Research Papers

Integration of Sustainability Into Early Design Through the Function Impact Matrix

[+] Author and Article Information
Srikanth Devanathan

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907dsrikanth@purdue.edu

Devarajan Ramanujan

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907dramanuj@purdue.edu

William Z. Bernstein

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907wbernste@purdue.edu

Fu Zhao

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907fzhao@purdue.edu

Karthik Ramani

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907ramani@purdue.edu

J. Mech. Des 132(8), 081004 (Jul 21, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001890 History: Received June 01, 2009; Revised May 21, 2010; Published July 21, 2010; Online July 21, 2010

The issue of environmental sustainability, which is unprecedented in both magnitude and complexity, presents one of the biggest challenges faced by modern society. Design engineers can make significant contributions by incorporating environmental awareness into product and process development. It is critical that engineers make a paradigm shift in product design from centering on cost and performance to balancing economic, environmental, and societal considerations. Although there have been quite a few designs for environment (or ecodesign) tools developed, so far, these tools have only achieved limited industrial penetration. The present-day methods are either too qualitative to offer concrete solutions and not effective for designers with limited experience or too quantitative, costly, and time consuming. Thus, current ecodesign tools cannot be implemented during the early design phases. This paper develops a novel, semiquantitative ecodesign methodology that is targeted specifically toward the early stages of the design process. The new methodology is a combination of environmental life cycle assessment and visual tools such as quality function deployment, functional-component matrix, and Pugh chart. Since the early design process is function-oriented, a new visual tool called the function impact matrix has been developed to correlate environmental impacts with product function. Redesign of office staplers for reduced carbon footprint has been selected as a case study to demonstrate the use of the proposed approach. Life cycle assessment results confirm that the new stapler design generated using this methodology promotes improved environmental performance.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 7

3D drawings of the new stapler design with the new bottom housing highlighted

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Figure 2

Integration of ecodesign and existing design tools for concept design

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Figure 1

Existing pipeline for estimating environmental impact during product realization

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Figure 6

QFD includes both voice of customers and voice of environment

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Figure 5

Histogram of variation analysis for component-function sharing percentages

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Figure 4

Average contribution of each function to the overall carbon footprint of the stapler

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Figure 3

Approach to integrate LCA into early design through the use of visual tools




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