Being green and efficient at POP Displays

Tags: energy management

POP Displays is elevating the importance of several “green” initiatives and adding new ones to ensure its daily operations are friendly to the environment.

“Reducing waste, recycling and conservation are win-win measures for businesses. Not only do we save on expenses, but we are helping to preserve what matters most – our families and our future,” says Ed Wohlwender, chief executive officer of Yonkers, N.Y.-based POP Displays.

POP Displays produces displays using nearly six million pounds of plastic a year. Through the molding process, waste is generated. Engineers at POP Displays determined that 10 to 20 percent of regrind can be used in a display without any risk to structural integrity. Every pound of waste is reground and reused or sold to a third party who utilizes the regrind. Through these measures, POP is able to prevent one million pounds of plastic from becoming waste.

POP Displays is converting to cellular manufacturing. The objective of cellular manufacturing is to pace production to reduce waste and optimize efficiency, output and quality. Equipment and workstations are arranged in an efficient sequence for continuous movement of inventories and materials to manufacture from start to finish in a one-piece flow. As a result, overproduction is prevented, cartons and packing materials needed to store or transport components are no longer needed, defects are reduced since operators quickly identify and correct defects as they move through the cell, and less floor space is required which conserves energy consumption.

POP uses 900 gallons of oil each year to keep machinery in good working order. Oil becomes waste once it loses its lubricating ability. This oil is sold to a third party who reuses it for diesel fuel or filters it to be redeployed for a number of petroleum-based products. Nearly all 900 gallons of oil is recycled and not wasted.

POP Displays buys 3.5 million pieces of corrugated materials a year and all corrugate is made from recycled material. In addition, corrugated cartons needed for pre-built parts held in inventory are not considered waste when emptied. Tape is cut and cartons are flattened and stacked on racks to be retaped for reuse. Racks provide a visual check that cartons are being recycled. If inventory is low, that signals supervisors to confirm all operators are following recycling procedures. Approximately 30 percent of these cartons are reused.

POP Displays is part of the Energy Curtailment Specialist (ECS) program, a voluntary demand response program started in New York City with the goal of preventing blackouts through energy conservation. During peak energy demand periods, POP voluntarily shuts non-essential use of electricity in order to reduce consumption, without affecting the business. Energy-conserving lighting and motion sensors were also installed. POP uses about 11 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and changing from fluorescent lights to high-bay metal halide and curtailing energy usage will save about 30 percent, or three million kWh a year.

High on the roof on POP Displays is a cooling tower that recycles water. In the 500,000-square-foot Yonkers facility, 3.6 million gallons of city water runs through the equipment each year to maintain the proper temperature. It then cycles through the tower on the roof where high temperature evaporates the water to return it to 60 to 70 degrees so the water can be reused.

Going forward, POP continues to examine all potential opportunities to become more environmentally friendly and work in conjunction with their clients to reduce waste and develop initiatives that conserve our precious resources.