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Life Cycle Management and Assessment:

Approaches and Visions Towards Sustainable Manufacturing

(keynote paper)
E. Westkamper (I)*, Alting (I)**, Arndt (I)***
*Institut fur lndustrielle Fertigung und Fabrikbetrieb, Universitat Stuttgart, Germany
**Department of Manufacturing Eng., Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
***Centre for Advanced Manuf. & Industrial Automation, University of Wollongong, Australia
Thinking in terms of product life cycles is one of the challenges facing manufacturers today: efforts to
increase efficiency throughout the life cycle do not only lead to an extended responsibility of the
concerned parties. As a result, economically successful business areas can be explored. Whether new
service concepts are required, new regulations have been passed or consumers values are changing, the
differences between business areas are disappearing. Life Cycle Management (LCM) considers the
product life cycle as a whole and optimizes the interaction of product design, manufacturing and life cycle
activities. The goal of this approach is to protect resources and maximize the effectiveness during usage
by means of Life Cycle Assessment, Product Data Management, Technical Support and last but not least
by Life Cycle Costing. This paper shows the existing approaches of LCM and discusses their visions and
further development.
Keywords: sustainable industrial production, economy and ecology, assessment.
The past two hundred years of industrialization
massive growth in prosperity and manufactured
capital have been achieved. The origins of this
worldview go back centuries, but it took the
industrial revolution to establish it as the primary
economic ideology. Human productive capabilities
began to grow exponentially.
What took two hundred workers in 1770 could be
done by a single spinner in the British textile
industry by 1812. With such astonishingly improved
productivity, the labor force was able to manufacture
a vastly larger volume of basic necessities like cloth
at greatly reduced cost. This in turn rapidly raised
standards of living and real wages, increasing
demand for other products in other industries.
Further technological breakthroughs pro life rated,
and as industry after industry became mechanized,
leading to even lower prices and higher incomes, all
of these factors fueled a self-sustaining and
increasing demand for transportation, housing,
education, clothing, and other goods, creating the
foundation of modern commerce [I].
Today weve confronted with typical five critical
1. a rising consumption of natural resources,
2. the dramatic increase of world-population,
3. environmental impacts i.e. limited natural
resources (energy, materials),
4. global communication networks based on
standards and
5. an unstoppable worldwide globalization.
Especially the Mega trend of globalization is
accelerated by new technologies such in information
and communication. Simultaneous they are a
chance to maximize the use of technical products.
Using the system dynamics model created by
engineer Dr. J ay Forrester, professor at the Sloan
School of Management at MIT, the authors
predicted that, sometime in the next hundred years,
if then-current trends in population growth,
industrialization, and resource depletion continued
unchanged, the world would face actual physical
limits to growth [I].
Figure 1 : Demand for Life Cycle Management
Production in our understanding covers all phases in
the life of technical products: Manufacturing, Usage
and Service and Recycling. To reduce the above
mentioned problems with contributions of the
production engineering new orientations and
paradigms are required, which can support the
defuse of the defiances. This can be on the one
side the use of New Technologies and on the other
side new methods for managing technical products
in their hole life. This paper shows the existing
approaches of Life Cycle Management and
discusses their visions and further development.
The goal of this approach is to protect resources
and maximize the effectiveness during usage of
technical products.
2.1 Limits of Natural Resources
In its report The Limits of Growth of 1972, the Club
of Rome documented the exponential increase of
the worlds population and subsequently of the
natural resources which they predicted to be running
low [2]. Although part of the forecast was taken back
in their latest report The New Limits of Growth of
1992, the problem is still evident [3].
On the assumption that consumption remains
constant, oil is going to run short in about 40 years,
natural gas in 60 years and coal in 185 years (see
Figure 2).
the most frequently discussed anthropogenic effects
(Figure 3). Although the regional impacts of the
climate change are not to be anticipated, the
predominantly majority of climatologic experts
confirms that action is needed today to minimize the
anthropogenic climate change.
The Kyoto Protocol commits the Parties to
individual, legally-binding targets to reduce their
greenhouse gas emissions by the period 2008-
2012, adding up to a total cut of at least 5% from
1990 levels [4].
Figure 3: Global Temperature Changes (1861 - 1996)
Source: IPCC, 1995, updated [5].
The share of carbon dioxide emissions of different
sectors are shown in Figure 4.
Figure 2: Reach of important resources. Source:
Bundesanstalt fur Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe
(BGR), 1998
The limits of natural resources are related to the
limited ability of the environment to absorb material
streams without being harmed. The latter depends
on the quality and quantity of the material streams
and on the rate of their immissions. Substances
affecting the global environment as well as
persistent substances which accumulate in the
environment are today considered to be the most
harmful ones to the environment.
