged that it can be difficult initially to recognize the opportunities to apply circular manufacturing in heavy industries but advised that taking small steps is the way to bigger gains. He said: “One change we have made recently has involved working with a seals partner to develop a return and recycle program. Seals are a finite product and will eventually fail but refurbishing them to extend their lifecycle is far more environmentally acceptable than throwing them away the first time they are swapped out as part of routine maintenance.”
Celeros FT is also using circular manufacturing principles to improve product design. Our M&J Valve brand recently redesigned its M303 Gate Valve to reduce weight, reduce welding and improve shielding. As a result, this valve requires less energy to manufacture and transport, contributing to sustainable goals and controlling costs.
Says Rich: “Starting with single components and products, circular manufacturing can grow to encompass the entire business model. It can embrace public or private companies and partners along the entire supply chain – multiplying results and accelerating best practice.”
Asked what advice he would give to other companies seeking to implement circular manufacturing, Rich concluded: “Make it a priority, top of your agenda; make it measurable, and be prepared for some hard work. But keep your eyes on the prize – it will transform your business.”