Electronic Product Manufacturing for Net Zero

Electronic Product Manufacturing for Net Zero

Electronic product manufacturing to support net zero

With our vast experience in providing electronic product manufacturing support to OEMs, it would be remiss of us to ignore the push towards ‘net zero’ and the benefits this strategy can offer to our planet. We all have a responsibility to the planet’s health and survival, and while electronic product manufacturing comes with its environmental challenges, there are plenty of ways in which good product development can help to balance the impact and start tipping the scales more towards carbon neutrality. 

While the net zero strategy applies across the UK, on a more local level, we’ve been interested to see the statistics specifically for Leeds, where Daletech has had its home for over 30 years. In March 2019, Leeds City Council passed a motion to reach a state of net zero by 2030 – which will take a real push from the businesses in the city. However, with the adoption of more energy efficient, low carbon options, Leeds could find itself saving £651m per year by the target date, according to the new Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap for Leeds published last year.

Carbon cutting options 

While we obviously approach the net zero conversation from an electronic manufacturing point of view, reducing carbon emissions is a job for everyone. So what can we do on a business and personal level to help the UK cut its emissions and improve the environment for a healthier, happier world?

At the lower end of the scale, low energy lighting and electric cars are two things that both domestic and business consumers can adopt to start making a difference. At the mid-way line, more energy-efficient domestic appliances - fridges/freezers, TVs, cookers etc. - and industrial boilers would have an even bigger impact.

On the upper-end of the impact scale, we see that an investment in more efficient commercial cooling methods, the utilisation of landfill gases, better domestic insulation and energy-saving boilers and heat pumps are the greatest assets we can harness to help us find our way to our net zero aims.

With this in mind, there lies plenty of opportunities for electronic product manufacturing companies to help pave the way for a more positive future…

Gas boilers out, new options in

With the emissions produced by traditional domestic gas boilers being twice that of all the power stations in the UK, it’s easy to see why the government has decided to ban new installations as of 2025.

So what are the alternatives?

It’s clear that consumers are going to have to undertake quite a dramatic shift in the years to come, with a range of options being lauded as the answer to (some of) our carbon emission issues. Here’s a quick look at some of the key alternatives to gas boilers to consider when it’s time to update your heating system:

Heat pumps – air course heat pumps are the government’s top choice when it comes to contributing to the net zero plan through new domestic products. With grants offered to help mitigate some of the cost of installation, their longer lifespan compared to gas boilers, and their ability to run on renewable energy are all big benefits. On the other hand, the need for good home insulation and larger radiators to utilise their effectiveness, costly and disruptive installation methods and their poorer performance in the coldest conditions bring some issues that could prohibit take-up for many homeowners.

Heat networks – a community heating initiative, these networks could help to reduce domestic heating bills (great news in the face of the current cost of living crisis), remove the need for an internal boiler and provide a much lower carbon option. That said, their use is limited to areas of dense population, their operation can be disruptively noisy and they’re not yet a fully-tested solution.

Hydrogen boilers – sustainable, non-toxic and non-carbon producing, this sounds like the answer, right? But unfortunately, the cost of producing green hydrogen could put the brakes on this option for most consumers, and storage and transport difficulties due to the flammable nature of hydrogen add extra issues into the mix.  

Electric boilers – the answer to domestic emissions?

While electric boilers aren’t without their issues (such as a potential need for a phase 3 power supply and higher fuel costs), there’s a growing argument for their place in our net zero plans – with some homeowners already making the switch ahead of the gas boiler ban.

So why are electric boilers so great? Here are some of their key benefits: 

  • Eco-friendly and 100% efficient
  • Can be used in conjunction with your existing radiators from a gas central heating system
  • Accurate thermostats keep you in control of energy use
  • No need for annual servicing
  • Quick to deliver heat

By making a switch from fossil-fuel-powered domestic heating to more sustainable, electric-powered solutions, we could see a fast and dramatic positive impact on general emission levels in the UK.

Electronic product manufacturing to reduce emissions

We’ve been helping OEMs to develop and manufacture quality electronic products for the lifespan of our business, and with our eye on the future, we welcomed the opportunity to work alongside a specialist electric heating manufacturer recently. As with all of our OEM clients, our job is to take their product and ensure it performs perfectly and meets their consumers’ needs – so that’s exactly what we did.

We won’t reveal the name of our client in order to preserve their confidentiality, but we were approached by this company to help them manufacture a control unit for their energy-efficient electric boiler range. With our across-the-board capabilities, from conventional PCBs to surface mount production, they entrusted us with the task of improving on their existing design… but without the original design specs to work from.

The key challenge with any electronic product manufacturing project is to ensure the quality of the PCBs behind the tech is consistent, with all components being correctly and consistently implemented for a reliable outcome. Of course with ongoing supply chain issues, this was a greater challenge than usual.

By reverse-engineering the product in question, we were able to update their BoM, source the necessary components for manufacture, and look at ways to improve on the current design. With the national and global aim to reach net zero, we explored the units’ current functionality and made recommendations for future-proofing the product and ensuring it facilitates the smooth and efficient control of the electric boilers it’s designed to power.

Once manufactured, our electronics experts put the product through its paces, checking that the PCBs are working correctly with all components in the right place and no shorts occurring, and that the boards are handled sensitively to prevent any damage that could impact performance.

Making electronic product manufacturing greener

With every eco-friendly product we’re asked to get involved in, we get the warm glow that comes with helping to make the world a greener place. Prior to this work on the development of electric boiler system products, we’ve also been fortunate enough to support the electric vehicle industry too.

This work also shores up our own commitment to becoming a greener electronics manufacturer ourselves – which you can read more about in our article Electronic Technology for Sustainability and Innovation.

We’re fully aware that there’s a long way to go to reach net zero here in the UK, but with our experience in sustainable electronic product manufacturing, we’d love to talk through any ideas you have as an OEM and help you to develop or rework new or existing solutions to help drive the agenda to realisation.

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