Primary resources are required to provide for the
input of material needed for the manufacture of
technical products. To reduce the impact on the
environment, secondary resources including
refurbished parts and recycled materials can be
used. Therefore its necessary to close the material
2.2 Influencing the Environment
Global warming, which is caused by the emission of
carbon dioxide and other relevant gases, is one of
Figure 4: European Emissions of carbon dioxide in
different sectors. Source: Air Pollution Corinair 1990
inventory, Environmental statistics 1996, European Union
However, in comparison to the natural flows of
carbon and its substances, the anthropogenic
amount of carbon dioxide is low. The anthropogenic
flow of industrial materials often exceed their natural
circulation by far. Comparing the natural flow of
Nickel, an important technical material, through
environment with its circulation caused by industrial
processes results in a twenty-fold increase of
movement. Despite this ratio, the concentration of
Nickel used in industry exceeds fifty %, while its
natural concentration seldom exceeds five %.
2.3 Increasing World Population
Nearly ten thousand new people arriving on earth
every hour [I].
The Population Division of the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs has finalized the 1998
Revision of the official United Nations world
population estimates and projections. These
population estimates and projections provide the
standard and consistent set of population figures
that are used throughout the United Nations system
as the basis for activities requiring population
Below are some of the highlights of these world
population estimates and projections.
- World population currently stands at 5.9 billion
persons and is growing at 1.33 per cent per
year, or an annual net addition of 78 million
people. World population in the mid 21st
century is expected to be in the range of 7.3 to
10.7 billion. The medium-fertility projection,
which is usually considered as most likely,
indicates that world population will reach 8.9
billion in 2050.
- The world population reached the 6 billion mark
in 1999 [6].
Past estimates and medium-, high- and low fertility
variants of World population size is shown in Figure
Figure 5: World population size: past estimates and
medium-, high- and low fertility variants, 1950-2050
(billions). Source: United Nations Population Division,
World Population Prospects: The 1998 Revision,
forthcoming [6].
Production and consumption of technical products in
the world may follow the worlds population. But
there is a lack in production as a base of welfare
and consumption between the industrialized
countries and the rest of the world. Under the
influence of globalization of the markets for technical
products, the fast exchange of technical knowledge
and economic interests, there may be a strong
growing volume of industrial manufactured products
and the consumption of natural resources as well as
environmental impacts.
2.4 Necessity for a Sustainable Development -
Thinking in Terms of Product Life Cycles
Life cycle management organizes the interaction of
the life cycle partners to achieve the maximum
benefit from each technical product. The three main
fields influencing the activities of the partners are
environment, regulations and standards, as well as
the constraints of economy. To achieve the best
practice, the partners have to cooperate and tap into
the know-how of all parties at all life cycle stages.
To minimize the risks and to secure the maximum
result, all of them should be part of the value adding
processes depending on the extent of the value they
The present industrial production and consumption
culture will experience changes such as increasing
manufacturer responsibility, pollution and waste
problems, and non-renewable resource
consumption [8]. The term sustainability is often
used to cover environmental issues. It was first
defined in the Brundtland report [9]:
Sustainable development meets the needs of the
present without compromising the abilities of future
generations to meet their own needs.
Seamann [lo] concentrates on three
responsibilities: the economic, social/societal and
environmental responsibility. Accordingly, the term
sustainable product design means to reduce
environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of
products by maintaining the companys position on
the market and its place in society.
Making the entire product life cycle part of the
manufacturers responsibility or incorporating it into
regulations is part of the development towards
environmental protection. Environmental protection
became part of legislative initiatives when
environmental media as well as different industries
recognized the problem shifting. In Europe and Asia
regulations are becoming legally effective burdening
the manufacturer with the responsibility for the
complete life cycle of a product including the taking
back and recycling of products. To support the
product stewardship and to enforce environment-
friendly product life cycles the automotive, appliance
and electronic industries are forced by law or are
preparing them in advance to take back and recycle
their products. Only recently, the automotive and
electronic industries in Germany have voluntarily
committed themselves to fulfill these obligations.
Figure 6: Development of initiatives and regulations of
environmental protection
The Technical Committee 207 of the International
Standardization Organization (ISO) has published
several guidelines and standards for product and
production integrated environmental management.
The guidelines for Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) are
the first ones to recognize nation-wide the
optimization of the product life cycle as one of
todays challenging tasks.
Applying the life cycle to living creatures is an easy-
to-understand concept which could be described as
from womb to tomb [7]. Applying the same life cycle
concept to man-made artifacts such as material
products gives rise to the question as to what should
be the starting point of the product life and what
should be the end of the life. The most important
stages of the product life cycle are manufacturing,
servicehsage and recyclingheuse. To maximize the
products performance, the life cycle has to be
managed by use of rational methodologies.
