Eastman may be a specialty materials company, but its focus these days is expansive: the well-being of the planet and the sustainability of manufacturing practices.
“We have three main pillars,” Eastman Executive Vice President and Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer Steve Crawford told us. “How do you improve the climate? How do you care for society? And how do you eliminate waste?”
Eastman means to do all three.
Circular economy: Among Eastman’s goals for the foreseeable future is making major strides toward the creation of a circular plastics economy, a model of production and usage that emphasizes the reuse and refurbishment of plastic products over new creation.
- Eastman encourages traditional, also known as mechanical, recycling when it can be used. However, “300 million metric tons of plastic get produced in the world every year, with less than 20% collected for mechanical recycling. In the U.S., less than 10% actually gets recycled,” said Crawford, who has been with Eastman for 35 years. “Most of it ends up in landfills, incinerated or worse.”
Under construction: Eastman, which plans to make its operations carbon-neutral by 2050, is constructing what will be one of the world’s largest plastic to plastic molecular recycling facilities in Kingsport, Tennessee. It is slated for completion by the end of 2022.
- Eastman estimates that by 2025, the facility will be diverting 250 million pounds of plastic waste every year. By 2030, the company plans to make that figure 500 million.
Why it’s important: “Mechanical recycling—where you go out and take items like single-use bottles, chop, wash and re-meld them and put them back into textiles or bottles—can only really address a small portion of the plastics that are out there,” Crawford said. After a few cycles, the polymers in the products degrade and the process is no longer possible.
- Instead, Eastman uses advanced, also known as molecular or chemical, recycling. “We unzip the plastic back to its basic building blocks, then purify those building blocks to create new materials,” Crawford said. This “creates an infinite loop because that polymer can go through that process time and time again.”
Additional measures: Eastman also makes use of carbon renewal technology, in which hard-to-recycle mixed plastics are brought into the recycling stream, broken down to the molecular level and reformed into textiles and other materials. Fully 40% of the material in Eastman’s Naia Renew cellulosic fiber, in fact, comes from the plastic reclaimed through this process, Crawford said.
- The company is involved in polyester renewal technology as well. Using colored soda bottles, old carpet and a variety of other mixed plastic waste streams, Eastman creates new materials that can be used to make everything from reusable containers to electronics to eyeglass frames.
First do no harm: Before implementing any new technology, Eastman makes sure of one thing: that it has a lower greenhouse-gas footprint than the process it will replace. Said Crawford: “We fundamentally believe that solving the waste issue should not hurt the climate.”
- The company also has a long-term goal regarding emissions: it plans to reduce its greenhouse-gas output by one-third by 2030.
The policy angle: To make a real difference where plastic waste is concerned, the U.S. needs “smart” policies in place, Crawford said. Eastman’s recommendations include:
- Incentives, mandates and infrastructure investment that will increase all recycling;
- Cooperation between companies, nonprofits and local and state governments that have effective models for aggregating and collecting plastic waste; and
- Legislation to ensure the definition of recycling includes advanced-recycling techniques.
The last word: “There is no one company that’s going to be able to create the circular economy by themselves,” Crawford said. “It’s going to take partnerships across the value chain and really smart public policy. We can’t solve this issue alone.”
The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. In this episode, you’ll meet Matt Lipsitz and Adam Lebovitz of Formlabs, who discuss how PTC Onshape helps Formlabs improve their 3D-printer design. Learn how PTC has helped Formlabs “try out new ideas that weren’t possible in the past.”
When it comes to making strides in sustainability, Fortune Brands Home & Security knows the power of small, steady steps. The company works to improve sustainability in a wide variety of ways, from water conservation to the recycling of ocean plastics and wood. We talked to two of its leaders recently to get the inside scoop.
Mission Moen: In 2020, the company launched Mission Moen, its commitment to conserving 1 trillion gallons of water by 2030. To meet that goal, Moen has employed cutting-edge innovation, explained Fortune Brands Global Plumbing Group Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer Mark-Hans Richer.
