2014 Application Topic: Green and Sustainable Manufacturing
Manufacturing is an unlikely first choice for a profession among college students. Nevertheless, in the 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama gave a blueprint for an economy that is built to last on American manufacturing. The manufacturing sector has driven knowledge production and innovation in the U.S. by supporting two-thirds of private sector research and development and by employing scientists, engineers, and technicians to invent new products and introduce innovations in existing industries. After several decades of decline, there are early signs of manufacturing returning to the U.S. because the conditions are ripe. Resurgence of manufacturing will only be realized with sustained cost competitiveness and innovation.
Commmunity college faculty who participated in the Green and Sustainability Manufacturing topic learned about the difference between sustainable versus green, as well as the design and manufacturing practices that can influence sustainability, including analysis of process and system effects and consideration of social impacts of manufacturing.
Click HERE to learn more about the topic.
2014 RET Program Participants and Research Projects
Sustainability Evaluation of Plastics Used in Consumer Electronics
Community College Faculty Researcher: Segal M. Boaz
Home Institutions: Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA & Las Positas College, Livermore, CA
Teaching: Biology and Marine Science
Abstract of Research: There is a need for a materials assessment tool to aid electronics manufacturers when deciding which materials to use in their products. This tool will combine the strengths of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Alternatives Assessment (AA) into one user-friendly format by evaluating the risks and hazards, as well as alternatives, for individual chemicals aggregated over the product’s lifespan. This comprehensive tool would allow a manufacturer to look at the trade-offs of using different types of materials in their products, by detailing hotspots (areas of concern) associated with each material type and evaluating potential negative environmental and human health impacts. Contributing to this need was a literature-based research and analysis of databases to compile the known human or environmental hazards caused by a specific set of plastic materials, their common additives, and their associated chemicals, specific to electronics manufacturing. Click HERE for the project poster.
Real-Time Data Analytics for Smart Manufacturing Systems
Community College Faculty Researcher: Zhen Chen
Home Institution: Solano Community College, Fairfield, CA
Teaching: Computer Science and Computer Information Systems
Abstract of Research: Enterprises are advancing in the realm of big data collection and the drive for sustainability. In order to make informed decisions towards a greener factory, real-time power consumption data needs to be analyzed and decision strategies employed. In order to do this, metrics are needed to be able to identify what data should be collected. This project focuses on incorporating real time data analytics to accurately predict tool life for automatic machine tools. The goal is to develop a software tool to read live output data from controller of the machine tool, screen and process key data components and apply mathematic modeling algorithm to the live data. The Real-Time Data Analytics for Smart Manufacturing Systems consists two parts: backend agent and front user interface. Backend agent reads live data continuously to ensure the completion of the data; while front user interface controls the backend agent, specifies network address or location of live data, accepts user input parameters and applies the mathematic algorithm for data modeling. Click HERE for the project poster.
Appropriate Technology to Increase Manufacturing Productivity in Developing Economies
Community College Faculty Researcher: Rose Margaret Itua
Home Institution: Ohlone College, Fremont, CA
Teaching: Engineering and Electrical Engineering
Abstract of Research: In the last decade, developing economies have experienced significant GDP growth and increased activities in the manufacturing sector. However, when certain productivity indices are observed, most developing economies have relatively low manufacturing productivity. This research, in the first instance, investigates the possible barriers to manufacturing productivity in these regions, highlighting cases where some of these barriers have been overcome. An evaluation of various productivity indices in manufacturing is carried out with particular focus on Total Factor Productivity (TFP), Input-Output Tables (IOT) and Trade in Value Added (TiVA) concepts, as they are useful indicators of technological impacts on manufacturing. TFP and TiVA are also useful tools for technological capacity building in manufacturing. TiVA provides the tools to investigate the Global Value Chains (GVC) which have resulted from the current “Global Fragmented Manufacturing”. A case study approach is used to investigate manufacturing in developing economies and the opportunities that “Global Fragmented Manufacturing” presents for these economies with particular focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. A Comparative Analysis is carried out to compare “High Tech/Foreign Manufacturing” vs “Grass Root Manufacturing” in these regions and to explore the appropriate technologies to increase productivity in a sustainable manner. Click HERE for the project poster.
Sustainability Evaluation of Metals Used in Consumer Electronics
Community College Faculty Researcher: Jill N. Johnsen
Home Institution: City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Abstract of Research: Materials used in consumer electronics have the potential to do harm to both the environment and to humans. The goal of this project is to identify environmental and human health hazards associated with metals that are commonly used in consumer electronic products such as desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones. This research is intended to contribute to the development of a materials selection tool that will take into account Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Alternatives Assessment (AA), so that consumer electronics manufacturers can identify and mitigate the potential impacts of the materials used in their products. Click HERE for the project poster.