3.1 Industrial Manufacturing of sustainable products
On the way to sustainable development sustainable
products are necessary. The power supply area
shows already a structural change, which will also
affect manufacturing engineering:
reduction of energy consumption in
manufacturing, usage and recycling
- manufacturing technologies and
systems for new (e.9. power supply)
There are a lot of new environmental-friendly
Product-Technologies in early phases of the s-
curve (Fig 9), which require industrialization: like the
solar energies or fuel cells.
Fuel Cells, in which the hydrogen is provided on a
regenerative way, are one of the big future
technologies. Fuel cell cars might have a share of
the US market in 2010 of almost 4% with 608,000
cars. The share can even reach 7.6% (1,215,000
cars). 80% of them will be running on a Proton
Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC). Already
2003 or 2004 there will be some 10,000 of them
around. These are the key statements of a new
study by Allied Business Intelligence. The greatest
challenge is to industrialize the manufacturing
processes and decrease the costs to a level suitable
for mass production and lower than competitive
For a massive breakthrough of new technologies
entirely new manufacturing technologies will be
necessary to enable cost-effective (mass-)
production. Their powers run of the known s-curve
shown in figure 9.
Figure 7: International standard of environmental
Life cycle integration tools and regulations help to
optimize the ecological effectiveness of products. As
these effects are compensated by higher
consumption, initiatives like Agenda 21 or eco-taxes
try to regulate the life cycle perspective in order to
minimize ecological effects related to every day life.
The international standards for environmental
management are based on a holistic view of
products life cycle.
The foresight of all this influencing factors includes
unknown future developments in all areas. But
based on to days economy and paradigms it is
evident that industrial manufacturers have to change
their objectives. They are confronted with political
decisions and increasing regulations on one side.
On the other side there are new potentials for
activation of value. The manufacturing industries
have the potential for change and the responsibility
for the development of a sustainable production as it
is summarized in fig. 8.
New Paradigm: Optimization of the Product Life Cycle
Figure 8: New Paradigm for industrial Manufacturing
There is the necessity to change the traditional
objectives of manufacturing. Over hundred years
industrial manufacturing was driven by increasing
efficiency of the manufacturing resources (Material,
Machine, Energy, Personal) and reduction of costs.
Even in the future we have to reduce the costs and
to increase the efficiency of resources but we have
to take into account the whole product life cycle and
the reduction of the consumption of the natural
resources and impacts on the environment in the
industrial manufacturing, usage and recycling.
Industrial First Series
Manufacturing Products with
of Solar Cells fuel cells
Figure 9: Effectiveness of new technologies
dependence on time
Task of manufacturing engineering in terms of
sustainable development is therefore to push the
necessary industrialization. This pertains the
processes itself, a high level of automation and the
necessary manufacturing technologies for it.
The relevant industries are on the way to series
production and in some cases they realized new
factories or are in planning the manufacturing for
this products. There is a demand for manufacturing
R&D to support this developments by basics.
It could be a strategy to increase the life time of
technical products. This would be of course in
opposite to the technical innovations. Of course the
life time of products is now longer than years before.
Its the consequence of better understanding of
wear and critical influencing factors and new
modern products. But this is limited by the fact of
permanent technical innovation.
3.3 Application of New Technologies due to Product
The effectiveness of a technical product is closely
linked to the technical progress and also to the use
of specific know-how for operation (choice of tools,
adjustments, etc.). To enable longevity, the
possibility for permanent upgrading has to be
ensured including product operation at the limit of
robust processes and system control. The crucial
factors are mainly determined by the possibilities to
exchange information and apply knowledge, and
less by the mechanical design of the system [I I ].
3.2 Life time
A different point of view is needed today to evaluate
a products life, making the length of product life the
most important factor. The product life span
compared to the technical progress has to be
suitably and correctly interpreted. To this end the
resources have to be used more effectively and the
processes need to be optimized.
Figure 11: Duration of product life versus technical
After the start of usage wear and attrition reduces
the effectiveness of technical products as illustrated
in the lower part of Fig.11. Technical development
and innovations as well as new technologies
increase the lack of effectiveness between used and
new products. This conflict of loosing costs of
opportunity has to be solved by the live cycle
management taking into account possibilities for
upcycling and changing the utilization and based on
a permanent supervision of the efectiveness.
Figure 10: Phases of life cycle of some typical products
The Figure presents the life cycles of typical
products. The four examples show the differences in
the duration of life time of single life cycle stages. A
manufacturing system can be operated up to twenty
years if the technical possibilities for the
compensation of attrition are applied. Accordingly,
one fact becomes clear: the duration of life cycle
stages, in particular the usage and the end stages of
life, is determined by the product structure and
particularly by the management of the life cycle
The increasing quality of products allowed
substantial higher utilization of technical products.