- Its Flo by Moen, for example, is a “smart water security system” that, through a mobile app, standalone sensors, detectors and other tech, allows consumers to monitor their water usage—and detect leaks they may not even know about.
- “There is an immense amount of water that’s wasted every year in the United States … due to lack of knowledge,” said Richer. “Flo by Moen allows users to see where water use is any minute of any day.”
“The key to saving water is in small fixes,” Richer emphasized. For example, “a faucet that has a little bit more managed gallon-per-minute flow can add up over the course of its use … to some pretty substantial savings.”
Cleaning up the oceans: The second pillar of Mission Moen is the company’s commitment to cleaning up the world’s oceans—specifically, 2,000 tons of plastic that’s currently floating in them.
- “We’ve found a lot of very useful, interesting things” that can be made with ocean-recycled plastic, Richer said. These include product packaging and components in showerheads.
- “When you commit yourself to a large goal, then you start to look for ways” to meet that goal, he continued.
Recycled wood and plastic: FBHS’s dedication to conservation extends throughout the company. Recycled wood and plastic are used to create its Fiberon Balance composite decking, Fiberon President Fenton Challgren told us. It’s a complex process:
- First, there is an “intensive search … for the right plastic, which comes in bales by the truckload,” said Challgren.
- The company then must “sort the contaminants, contain them, grind them, get them into different extruders … and create a stable pellet” that can be used for the decking, he continued.
What should manufacturers learn from FBHS? Manufacturers seeking to reduce the size of their company’s environmental footprint should think of these efforts as a long-term investment, according to Challgren.
- “On the water recycling side, have a really robust filtration system,” Challgren urged. “Spend the money, get the technology. It’s a big investment, but if you’re doing any type of high-volume water usage,” it will be less expensive in the long run.
The last word: As Challgren summed it up, “The impact your company could have by going down this path … will be worth it both financially and for the greater good.”
Washington, D.C. – After the publication today of the National Association of Manufacturers’ latest report, “Ensuring a Healthy Future: The Impact and Importance of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:
“Pharmaceutical manufacturers are essential to America’s health and well-being and to the success of our economy. They have helped lead our country through crisis, fight the pandemic and drive our recovery. The sector creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the work its quarter of a million employees perform is literally lifesaving, improving society in ways that are almost impossible to overstate.”
The report finds that not only have pharmaceutical manufacturers been pioneers in improving the human condition, but the industry also fuels other sectors of the economy.
According to the report:
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing directly employs an estimated 267,000 workers in the United States and supports nearly 1.9 million more jobs across the country.
- One job in the industry helps support six other jobs in the overall workforce.
- Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing generates nearly $339 billion in output. Further, $1.00 in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing output generates $1.09 in output elsewhere in the economy.
- For every $1.00 earned by an employee within the industry, $2.42 is earned by others elsewhere in the economy.
“The American public and policymakers too often overlook these accomplishments,” Timmons added. “Traditional economic analysis ignores the way this industry extends and enriches lives, and the public is not fully aware of pharmaceutical manufacturers’ constant focus on innovation and improving the quality of life for everyone. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are always researching, discovering and developing new medicines and treatments, operating at the core of our modern health care system. Their products make it possible for medical professionals to introduce and manage innovative new therapies, and of course, these manufacturers helped create lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines. Moreover, the industry has high economic multipliers that drive production and job creation in other industries.”
Additional Key Findings:
- A successful pharmaceutical ecosystem requires strong private-sector investment.
- In 2019, American pharmaceutical companies invested more than $83 billion in research and development, topping off nearly $1 trillion in R&D investment over the past 20 years. A recent study from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics estimates that the pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing sector alone accounts for roughly 17% of total R&D investment in the United States.
- The pharmaceutical industry invests nearly 11.4% of its sales back into R&D. Indeed, the U.S. pharmaceutical industry invests on average roughly three times more in R&D as a percentage of sales than all other manufacturing industries.
