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Monday, October 18, 2010

Manufacturing can be 'green'

From a column by Matthew Davidson, CEO, XTen Industries, Kenosha, in BizTimes:

Xten Industries, a Kenosha-based injection molding firm, has found several ways to reduce its environmental footprint by using less electricity and natural gas and more earth-friendly plastics. Matthew Davidson, chief executive officer of the company, has made being “green” a central tenet of his company’s operating model.

“There are many ways for manufacturing companies to become more sustainable – to make choices that benefit the environment while actually saving cash. This is even true of small companies like Xten Industries, an injection molder dependent on heavy machinery, high energy use and the consumption of plastic.

“We found it easiest to approach sustainability in three broad areas: reduce waste, reduce energy and design parts more intelligently.

“As an example, Xten reduced our scrap by over 40 percent last year by re-examining our internal processes and how we identify, sort and reuse plastic, steel, oil and corrugated.

“This year we slashed our electric usage by more than 30 percent with the help of Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program and Clean Tech Partners, which allowed Xten to retrofit its large machines and lighting through incentives and an innovative, cash-positive financing program that allows us to pay back the loans with the energy savings. These are terrific programs for Wisconsin manufacturers.

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