Automobiles usage time is increasing in fact. Even
manufacturing systems allow much higher life
utilization than years before. Own investigations on
the life time utilization of machining centers had the
result of nearly doubling hours of effective use. This
may be an indicator for economic potentials of
3.4 Modeling the Product Life Cycle
There have been defined different Models for the
Product Life Cycle. In the industrialized view of
technical products the main processes are:
engineering, production with regard to the market
requirements. Usage and the phases of
deproduction, repair and maintenance, reuse and
remanufacturing are to develop.
Figure 12: Cycles of material and information flow
When reviewing the requirements for a life cycle
management, the needs of the analyst may vary
somewhat depending on the specific phase in the
life cycle of the products.
To day we are able to model different processes in
the life cycle of products
- Engineering: Analysis of technical functions
- Manufacturing: Optimization of processes and
- Usage: Technical behavior and utilization rates
In the last few years the environmental focus in
industry and legislation has shifted from production
processes to products and their life cycles. The
demands regarding efficiency, quality and
environmentally sound manufacturing, usage and
disposal of modern products are further increasing.
The responsibility of the producer to support the
usage of robust processes and to observe
environmental regulations and restrictions during the
life cycle stages of manufacturing, usage and
disposal are intensifying [7], [13], [14]. A classic
example being the requirements of waste
management, which have become influencing
factors in the design of products and processes.
3.5 Added Value in the Life Cycle
For the above-mentioned reasons, a change of
interest occurs regarding the optimization of costs
and revenues in the product life cycle. Tasks
deriving from this change are the assessment and
accounting of the life cycle costs and benefits on the
basis of the allocation of costs within the three
stages manufacturing, usage and service and
recycling and reuse.
The manufacturing phase includes costs for
engineering, material, manufacturing, sales and
procurement as well as a benefit determined by the
purchase price. It is evident that the value of
products during the manufacturing phase is
increasing on the starting point of cost for materials.
A first evaluation is made by fixing the price. After
starting the usage phase there is a first strong loss
for wear and attrition. During this phase the total
value can be summarized as illustrated in fig. 13.
Losses in wear and attrition are to reactivate by
means of upgrading and service. The normal usage
and has to be supported by knowledge to activate
more utilization potentials.
The product life cycle offers a number of
opportunities to reduce costs or even to increase
utilization and effectiveness of products during their
usage phase. The producer participates in activities
during both usage and support phases. Due to the
latter, the accompanying follow-up costs caused by
usage, service and disposal or recycling activities,
etc. are increasing. At the same time, however, new
and potentially successful economic business areas
can be explored. Accordingly, it is getting more and
more important to increase the benefit in life cycle.
Companies expand their After Sales Business to
activate potentials in the manufacturer-customer
relation with benefits for both:
the user has the professional
support by the customer
the manufacturer has a close
relationship for customer demands
and profit for his service
The offers of companies and especially in the area
of machines are driven by so called user models
in which the manufacturer offers not the machine or
the technical product but only the functional usage
based on his technological know how.
Added Val ue of Techni cal Pr oduct s
Added Val ue
* New Technologies
* Service
*Technical Support
T TI T, T, Time
use and support
Figure 13: The stages of value creation in the product life
The physical products are in this models owned by
the manufacturer. There are between the fully
operation by the customer and the manufacturer
many different solutions like Teleservice or service
consutancy which offer benefits and added value for
both. Of course many question in the adding value
are open. But Manufacturers have learned to
calculate cost and benefit. The aim must be an
economic product life cycle with an effective use of
resources regarding material, knowledge and
capacity for work. This optimization inevitably
follows the rules of a sustainable industrial
production and is based on the life cycle of
3.6 Taking Environmental Aspects into Account
The entire industrial ecosystem will be covered, if
every material and energy source used in the
products life cycle is to be considered, including the
products reuse, remanufacturing and recovery of
materials and energy. Moreover, the harmful effects
of emissions and waste dumped into nature due to
the manufacturing process, use and disposal of
products have to be assessed.
Figure 15: Application of LCM methodologies
Figurel4: Phases, processes and criteria of the product
life cycle [I21
To ensure their future survival, industrial companies
must understand the value criteria of different
interest groups (share holders, customers,
suppliers, employees, local community, national,
international) and learn to communicate accordingly
[ 7] . In the last few years, the environmental focus in
industry and legislation has shifted from production
processes to products in their life cycle. This is due
to the fact that minimizing environmental effects in a
life cycle phase may increase pollution in another
and lead to the necessity of minimizing the overall
environmental effects of our product consumption.