- The industry creates valuable STEM jobs.
- While roughly 6.7% of the U.S. workforce has a STEM occupation, 29.9% of all jobs in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing are STEM related. The pharmaceutical manufacturing sector employs more than four times the percentage of STEM workers employed in the overall workforce.
- Industry employees are highly productive.
- Industry employees produce $1.3 million in output per employee. This is nearly seven times greater than the U.S. economy’s average output per employee ($188,000).
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.4 million men and women, contributes $2.44 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 58% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
Jesse Henson wants you to think of motors the way you think of lightbulbs.
Most people recognize the energy and cost savings to be had by switching from incandescent bulbs to LED light sources. In the same way, they should see the advantages of swapping out anachronistic, clunky motors for newer alternatives, said Henson, president of ABB’s NEMA Motors Division.
“You’ve [still] got the old incandescent lightbulbs out there—which are your motors—that need to be replaced with newer technology,” Henson told the NAM.
Not too different from 1921: The humble motor, which Henson says has “really not changed much in over 100 years,” is ubiquitous in manufacturing. Motors are found in factories in fans, pumps, compressors and more, powering everything from systemwide HVAC systems to individual power tools. But new technology could make them much more efficient and environmentally friendly—and save manufacturers a lot of money in the process.
Motor movement: ABB is working to change the way motors are used across the manufacturing sector, where they account for the lion’s share of expended electricity—approximately 70%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- A sizable portion of that electricity is wasted because the motors using it are running constantly, consuming energy even when no task is being performed, Henson noted. That’s a costly reality for manufacturers.
Use only what is needed: ABB’s variable speed drives address this problem, allowing manufacturers to tailor a motor’s speed to the job it is doing. “That’s how you save energy,” Henson said.
- Adding a drive to a motor-driven system typically reduces power consumption by 25%, according to ABB.
- However, most companies aren’t getting that level of efficiency—just a quarter of motors in use today have such energy-saving drives, Henson noted.
No rare-earths needed: Of particular importance at a time of global supply-chain disruption is the fact that ABB motors achieve higher levels of efficiency without using rare-earth magnets.
- ABB’s EC Titanium motor, for example, does not use rare earths. Instead, it employs synchronous reluctance (the conversion of electrical energy to mechanical) technology and ferrite magnets for an even higher level of efficiency.
Easy savings: In fact, just by adding the EC Titanium motor drive to a fan array with 50 motors, one ABB manufacturing customer that already used drives cut its electricity consumption in half.
- The company slashed its annual energy bill from $20,000 to $10,000, according to Henson.
The last word: “We want to continue embracing sustainability . . . today and into the future,” said Henson. “These motors and drives are truly a game-changer in our marketplace today.”
Are you grappling with the fast pace of competition in manufacturing? Are you working to keep up with the massive amount of disruption brought on by artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and digital breakthroughs? Are you racing to create new competitive advantages by using the power of Manufacturing 4.0—the next wave of industrial progress based on digitization?
The NAM has you covered with Rethink: The Manufacturing Leadership Council Summit, on June 22–24.
What it is: Rethink is the premier conference on Manufacturing 4.0 for industry leaders as they continue to navigate disruption. Hosted by the Manufacturing Leadership Council—a member-driven, global business leadership network dedicated to senior executives in the manufacturing industry—the summit offers participants strategies and solutions that are designed to advance their operations and improve their competitiveness.
Why it matters: The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged some of the changes that were already occurring in the manufacturing industry. Across the past year, businesses have seen an even greater need for flexibility, agility and speed in operations, and many manufacturers have accelerated their adoption of digital technologies to achieve these goals.
