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Seeking efficiency: AI can help to drive down manufacturing waste

To address this issue, it has turned its sights to the future, opting for an innovative Artificial Intelligence.

Smoke rises from the chimneys of the Suralaya coal-fired power plant in Cilegon on September 14, 2023
Smoke rises from the chimneys of the Suralaya coal-fired power plant in Cilegon on September 14, 2023 - Copyright AFP ADITYA AJI
Smoke rises from the chimneys of the Suralaya coal-fired power plant in Cilegon on September 14, 2023 - Copyright AFP ADITYA AJI

Manufacturing wastes are a surging problem in the Northeast UK. To curb this escalating issue, local authorities are harnessing the power of artificial intelligence in reducing waste.

Manufacturing is important for the region. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, an estimated 8.4 percent of the Northeast’s Gross Value Added (GVA) was attributed to the manufacturing sector, according to the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS). The region hosts several internationally recognised companies, such as Nissan and Hitachi’s car and rail production facilities.

Researchers at the firm Geonode have delivered positive news about how AI can help in waste management.

The Northeast region of the United Kingdom, home to a thriving industry scene, is witnessing a concerning surge in manufacturing waste. To address this issue, it has turned its sights to the future, opting for an innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered initiative. With AI’s numerous modern applications, it’s poised to provide revolutionary solutions to various challenges, including the problem of escalating waste.

Philipp Pratt, a Geonode innovation expert has told Digital Journal: “The AI-enabled approach provides a targeted and nuanced method to deal with waste. It shifts the focus from managing waste to preventing it.”

With industry comes the consequential rise in pollutant waste. Genode finds that the region has a combined 40 percent waste from all manufacturing sectors. Consequently, the rapid industrial development is taking a toll on the environment, making waste management an utmost priority for local authorities.

To make an efficient solution, the government, in collaboration with several academic and industry partners, have launched a dynamic project to tackle manufacturing waste head-on. This initiative aims to incorporate AI technology to analyse and optimize waste management, paving the way for a cleaner, more efficient industrial revolution.

Recently, Teesside-based Materials Processing Institute got a £600 thousand funding to develop an AI tool that would transform the manufacturing sector.

The project will involve the development of software powered by AI algorithms to scrutinize vast volumes of data generated by manufacturing facilities. By processing this information, the AI software will be able to identify patterns and trends linked to waste production, offering valuable insights into inefficiencies present in the manufacturing cycle.

Furthermore, the AI system could track the type and amount of waste produced, enabling the implementation of targeted management strategies. Consequently, it would assist companies in achieving compliance with rigorous environmental regulations and help authorities monitor these practices more effectively.

A World Economic Forum article notes that industries can use AI to significantly cut down on waste produced by manufacturing, mainly by improving product quality and reducing material overuse, hence contributing to quality management and cost reductions.

According to Pratt, the key advantages of using AI in waste management are:

  • Enhanced accuracy in identifying waste-producing areas.
  • Improved efficiency and cost-effective production.
  • Decreased environmental footprint.

Pratt concludes: “AI is not just a tool to use; it’s a different way of thinking, a new approach that changes how we deal with problems and accomplish goals.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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