Life Cycle Management (LCM) considers the
product life cycle in a holistic way with the aim of
achieving the products maximum performance. Life
Cycle Engineering (LCE), Technical Support, Life
Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC),
and last but not least Product Data Management
(PDM) are means to accomplish the protection of
resources and maximize the effectiveness of usage.
The purpose of LCE is to design products in
compliance with the key issues of sustainable
development. The most efficient use of modern
technical products demands the knowledge and
know-how of the manufacturer while making use of
Technical Support i .e . modern com mu nicat ion
networks, teleservice and teleoperations. To
discover the potentials for ecological improvement,
LCA uses data of the physical product life cycle for
evaluation. The life cycle assessment provides
quantitative basic data for a sustainable product and
process management in accordance with public
pressure and, last but not least, economical
constraints [ 5] . All these activities must follow the
law of maximum economy. LCC assesses not only
the life time but also the costs of operation and other
costs more efficiently but also leads to higher
economic effects. According to the current common
agreement, cost-efficient solutions should also be
environmentally sound. Nevertheless, LCC and LCA
are still used independently. The main reason being
the history and the different dimensions of the two
concepts. However, their integrated application
would lead to a great reduction of cost and required
Precise data of high evidence are the prerequisite
for life cycle activities and for assessing ecological
and economical aspects. PDM throughout the whole
life cycle supports short access time and less
redundancy if a well organized and structured field
of data provision is realized.
As researchers of the University of Stuttgart has
shown, Life Cycle Management must be divided in
four spheres of activities as depicted in Figure .
Figure 16: Fields of activities in Life Cycle Management
The fields Design for Life Cycle (DFL), Life Cycle
Evaluation (LCE), Life Time Management (LTM)
and Product Cycle Management (PCM) result from
the evaluation of existing Life Cycle Management
methods and tools and depend on their contribution
as well as their moment of use in the product life
cycle. Industry today shows an increasing interest in
this classification and especially in the development
of methods and tools which can be implemented in
their business activities. Thus, the four topics will be
discussed in detail as relevant high-potential fields
for research activities in the following paragraphs.
The Benefit of a Life Cycle Management
Today, the ecological and economical optimization
of products often has different incentives, as the
perspective of the system product is differently
defined. While ecological optimization includes all
life cycle stages of the product, an economical
optimization is often limited to the responsibility of
the manufacturer.
Life Cycle Management extends the efficiency of
products to the entire life cycle. Minimized overall
cost as well as maximized benefits are congruent
with minimized ecological impacts through
maximized functionality. This corresponds with the
idea of sustainability. LCM is thus a precondition for
a sustainable development.
Once the appropriate infrastructure has been set up
and the right strategy has been developed, the
potential benefits of the Life Cycle Engineering for
all partners in the product life cycle, e.g. the
manufacturer, the buyer or operator and the
recycler, are enormous. Life Cycle Management
offers the advantage of reduced expenses through
the avoidance of unnecessary processes. At the
same time, the processes are more life cycle
oriented and more flexible and the performance of
the product increases.
The development of life cycle management will
focus on the reduction of time needed and of costs
for tools. Thus, decisions during the product
development and the usage can be made quicker.
Having this in mind, the integrated application of
tools such as life cycle cost accountings and life
cycle assessments can essentially contribute to the
minimization of expenses and, thus, facilitate the
development of sustainable products.
4.1 Life Cycle Assessment
Life cycle assessment is a methodology for
assessing the environmental impacts and resource
consumption associated with the existence of
products throughout their entire life cycle - from
cradle to grave, from the extraction of resources
over production, distribution and use to disposal and
History of life cycle assessmeni
At the onset of environmental assessment of
products back in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
the life cycle assessment methodology was
developed with strong inspiration from the already
existing substance flow analysis. The first studies
applying a life cycle perspective on a process
system took place in the USA, focusing on
environmental impacts from different types of
beverage containers [15]. The name used for the
assessment technique then was Resource and
Environmental Profile Analysis (REPA).
Environmental awareness at that time was heavily
influenced by the strong focus on resource depletion
presented a few years earlier by the report: Limits to
growth to the Club of Rome [2] and by the
experience of the first global oil crisis in 1973.
Furthermore, the knowledge of the environmental
consequences of anthropogenic activities was still
too rudimentary to allow a quantitative assessment
of the impacts caused by the emissions from the
product system. The focus in REPA was thus mainly
on the consumption of energy and other resources.
The concept of environmental assessment of
products lead a quiet life throughout most of the
1970s but experienced a revival in the mid 1980s
when much public attention in Europe was directed
at the extensive use of resources for packaging of
products. Several national studies were performed
of the resource consumption and environmental
emissions for different beverage container systems
(such as beer cans and milk containers) in various
European countries [16], [17], [18]. This is a subject
that still attracts quite some LCA-activity today. In
some of these packaging studies, it proved difficult
to obtain reproducible results and conclusions. The
same question sometimes received opposite
answers when examined by different researchers.