What it includes: The summit will offer a wide range of informative conversations with next-generation leaders and experts. A few elements include the following:
- Case study sessions showcasing real-world examples of advanced manufacturing technologies in action—from efforts to transform legacy facilities into smart factories, to the role of analytics in digital transformation, to the growth of robotics in manufacturing and logistics. By hearing from manufacturing leaders who have taken on these challenges, executives can learn best practices and gain new ideas for their own companies.
- “Think tank” sessions that will allow participants to ask questions and share ideas about advanced manufacturing technology. These conversations will include discussions of topics like quantum computing, manufacturing execution systems, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, edge computing and sustainability.
The big difference: Most importantly, Rethink gives participants the chance to learn from other manufacturing executives and experts. Many of the industry’s most forward-thinking leaders will collaborate at this summit to make manufacturing better and stronger.
Check it out: Click here for more information and to register for the summit.
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the Biden administration’s completion of their 100-day review assessing vulnerabilities in, and strengthening the resilience of, critical supply chains.
“Our industry is grateful for the administration’s continued focus on investments in manufacturing in America. Ramping up production in the United States is one of the key ways we alleviate the supply chain challenges that have been affecting our industry and all American families.
“Succeeding in a global economy also requires the ability to manufacture where customers are; after all, 95% of customers live outside of the United States. The NAM has been leading on supply chain issues, providing initial recommendations for policymakers back in spring 2020. We look forward to working with the administration and learning more about these specific proposals while also continuing our work to ensure we maintain a business climate in the United States that attracts investment and promotes growth and job creation.”
In May 2020, the NAM released a detailed agenda of policy recommendations to strengthen the manufacturing supply chain in America.
In February 2021, President Biden signed E.O. 14017 directing his administration to conduct a 100-day review of, and address vulnerabilities in, America’s critical supply chains.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
Washington, D.C. – Following President Joe Biden’s first presidential address to Congress, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released this statement:
“Thanks to the leadership of vaccine manufacturers and the Biden administration’s successful vaccine distribution efforts, Americans are getting back to the activities and the people they love. Though the capacity limits in the House chamber tonight remind us that we still have a long way to go, our future is looking brighter.
“We look forward to working with President Biden to achieve historic infrastructure investment, including the many priorities offered in our ‘Building to Win’ plan, which, in addition to identifying areas of investment, also provides multiple funding solutions.
“Manufacturers have also provided roadmaps on critical issues ranging from immigration to climate change. We’re ready to work with President Biden and members of any party to deliver bipartisan progress on these issues and more, all while ensuring we’re strengthening the manufacturing workforce, not jeopardizing manufacturing growth in the United States.
“To that point, raising taxes on manufacturers—including many small businesses that pay at the individual rate—would stop our recovery in its tracks; we would lose 1 million jobs in just the first two years alone. Small manufacturers would be especially hard hit at this critical juncture, restricting their ability to raise wages and benefits, hire more workers and invest in their communities. Similarly, changes to the longstanding tax rules on the transfer of family businesses to the next generation of manufacturers would cost American jobs.
“Returning to archaic tax policies and one of the highest business tax rates in the developed world is not the way to build our future, nor are federal policies to force workers to join a union. Anti-worker policies like the PRO Act would inject uncertainty by driving a wedge in established employee–employer relationships and curtail future manufacturing investments that support our communities and families.
“As we continue to get armed against COVID-19, manufacturers are focused on building the next, post-pandemic world—one that affords even greater opportunity for all Americans.”
The NAM continues to put forward commonsense proposals to educate and inform policymakers on ways to strengthen manufacturing in America while achieving our shared objectives.
- Tax Policy Protecting Manufacturing Jobs
- “Building to Win” Infrastructure Plan
- “The Promise Ahead,” Taking Action on Climate
- “A Way Forward” on Immigration
- “Strengthening the Manufacturing Supply Chain”
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs 12.3 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Meet David Solomont and Greg Horne from ev Transportation Services, Inc., which makes the FireFly ESV vehicle. In this edition of the NAM’s Makers Series, Solomont and Horne explain how ev Transportation Services uses PTC’s Onshape cloud-based CAD system to power its distributed manufacturing and engineering teams working on the FireFly ESV.
