The development and commercialization of sustainable products can be realized by integrating a framework of sustainability across the following high-level product development steps:
- Customer Needs Assessment
- Sustainable Product Design Principles
- Materials Selection
- Sustainable Manufacturing
- Product Packaging
- Product Use
- End-of-Life Product Disposition
No two products are exactly the same. All of the steps noted are important to producing a high-quality product. The right selection and efficient management of materials is essential to providing custom engineered product solutions to customers. The materials used in the manufacturing process, and as embedded in the final physical form define the ultimate price, performance, quality, longevity, and sustainability of a product.
Harbec works to provide solutions to customers to achieve sustainable product innovation and commercialization goals. For example, Harbec’s Sustainable Design Guide is a useful reference for understanding key principles of sustainable engineering to incorporate into the design of new products. In addition, as a manufacturer of custom tightly toleranced parts, Harbec differentiates itself by offering materials solutions to its customers. Harbec has developed an expertise of materials and internal controls and processes that support the wise and efficient use and management of materials.
As a result, Harbec’s materials solutions integrate intimate knowledge of materials with customer needs and goals across the entire materials value-chain: product design, materials selection, custom manufacturing, materials management, and product use-phase, end-use, and life-cycle considerations for managing product stewardship requirements.
Advancements in materials science research are contributing to the availability of new commercially available materials that provide unique properties. Increasingly, Harbec is being asked by customers about biopolymer options for injection molding, particularly as a means to support their goals for sustainable product innovation, and in advance of new product labeling requirements. As companies increase competition related to sustainable products, materials from bio-based origins, including biopolymers, are being looked to as possible solutions. In response, Harbec has updated its online Biopolymer Information Center as a resource to learn about the diverse range of options for molding biopolymers. The website also identifies a sample of the biopolymers Harbec has had experience molding for a diversity of customers and toward their specifications for high quality tightly toleranced parts.
This month Harbec has also launched its Biopolymer Partners Program. Through the Biopolymer Partners Program Harbec is working to connect the dots between sustainable design and manufacturing and materials development and management. Harbec is working with customers who are looking for unique bio-based polymer solutions which can enable their products to reduce or eliminate petroleum-and-carbon based feedstocks within their product portfolio. Harbec is also working with a diversity of biopolymer and bio-origin polymer companies to sample, validate, and assess the vitality of their material within the production parameters and tolerances demanded by customers.
To round out its total solutions offering for customers choosing to design, prototype, and manufacture sustainable products, Harbec offers carbon-neutrality at no additional cost. Since 2013 Harbec has been a carbon-neutral manufacturing facility. Harbec’s investment in operational excellence, adoption and certification of ISO 50001/SEP, on-site renewable and combined heat and power (CHP) energy solutions, and integration of sustainable manufacturing tools, systems, and processes allows us to be a high-value partner for the manufacture of sustainable products.