The reason was that data and methods applied
varied at crucial points between the different
studies. This was unsatisfactory, and it spurred a
more systematic development of the methodological
basis for the environmental assessment of products.
From the end of the 1980s up till today, interest and
activity in life cycle assessment has grown very
strongly, and an increasing number of different and
often very complex products and systems have
been assessed. The last decade of the 20th century
has thus seen the emergence of a strong interest in
the environmental impacts associated with the
products that surround us and by which we obtain
the many services that our civilization relies upon.
This interest has been accompanied by the
development of methods for environmental
assessment of products [19], [20], [21], [22], [23].
Overviews and summaries of published LCA studies
may be found in [24], [25], [26].
International development and harmonization of
LCA methodology
Accompanying the growing activity within the field of
life cycle assessment, much attention has been paid
to the development and harmonization of a sound
methodological basis. The international scientific
society of environmental chemists, SETAC (Society
of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) started
work on life cycle assessments in 1990, and has
since then been the international forum for
discussion of the methodological basis of the LCA.
Although the discipline was still young and under
development, the development of international
standards for life cycle assessment was initiated in
1993 under the auspices of the International
Standards Organisation (ISO). A general standard
for the LCA area with IS0 number 14040 was
issued in 1997, and more detailed standards for the
different phases of the LCA are in a process of
adoption these years. The standards deal with:
- 14040: Principles and framework - issued 1997
- 14041: Goal and scope definition, inventory
analysis - issued 1998
- 14042: Life cycle impact assessment - draft
international standard (end 1999)
- 14043: Life cycle interpretation - draft
international standard (end 1999)
. Identification of
potentials for
products and processe
. Support of the
decision making
in the purchasing
. Creation of
environment ratios
. Ecology-oriented
. Maketing
Characteristic features of LCA
Life cycle assessment is distinct from other
environmental analytical techniques in various
aspects. The most prominent characteristic features
of LCA are listed below.
Focus on functions
The object of a life cycle assessment is the
fulfillment of a certain function and the product that
is studied is defined by what is needed to fulfill this
function. In practice, life cycle assessment is most
often environmental assessment of products and as
such its object is all the processes that are needed
for the product to run through its life cycle from
cradle to grave. Here lies an important difference
from other environmental assessment schemes like
environmental risk assessment of chemicals (ERA)
or environmental impact assessment of major
human activities like construction works (EIA) which
focus on individual processes or groups of
processes confined in space and time.
Raw W
materials m A A
Figure 17: Life cycle of a product. Transportation
processes are shown by a circumscribed T, waste
treatment processes are shown by a circumscribed W.
Holistic in time and space
This agglomeration of processes, often separated
from each other in time as well as in space, is
referred to as the product system. A product system
will often be global in the sense that it includes
processes, typically in the use or disposal stage,
that can take place in any part of the world. It may
also span over decades or even centuries from the
onset of the first resource extraction processes to
last emissions from the land filling of waste. The
environmental impacts attributed to the product will
thus often be aggregated over both time and space.
Holistic in environmental impacts covered
The holistic nature of LCA is also extended to its
environmental assessment element. In principle, it
attempts to cover the product or services
contributions to all environmental impacts which are
recognized as being of significance today. In
addition, impacts on the resources and sometimes
also the working environment are included as
assessment parameters.
Potential impacts rather than effects
It follows from the characteristics of LCA presented
in previous sections, that the impacts on
environment, resource base and working
environment that are calculated for the product
system are potential impacts. Whether they result in
actual impacts and effects depends on if, how,
where and when the individual processes of the
product system are drawn upon in the life course of
the product.
LCA i s for comparisons
The focus on the product and its somewhat fictitious
product system and the aggregation of impacts over
time and space makes the results of an LCA difficult
to interpret in absolute terms. LCA is developed and
used for comparative analysis of alternatives - is
there any environmental difference between A and
B and how large is it?
Phases of LCA
In accordance with the present consensus within
SETAC and in agreement with the current I S0
14040 standard, the life cycle assessment consists
of the following phases:
Figure 17: The general framework of life cycle
assessment according to I S0 14040.
Iterative procedure
Although described as consisting of four
consecutive phases, life cycle assessment is an
iterative procedure where experience gathered in a
later phase may serve as feedback leading to
modification of one or more earlier phases.
Normally, a screening LCA is performed first to
identify the most important elements of the product
system, the main environmental impacts and the
most decisive assumptions in the scope definition.
The screening is followed by more detailed analysis
of the identified key figures of the LCA.
