What do manufacturers need to know about LCI?

LCI is just the beginning of a journey that the industry will need to take in order to develop a more technical, environmental and energy understanding of their products and processes. Twenty-six ACMA member manufacturing companies provided this initial aggregate data. From this, companies can continue to do their own LCA by assessing their own processes and compare them to the industry average to improve, market and advance their products.

What’s in store this year for the LCA?

We will continue to educate our members about LCA and either continue gathering LCI data or potentially complete some example LCA’s for generic products. Education-wise our aim is to help the industry at technical conferences, through the website we’ve created and via newsletters. In terms of a committee, we’ll make a few more decisions in our upcoming Green Composites committee meeting.

As the keynote speaker at the Green Composites Workshop, what do you want people to understand?

We have a lot of work to do to have our industry at the same level, if not more so, than our competitors in understanding and being able to discuss the life cycle virtues of composites. For example, we know that every product and process is unique. Steel and aluminum argue they are uniquely better because they can be recycled at end-of-life by sending to be melted down whereas composites can’t. That is a hurdle for our industry. But looking at cradle to grave of a material, a whole composite part comes out winning because in some of the processes used to make steel or aluminum parts, they throw away more slag and sledge per-pound into a landfill than we have at the end to throw away.

What is ACMA’s role in compiling LCA data?

By pooling resources under the ACMA umbrella, it helps our industry to develop technical information that they probably could not afford to have done on their own. By performing this type of work through the backing of ACMA, the results of the studies provide a snapshot look at the aggregated industry not just one manufacturer. This will also aid individual manufacturers to make sure they have best-practices in their manufacturing.

How much does the composites industry still need to learn about “green”?

One never stops learning about sustainable or “green” products because the market demands and needs are constantly changing. This process is a continuous improvement process and the more composite manufacturers understand that, the better of business-wise they will be.