IBM'S GREEN COMPUTERS
IBM's Engineering Center for Environmentally Conscious Products, has the goal of keeping"all IBM products out of landfills." (New York Times)
"Make the product green, keep the process clean and reuse at end of life." That's how Wayne Young, senior engineer at IBM San Jose, sums up the commitment to environmentally conscious products at IBM's Storage Systems Division. As an integral part of its environmental strategy, IBM has long recognized the basic responsibility of a manufacturer to develop and manufacture productsthat are safe to use, energy efficient and protective of the environment.
To carry out that strategy, the company has established an Integrated Environmental Designp rogram with these four goals for product design:
At Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, the IBM Engineering Center for Environmentally Conscious Products (ECECP) makes it its daily business topursue these goals. The center was established in 1991 to provide the technical guidance, laboratory evaluation and engineering support needed to incorporate environmental attributes into IBM products.
Through the center's work with plastics suppliers, product recyclers and IBM's development community, recycled plastics have been tested and qualified for use in IBM personal computers, AS/400s and the new RAMAC Array family storage systems. Some parts are already being builtwith recycled plastics, while other parts are being considered for conversion to recycled material asnew material supplies are identified.
Additional work is underway at the ECECP on plastics identification, plastics sorting technologies and label removal. This work is critical for building the supplies of quality recycled materials neededfor full integration of recycled plastics into IBM products.
The ECECP has also conducted extensive evaluations of significant components and materials inIBM products to help product designers choose environmentally preferable materials, construction methods and manufacturing processes. Using a Life Cycle approach, relevant information concerning design alternatives is evaluated to determine the best designs from an environmental perspective.
Through this technique, the ECECP has evaluated surface treatment and finishing processes ford ecorative metal parts such as machine covers. After confirming the environmental preferability of powder coating processes for decorative finishes when compared to traditional painting processes,IBM designers incorporated these processes into IBM products. Today, powder coatings are usedin almost all of IBM's new desktop systems, and they have become the preferred finishing methodfor decorative metal parts throughout IBM.
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