Goal and scope definition
For the later interpretation of the LCA results, it is
essential that the decisions which determine what
kind of LCA is performed, defining the scope of the
study, be explicitly stated in the assessment report.
Any LCA report should start with an explicit
declaration of the goal and scope of the study.
The goal definition describes the purpose of the
study and the decision process to which it shall
provide input of environmental information. The
definition of the goal serves in the later interpretation
to qualify what types of questions the results of the
LCA can be used for answering and, inherently,
what types of questions it cannot answer. The scope
of the study must also be defined as regards the
object of the study - the functional unit, the product
system, the criteria on which the assessment shall
be based, the time scale of the study, the
technological scope and principles for allocation of
dividing environmental impacts from processes with
multiple outputs
Inventory analysis
For each of the processes that have been identified
as pertaining to the product system during scope
definition, information is collected on the input and
output (environmental exchanges) and possibly on
the internal interactions with an operator if working
environment is to be included in the impact
assessment. In general, the collection of data is
based on mass balances for the process over a
longer period of time. It is important to ensure in this
way that the data is representative of the average
functioning of the process and that irregularities in
the service like start-up and closure, cleaning of
equipment etc. are included. The data is reported as
the process environmental exchanges per
functional unit. In the reporting of the inventory, the
exchanges are generally aggregated and presented
for the different life cycle stages as well as for the
entire life cycle.
Life cycle impact assessment
For the life cycle assessment to be able to support
decisions, the data in the inventory must be
interpreted. The interpretation must be based on the
available background knowledge of the
environment, resources and working environment,
and it must show which of the exchanges are
significant through their impacts and potential
effects on the protection areas, and how great their
contributions can be. It is the task of the impact
assessment phase to interpret the inventory results
into potential impacts on what is referred to as the
protection areas of the LCA, i.e. the entities that
we want to protect by performing and using the
LCA, i.e. human health, ecosystem health and the
resource base.
The impact assessment phase of LCA normally
proceeds through four steps:
- Classification where the impact categories are
defined and the exchanges from the inventory are
assigned to impact categories reflecting their ability
to contribute to different problem areas (what is the
problem for this environmental exchange?).
- Characterization where the contribution(s) of
each exchange is modeled quantitatively and the
contributions aggregated within each impact
category converting the classified inventory into a
profile of environmental impact potentials, resource
consumptions and possibly working environment
impact potentials (how big is the problem?).
- Normalization where the different impact
potentials and resource consumptions are
expressed on a common scale through relating
them to a common reference, in order to facilitate
comparisons across impact categories (is that
- Weighting where weights are assigned to the
different impact categories and resource
consumptions reflecting the relative importance they
are assigned in this study in accordance with the
goal of the study (is it important?)
In the interpretation phase of life cycle assessment
the results are interpreted along the lines of the
defined goal and in accordance with the limitations
defined by the scope of the study. Sensitivity
analyses are performed and the outcome of the
interpretation serves as recommendation to the
decision makers, who will normally weigh it against
other decision criteria (like economic and social
Reporting and critical review
Product systems are often very complex systems
and apart from this complexity, life cycle
assessment involves a series of choices and
assumptions that may render the outcome dubious
or at least intransparent to people outside the study.
It is therefore a requirement from both SETAC and
I S0 that there shall be a transparent and sufficiently
detailed presentation of results, data, methods used,
assumptions made and inherent limitations of the
study to allow the reader to understand the
complexities and trade-offs inherent in the study.
Apart from this it is recommended, and for some
applications required, that a critical review of the
study be performed by an independent third party.
The review can be performed either after the study
is finalized or during the study in interaction with the
group doing the LCA study. The review report must
be included in the reporting of the life cycle
Industrial applications (elements of life cycle
Throughout the history of LCA and up till today,
industrys principal application of LCA has been as a
decision support tool in the development of new
products [27], [28], [29], [30], [31]. The use of the
tool in product development serves the purpose on
the one side of creating an overview of the
environmental impacts from the existing product or
product range and identifying the environmental
hotspots - those processes or activities that cause
the main impacts in a life cycle perspective. On the
other side LCA is used for comparing alternative
solutions in the development of the new product and
for making "what-if" simulations to help decide which
product changes are preferred from an
environmental point of view.
As one of the largest projects of its kind, the EDlP
project (Environmental Design of Industrial
products) was performed at the Technical University
of Denmark in collaboration with five major Danish
industrial companies, the Confederation of Danish
Industries and the Environmental Protection Agency
from 1991-1996. The EDlP project combined the
development of LCA methodology with the
adaptation for use in product development within the
electromechanical field [33], [34], [35]. A general
conclusion based is that success in integrating
environmental considerations in product
development requires participation of two types of
- product development expertise managing the
product development process and integrating the
environmental priorities among the other priorities
- life cycle assessment expertise identifying and
quantifying the environmental impacts throughout
the life cycle of the product and assessing the
improvements obtained through different design
These skills may be working interactively together or
the work of the environmental specialist may be
done off-line in relation to the development process
depending on the scope and the ambitions of the
project. The conclusion is supported by similar work
at other departments [36], [37].
