Building Sustainability: An R&D Story
How and why a small company spent more than
four years improving one of its products
This is the story of a small company (40-person staff) that invests in research and development, in-house production, and local manufacturing. The company believes this investment will improve its own sustainability and the sustainability of its customers, the environment, American manufacturing capacity and the U.S. economy.
One of the company’s latest accomplishments is the creation of a new electromagnetic impact rapper for electrostatic precipitators, designed and manufactured in the U.S. This product is more durable and uses fewer natural resources and less energy to manufacture than its predecessor, but performs just as well if not better. The rapper took more than four years to develop and test, a process financed from the company’s limited profits during a period of recession.
When the design project got underway in mid-2006, the price of copper (used for magnetic rapper coils) was soaring. To avoid passing that cost on to customers, the company chose instead to design a new model using significantly less copper wire--without compromising performance. Secondary goals were to make the rapper more durable, and reduce environmental impact by using fewer materials.