You may not know it, but one company has the capacity to manufacture bulk drug substance for more than a billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines annually: Emergent BioSolutions, a global supplier for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and U.S. supplier for the AstraZeneca vaccine. Emergent Executive Vice President of Manufacturing and Technical Operations Sean Kirk spoke with us recently to explain what goes into the heroic production of all these doses—in other words, what it takes to help defeat COVID-19.
How the vaccine works: The complexity begins with the vaccines themselves, which are amazing feats of bioengineering. The two vaccines have broadly similar structures, though they are made by separate, quarantined production lines in the Emergent facility. (As Kirk says, you can’t even take a wrench from one production suite to the other.)
You can think of this type of vaccine as a sort of beneficial Trojan Horse:
- Particles of a virus called an adenovirus, which usually causes cold and flu-like symptoms, are engineered to hold the DNA of SARS-CoV-2 (the official name of the coronavirus)—and to not be infectious themselves.
- Those adenovirus particles enter your cells and program them to produce a component of SARS-CoV-2 called a spike protein.
- That process provokes an immune response, teaching your system how to defeat the real COVID-19.
So how do you make it? As you might guess, making such a precise vaccine is itself a complicated and delicate process.
- You need to make a lot of modified adenovirus particles very fast, while ensuring they aren’t infectious and can deliver their payload of SARS-CoV-2 DNA.
- To cut a long story very short, the production process involves “infecting living cells [with the modified adenovirus] and turning them into virus factories,” as science writer Derek Lowe says.
Where Emergent comes in: Emergent handles the manufacturing process, which results in something called “bulk drug substance,” Kirk explains.
- “Our facility produces the high concentration active pharmaceutical ingredients, the viral vectors themselves,” he says. “Then we freeze them down and ship them out to what’s called a fill/finish facility, which dilutes the concentrate and fills vials or syringes with it.”
The numbers: That concentrate will eventually become part of the 100 million Johnson & Johnson doses and 300 million AstraZeneca doses purchased by the U.S. government.
What it takes: Kirk gave us a glimpse of just how much effort went into getting ready for a new vaccine.
- 6 or 7 months: That’s all Emergent had, for a process that normally takes years. Consider how much goes into it, Kirk says: ordering equipment, getting that equipment to work correctly and comply with regulations, “working out the kinks from the complex biological manufacturing process”—and then scaling it up and optimizing it to make large quantities of vaccines as quickly and safely as possible.
- 800 new jobs: Emergent had to increase hiring, adding approximately 800 new jobs in 2020, many of which were dedicated to COVID-19 response across three Maryland sites.
- Group effort: Emergent works incredibly closely with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, along with the U.S. government and the company’s own suppliers. “We have leveraged U.S. government rated orders to get access to critical raw materials and equipment. We’ve depended upon certain suppliers, who were likewise rallying to the cause, to really step up and ramp up their overall capability and capacity,” says Kirk.
Why can’t you go faster? Kirk says he gets this question all the time and wants to impress upon readers that these are very complex biologic manufacturing processes.
- “They are highly regulated, highly technical and have to be highly reproducible,” he continued. “We are growing living cells and then we are infecting them with these viral vectors.”
- Furthermore, everything that Emergent produces must have the same characteristics of the product used in the clinical trials—“that’s the essence of biologic vaccine development,” Kirk says. “That’s the only way you can ensure safety and efficacy.”
The last word: Kirk tells us what he tells his employees: “It’s unbelievably difficult, more difficult than anything I’ve done in my entire career. But I can’t think of a more awesome opportunity to leave an indelible mark on the course of human history. We are going to help return a degree of normalcy to society. We’re going to help reunite families, open up economies and put a smile on children’s faces when they go back to school. And that’s an honorable and amazing thing.”
This article is the first in an exclusive four-part series on Emergent’s accelerated production efforts.