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NIST-Led Team Unveils Standard to Characterize Production Processes’ Environmental Impacts

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manufacturingThe National Institute of Standards and Technology has led a public-private team to develop an international standard that aims to provide manufacturers with a systematic method on how to outline the environmental aspects of any production process.

NIST said Thursday the ASTM International E3012-16 standard seeks to help manufacturing firms achieve their sustainability goals through the adoption of a science-based approach.

The approach aims to guide firms on how to collect and define data about a production process’ environmental impacts as well as support them in their decision-making processes, the agency added.

“We designed ASTM E3012-16 to let manufacturers virtually characterize their production processes as computer models, and then, using a standardized method, ‘plug and play’ the environmental data for each process step to visualize impacts and identify areas for improving overall sustainability of the system,” said Kevin Lyons, NIST systems engineer and chair of the ASTM committee that created the standard.

According to NIST, members of the ASTM committee plan to incorporate into the standard several key performance indicators of sustainable manufacturing.

“In the long term, we’d also like to establish a repository of process models and case studies from different manufacturing sectors so that users of the standard can compare and contrast against their production methods,” Lyons added.

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