Eaton Corporation, the US-based power management firm, is employing additive manufacturing as an effective technique for achieving Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWTL) status for several of its sites. The company’s ZWTL initiative involves recycling, composting, reusing, and waste incineration for energy generation. Until now, 148 of the company’s sites have attained ZWTL status, and the company aims to achieve the certification for the rest of its facilities by the year 2030. The concept is designed to prevent any waste material from ending up in landfills, creating a circular economy.
Eaton’s hose manufacturing plant situated in Cerkezkoy, Turkey, has reduced its total landfill waste from 21 percent to zero in four years. The site accomplished zero percent waste by using its energy recovery incineration process that can convert the waste generated from the rubber hose edge into usable energy. A bio-digestion and methane recovery system is also in use at the company’s facility in Cerkezkoy to convert cafeteria waste into renewable energy. Eaton’s facility in Brierley Hill, UK has employed a concept called Operation Clean Sweep (OCS) to reduce the plastic marine debris from manufacturing processes. With the growing involvement of Eaton in additive manufacturing for aerospace applications, the company’s waste reduction abilities have also earned recognition. Eaton’s 2018 Sustainability report states that instead of traditional methods of production that rely on subtractive manufacturing or forming, additive manufacturing can potentially cut waste and scrap from the production process by introducing material only when it is required.
The company recently joined the Lighting Research Center (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute consortium for expanding the applications of 3D printing for sustainable, solid-state lighting, along with components for building and construction. Back in 2016, Eaton had established an Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in Michigan, which was awarded an AS9100 Rev D certification in 2018. The certification validated an extensive quality system offering safe and reliable metal 3D printed aerospace products to military and civil customers.