Method­ol­ogy could lead to more sus­tain­able manufacturing sys­tems

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH -

En­gi­neers at Ore­gon State Univer­sity have de­vel­oped a new “sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment method­ol­ogy” to help ad­dress a so­cial and reg­u­la­tory de­mand for manufacturing pro­cesses that more ef­fec­tively con­sider their eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial im­pacts.

The work - re­cently pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Cleaner Pro­duc­tion - out­lines a way to help de­sign­ers and manufacturing en­gi­neers care­fully con­sider all the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their de­sign de­ci­sions, and to eval­u­ate the pos­si­ble dif­fer­ent ways that a prod­uct could be built – be­fore it ever hits the as­sem­bly line.

“There’s a lot of de­mand by con­sumers, work­ers and com­pa­nies who want to make progress on the sus­tain­abil­ity of prod­ucts and manufacturing pro­cesses,” said Karl Haa­pala, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor in the OSU Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing.

“There’s usu­ally more than one way to build a part or prod­uct,” he said. “With care­ful anal­y­sis we can iden­tify ways to de­ter­mine which ap­proach may have the least en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, low­est cost, least waste, or other ad­van­tages that make it prefer­able to a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.”

This move­ment evolved more than 20 years ago from an in­ter­na­tional dis­cus­sion at the UN Con­fer­ence on En­vi­ron­ment and De­vel­op­ment, which raised con­cerns about the grow­ing scarcity of wa­ter, de­ple­tion of non­re­new­able sources s of en­ergy, hu­man health prob­lems in n the work­place, and oth­er­her is­sues that can be linked to un­sus­tain­able nsus­tain­able pro­duc­tion pat­terns ns in industry.

The chal­lenge, ex­perts xperts say, is how to con­sider the he well-be­ing of em­ploy­ees, cus­tomers, mers, and the com­mu­nity, all while hile pro­duc­ing a qual­ity prod­uct and stay­ing eco­nom­i­cally com­pet­i­tive. mpet­i­tive. It isn’t easy, and com­pre­hen­sivem­pre­hen­sive mod­els that as­sess s all as­pects of sus­tain­abil­ity are re al­most nonex­is­tent.

To aid that ef­fort,t, OSU re­searchers cre­atedd a new method­ol­ogy in­cor­po­rat­ing rpo­rat­ing unit process mod­el­ling elling and an ex­ist­ing tech­nique que called life-cy­cle in­ven­tory.y. This al­lowed them to quan­tify uan­tify a se­lected set of sus­tain­abil­ity met­rics, and ask real-world ques­tions. Should the prod­uct use a dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial? Would run­ning the pro­duc­tion line faster be worth the ex­tra en­ergy used or im­pact on worker health and safety? Which ap­proach might lead to in­juries and more lost work? How can scrap and waste be min­i­mized? Which de­sign al­ter­na­tive will gen­er­ate the least green­house gas emis­sions?

To il­lus­trate this ap­proach re­searchers used three hy­po­thet­i­cal “bevel gear” al­ter­na­tives, a com­mon part pro­duced in the air­craft and au­to­mo­tive industry. Their six-step sys­tem con­sid­ered en­ergy con­sump­tion, wa­ter use, ef­flu­ent dis­charge, oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety, op­er­at­ing cost, and other fac­tors to eval­u­ate the use of dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als and manufacturing pro­cesses –ul­ti­mately con­clud­ing through math­e­mat­i­cal mod­el­ling which of three pos­si­ble de­signs was the most sus­tain­able.

This work was sup­ported by the Boe­ing Com­pany and the Ore­gon Met­als Ini­tia­tive.

This as­sess­ment ap­proach, when fur­ther re­searched and tested, should be ap­pli­ca­ble to a wide range of prod­ucts dur­ing the de­sign de­ci­sion-mak­ing process, re­searchers said in the study.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.