Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Integrated Manufacturing Process and System Analysis to Assist Sustainable Product Design Public Deposited

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  • Product development in the 21st century requires integrating sustainability performance evaluation with product design and manufacturing activities. A variety of factors, including climate change, public awareness, and increasingly strict regulations have compelled companies to design and manufacture more sustainable products. While the design phase typically accounts for only 5-7% of a product’s cost, 70-80% of product life cycle costs are determined (or locked in) during design, for example due to the consumption of materials and other resources. In addition to financial costs, however, environmental and social costs are similarly set during product design. Thus, the decisions made during the design phase have a significant impact on the life cycle sustainability performance of a product. To improve product sustainability performance, it has been recognized that supply chain and manufacturing activities should be analyzed during the design phase. Supporting methodologies and tools have been developed to aid in evaluating sustainability performance during product design phase. However, these existing methods and tools are often developed for domain experts and not well-suited for educating non-expert decision makers (e.g., engineering students and engineering practitioners), who do not possess specialized knowledge in sustainability analysis of product designs and manufacturing processes, for several reasons. First, relating sustainability information to conceptual product designs is challenging. Second, eco-design software tools often require costly licensing and training, limiting their ease of access. Third, domain expertise (e.g., knowledge of eco-design and manufacturing methods and tools) and extended analysis times are required to produce meaningful results. Thus, the objective of the research presented herein is to facilitate simultaneous analysis of sustainability performance impacts of different manufacturing processes and systems through unit manufacturing process modeling within an easy-to-use, publicly-available product design and manufacturing analysis tool. To achieve the objective of this research, a framework is developed that considers a cradle-to-gate life cycle scope consisting of four phases: (1) product development, (2) supply chain configuration, (3) manufacturing process design, and (4) manufacturing process and system sustainability analysis. To implement this sustainability assessment framework and to address the identified limitations of sustainability assessment tools, a proof-of-concept Manufacturing Process and System (MaPS) Sustainability Analysis Tool is developed. The proof-of-concept tool is implemented as spreadsheet models (MS Excel) comprising four modules, each mapping to a phase of the developed framework. In addition to environmental impacts, the tool can be used to investigate economic and social impacts. These analyses are demonstrated by quantifying energy and associated carbon footprint, the cost of goods sold, and worker safety, respectively. Further, the operational performance of the MaPS Sustainability Analysis Tool was evaluated in terms of ease-of-use and usefulness metrics by undergraduate and graduate engineering students at Tampere University (Finland) and Oregon State University (USA). Study participants found the tool easy-to-use and indicated it would be useful in the task of analyzing the product design, supply chain, and manufacturing process sustainability performance (i.e., environmental, economic, and social impacts). Several opportunities for future work have been identified to build upon the research undertaken as a part of this dissertation. First, the framework developed herein can be expanded to include other phases of the product life cycle. In addition, key software tool operational characteristics and graphical user interfaces should be investigated to improve efficiency, effectiveness, satisfaction, and learnability of the MaPS Sustainability Analysis Tool, especially by engaging broader and more representative groups of users. To improve tool flexibility and functionality, numerical models of different unit manufacturing processes should be developed, validated, and implemented for sustainability assessment of manufacturing process and systems.
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  • This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DUE-1432774 at Oregon State University.
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