In today’s world, environmental sustainability has become a top priority for businesses. Companies worldwide are striving to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt green practices to create a healthier planet. The team at Sydor Optics, a leading manufacturer of precision optics for the defense, aerospace, biomedical, and semiconductor industries is actively working on how we may include green manufacturing as part of our operations and be more conscientious of our environment, such as reducing the amount of solids in wastewater that are discharged to the sewer system, in addition to other opportunities.
Reducing Solids in Wastewater
Sydor Optics is working with the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to identify cost-effective approaches to reduce solids in wastewater discharged to the sewer. Through this public-private partnership, Sydor Optics will become a more responsible environmental partner to the local community where the company is located.
NYSP2I, as part of a previous project in 2015-16, assisted in the evaluation and implementation of a centrifugation/filtration process in the polishing operation that not only increased the amount of valuable cerium oxide recovered but also helped to decrease suspended solids loading in the wastewater stream. To understand more about the previous project, please check out our article here: Pollution prevention via recovery of cerium (IV) oxide in optics company – ScienceDirect. Other major sources of solids loading in the wastewater are from the CNC machining and double-sided grinding operations where spent coolant and wash-waters are continuously discharged to sewer. By removing more solids from our process fluids, we will discharge less into the wastewater and extend the life of our coolants.
With production volumes increasing steadily over recent years, pollutant loadings in the wastewater in the form of suspended solids are rising. The Engineering Department at Sydor Optics is working with the technicians in the main manufacturing areas of the business to develop processes that are effective and efficient at removing these solids before they enter the waste stream. James Cutaia, Principal Engineer, has designed, developed, and implemented a new process for ensuring that solids do not settle into the coolant tanks of our CNC machines. Dominic Freudenvoll, Senior Process Engineer, has implemented new coolant tanks in our double-sided grinding area and is working closely with the team at NYSP2I on the additional improvements for removing solids in this area before they can enter the waste stream.
For the past 12 years, Sydor Optics has been working with Mark Mayton and Flint Creek Resources on capturing and recycling used cerium oxide polishing slurry. This process has helped Sydor Optics in 2 main ways; keeping used solids from entering the waste stream and allowing for the reuse of a material that we use every day. Here is a link to an article in Photonics Spectra magazine details more about this work: Improving Slurry Recycling Makes Green Process Greener | Features | Aug 2014 | Photonics Spectra. Even though the article is 9 years old, it is still effective at describing the current process for slurry recycling.
Reducing Energy Consumption
Over the past several years, Sydor Optics has implemented energy-efficient lighting and lighting sensors throughout its facility, resulting in significant savings in energy consumption.
Sydor Optics has a rigorous waste reduction program in place. For example, thirty gallons of acetone and xylene per month are recycled and reused for non-critical purposes until it is fully spent versus used once and disposed of. Additionally, the company recycles all its electronics equipment through various programs and also uses a state-of-the-art coolant recycling system that minimizes the use of water and coolant.
eV Chargers – in 2020 Sydor Optics installed 4 electric car charging stations. With a growing number of their workforce buying electric vehicles, Sydor Optics wanted to give them a place to charge their cars, free of charge.
Green manufacturing is becoming increasingly important in today’s world, and Sydor Optics is at the forefront of this movement. The company’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact through energy efficiency, waste reduction, water conservation, and wastewater treatment is an on-going effort to help reduce negative impacts to the environment. Sydor Optics is setting an example for other companies to follow, showing that it is possible to maintain profitability while being environmentally responsible. By adopting green manufacturing practices, companies can create a better planet for future generations.