Sustainable manufacturing

3 simple and cost-effective ways to improve sustainable manufacturing

All manufacturers are moving towards more sustainable manufacturing, and for most this means getting more from existing plant and machinery. Whilst engineering magazines show immaculate plant rooms full of brand-new equipment, in reality most sites rely on a mix of equipment of all ages and capabilities. Consequently, replacing capital equipment to gain more analytical insight is expensive, and often unnecessary, when alternative technologies are available. 

In this article, we paint a more realistic picture of existing equipment still within its service lifetime and in need of monitoring capabilities. Moreover, if you have existing equipment on your plant floor, you have a treasure trove of assets that can be optimised and made more sustainable. Engineers are finding that incremental optimisation of existing plant and equipment is simpler to implement and delivers a high return on investment. We offer three examples of how this is happening and ways to improve your efforts as well. 

Major UK manufacturing plant modernises ageing machines

DCO offer ways to improve sustainable manufacturing efforts for ageing equipmentA global producer of heavy raw materials has a plant full of existing and proven equipment. Notably, some of this equipment was installed decades ago but still functions efficiently and effectively. With regular maintenance and renewal, the lifetime of this equipment can be extended well into the future. Equally, this represents efficient use of the resources embedded in that plant. However, there is a need to optimise operational performance and incorporate predictive and preventative maintenance techniques. Additionally, the manufacturer needed much more detailed performance data for this equipment. In particular, the manufacturer required monitoring capabilities that could be deployed at scale. Furthermore, they needed to be easily retrofitted at a reasonable cost and proved a return on investment.

Consequently, DCO’s highly adaptable and modular platform, provided a tailored sensor configuration. This met the deployment challenges and analysis needs of the site. As a result, the manufacturer is now able to obtain timely, high-resolution performance data without the need to deploy new infrastructure or replace existing capital equipment.

Improving existing plant, equipment and assets is a good first step towards improved sustainability. Equipment can all be modernised affordably with DCO’s customisable sensor solutions and integrated into plant monitoring and energy efficiency programmes. A cost-effective way to obtain new data from old equipment.

Energy company uses less raw materials with wireless, zero-waste monitors

DCO's monitoring solutions can help business achieve sustainable manufacturing effortThis UK based energy company is taking a forward-thinking approach when adding DCO’s monitoring solutions into their process. Their aim is to reduce resource usage and cost when powering sensors and collecting data. Furthermore, the drive to electrification of industry and transport is demanding ever greater use of metals used in electrical equipment. This includes copper, nickel and tin, which is driving prices and usage to record highs.

Alternately, DCO’s wireless, energy harvesting sensors have been an ideal solution because the sensors reduce the materials required for installation. They are self-powered, battery-free and harvest energy from the surrounding environment, utilising something already there and greatly reducing waste. By avoiding batteries and wiring the impact is immediate and significant. Overall, there are no wires needed for installation, power or data collection and when it comes to the world’s resources, we use less.

Healthcare sites improve engineer utilisation and reduce travel

DCO work with NHS sites to monitoring aging boilers and infrastructureAn energy efficiency equipment supplier uses DCO’s remote monitoring capabilities to monitor equipment operation and effectiveness across multiple UK healthcare campuses. Sites are widely spread out and engineers historically spent considerable time travelling to locations. Furthermore, engineers didn't have any insight as to what issues there may be onsite and whether site visits were needed. Alternatively, DCO Systems have been able to retrofit monitoring capabilities to these existing systems. Specifically, sensors are installed within the key components of the system. In turn, this makes data available remotely and provides engineers with readings and information in real time. Furthermore, proactive notifications alert the equipment supplier and customer teams of issues immediately.

As a result, the engineers now have a continuous and uninterrupted representation of their processes. Consequently, they have been able to reduce travel time, collaborate more easily and utilise resources more effectively. Further benefits include the availability of a comprehensive dataset to enable predictive maintenance, schedule preventative maintenance and improve the performance and availability of the systems. Leaving behind tedious manual testing and reducing unnecessary travel is another easy way to boost sustainability.

Embracing efforts to improve sustainable manufacturing is easier than you think. Modernising ageing equipment with new capabilities, switching to wireless, energy harvesting sensors and travelling less, can make a significant impact. To get started with DCO’s affordable monitoring tools, go to our contact page or email us at

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