Bidirectional Communication in the Electronics Supply Chain to Drive Green Chemistry
Session Organizers: Michael Kirschner, President, Design Chain Associates, LLC; Leo Kenny, President, PLANET SINGULAR
The products of the electronics industry are rarely developed with the application of green chemistry principles, but the amount of chemistry that goes into a given product is, of course, enormous. While the vast majority of chemical innovation occurs far upstream of the brand of the product on the shelf, the demand and enforcement of green chemistry ideals in the form of product material content requirements occurs at the finished good level. The awareness of chemical substances actually used in their product – and available options –at the brand level is generally quite limited. The general lack of chemistry and chemical engineering expertise in the downstream electronics industry means finished goods manufacturers and brand owners are simply unprepared to know when and where green chemistry can and should be driven back upstream. Only the largest manufacturers have resources (often quite limited) to address these issues, while everyone else simply ignores them due to lack of resources and expertise.
Given the severe challenges and impacts in many lifecycle stages including manufacturing, use and end-of-life, as well as the opportunities presented, existing systems and approaches to improve awareness are clearly inadequate to address these issues. In this symposium we will explore the value of strategies and tools that can enable more effective decision making about materials selection choices across the technology life cycle. These include technology roadmap planning, systems engineering, standards development, business processes and proactive approaches (such as “Design for Environment”, or DfE). The value to manufacturers, will be to get the information they need as well as examples of how they can use that information to drive the application of green chemistry to improve the environmental and human-health performance of their products during all phases of the product lifecycle. Moreover, with a proactive, holistic strategy across the lifecycle we can also apply alternative assessment to enable a “greener” selection of materials replacements when needed.
Our goal is to start by focusing on how to get the information needed by the brand owners from their upstream suppliers so they can begin the process of identifying opportunities and prioritizing them. We will present examples of how this works in real life, as well as areas for improvement, including related Grand Challenges to the electronics industry. We will further demonstrate how to think about green chemistry in the supply chain and how and why to bring it into downstream manufacturing companies.
Manufacturers in or along the supply chain of the electronics industry (especially in the semiconductor industry, where materials and equipment design and selection have greater impact downstream), are welcome to submit abstracts. Particular preference will be given to compelling success or failure stories in any of these areas, especially examples where green chemistry concepts have been implemented in manufacturing process or product content.