Sustainable manufacturing has been defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the creation of manufactured products using processes that minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, are safe for employees, communities, and consumers, and are economically sound. Thus, it requires simultaneous consideration of economic, environmental, and social implications associated with production and delivery of goods. Research in sustainable manufacturing is an important activity that informs product development from a life cycle perspective. At the process level, sustainable manufacturing research addresses issues related to planning, analysis and improvement, and the development of processes. At a systems level, sustainable manufacturing research addresses challenges relating to supply chain design, facility design and operations, and production planning. Though economically vital, manufacturing processes and systems have retained the negative image of being inefficient, polluting, and dangerous. Through strategic activities focused on sustainable processes and systems, industrial and academic engineering researchers are re-imagining manufacturing as a source of innovation to meet society’s future needs. Recent research into concepts, methods, and tools for sustainable manufacturing are highlighted at the systems level, and explored more deeply as they relate to discrete manufacturing process development and analysis. Despite recent developments in decision making, and process- and systems-level research, many challenges and opportunities remain. Several of these in manufacturing research, development, implementation, and education are highlighted.

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