The Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center (TMAC) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pollution Prevention Program to assist manufacturers in developing and adopting pollution prevention practices to reduce costs and environmental impacts through grant-funded training.

Each participating organization will receive onsite training including a Lean review, energy overview, and environmental overview, followed by shop floor tours to identify and quantify opportunities. Impacts collected include Lean savings, reductions of pounds of hazardous wastes, reductions in gallons of water used, reductions in MTCO2e released, kWh energy reductions, and dollar savings associated with achieving these improvements.

The organizations will also receive support from TMAC to monitor savings impacts using wireless technology to collect data before and after best practice improvement recommendations are implemented. Smart sensors provide real-time monitoring of selected environmental metrics such as temperature changes, water consumption, air particulates, energy usage, and the financial savings associated with achieving these reductions.

Once deployed, the smart sensors can continuously collect data 24 hours a day for months at a time. This large measurement sample becomes a powerful tool for the organization’s management to have the confidence to make changes based on collected data that will bring significant cost savings and environmental impact reductions. By using sensor technology, TMAC can help clients make evidence-based decisions to improve their businesses.

Preliminary smart sensor readings are already exhibiting improvement and energy reduction opportunities. TMAC is currently analyzing data from an injection molding machine at a gourmet pet food manufacturer’s facility. The data is providing real-time detailed information on machine running times and kWh of electricity usage for heaters used during the extrusion process to make custom dog treats. Temperature and humidity sensors are helping to monitor drying ovens to pinpoint when products are completely dried versus leaving them in for the current standard practice of 48 hours. Reducing drying times will help cut down on production cycle times and reduce energy costs for the 17 ovens required to dry products.

Photos courtesy TMAC

TMAC is also working with a bakery production team to help design an improved method to decorate its cakes to meet the growing demand for their baked goods. Future sensor installation will help measure and optimize the bakery’s coolers to reduce electricity usage and maximize cooling capacity. TMAC will publish a full report of savings impact as well as changes in energy and environmental metrics at the conclusion of the monitoring period for this manufacturer as well as others participating in the training.

TMAC is the Texas representative of the MEP National Network and works with businesses to help develop and improve their profits, products, processes, technology, and people. TMAC is currently seeking eight Texas companies in the areas of food and beverage manufacturing and processing, automotive manufacturing and maintenance, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, and metal manufacturing and fabrication to be a part of this cost-free training. For more information or to be a part of the training, contact

This content sponsored by TMAC.


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