Another important point is that the integration of
environmental considerations must find its place
among the many other priorities considered in the
development of a new product.
Durability I
Product development
- Technology
- entire life cycle
costs / u
Standards f t
Legislation - all relevant impacts
Figure 18: The environmental performance of the product
must find its place among many other priorities in the
prod u ct development process .
Even from an environmental point of view, the
environmental performance of the product should
not be weighted more strongly than to the extent
that it contributes to the competitive ability of the
product. After all, no reduction in the stress on the
environment is obtained unless the product sells
and replaces other, less environmentally sound
products in the market.
Like other tools, LCA must be adapted according to
the resources and requirements for the application,
it serves in the industry. A number of researchers
within manufacturing engineering have developed
different adaptations of the tool for materials and
processes. Good examples are [37], [38], [39]. At
the Technical University of Denmark, three different
approaches to the use of LCA in product
development have been developed.
EDlP -t he detailed interactive approach
The necessity of the dual expertise when integrating
environmental considerations into new products
resulted in deliverables of the EDlP program aimed
at two different target groups: the environmental
specialist [23], [34] and the product developer [40].
In EDIP, generalized paradigms and schemes were
developed for the interaction between the two
groups at different points of the product
development process supplemented by a collection
of case studies covering a range of
electromechanical products to serve as examples
and inspiration [23].
Before the onset of the development project a
detailed life cycle assessment is performed for one
or more reference products - existing products
chosen to represent processes (technologies and
materials) in the life cycle of the new product. A
database covering the major part of the life cycle of
the new product is thus compiled in advance giving
the environmental specialist of the development
team a good understanding of the environmental
aspects potentially involved in the new product. The
life cycle assessment of the reference products
helps the development team to focus on the
environmental hot spots of the product life - those
characteristics of the product that cause the most
significant contributions to the overall environmental
loading from the product. Obviously, this is vital
knowledge in the specification of a new and more
environmentally friendly version of the product. The
database developed on the reference products is
built into the EDlP PC-tool which also contained a
modeling- and an impact assessment module [41].
With this tool the environmental specialist can model
the product life cycle and simulate the
environmental consequences of changes. These
tools enabled the environmental specialist to provide
quick answers to most of the questions emerging
from the product development process - mainly
questions regarding improvement potentials:
- how much better is it? Is the improvement
significant in an overall product perspective?
how much is it theoretically possible to attain (how
far are we from the theoretical limits)?
An example of the use of the EDlP PC-tool is shown
in Figure.
The thorough life cycle assessment allows very
detailed changes to be assessed and when the
product is ready for the market it provides
documentation of the environmental improvements
that have been obtained. This information is useful
which solution is the best here, A, B or C?
for claims in marketing, for environmental
declarations and for obtaining ecolabels for the new
Figure 19: Environmental impact profile comparing two
alternative ways of producing the same component by the
EDlP PC-tool. Also working environment and resource
profiles are generated for the comparison.
For strategic company purposes, the developed
product model also allows very easy simulations of
changes in some of the conditions of the products
life cycle:
- what does it mean if the export is re-oriented
towards other markets (with different energy
generation and disposal systems)?
- what will happen if we choose to take the
product back after ended use?
The MECO approach - simplification through
The full EDlP approach is time-consuming and
when establishing the environmental basis for
design choices it is hence useful to start the
exercise with a one-page qualitative LCA to focus
the further work. The MECO approach was
developed in the EDlP program [23] as a tool for
simplification and structuring (inspired by other
similar approaches e.g.[35]). The four letters in the
MECO acronym are chosen to cover aspects in the
products life cycle that are directly influenced by
decisions made by the product developer and that
together represent all causes of environmental
impacts along the life cycle. M stands for Materials,
E for Energy, C for Chemicals and 0 for Other
aspects (like life time of the product and risk of
accidents in the working environment). Along the
other axis are the stages of the products life cycle
as Extraction of raw materials, Manufacturing, Use
and Disposal.
In the comparison of two alternatives, each life cycle
stage is analyzed qualitatively for all four aspects to
reveal if any significant differences can be expected
between the two alternatives. Anticipated
differences are noted in the relevant cell. Unless the
alternatives differ widely in choice of technology and
materials, most of the cells will normally be empty
(i.e. no significant difference is expected). Indeed,
sometimes the MECO analysis alone will provide
sufficient basis for making the decision. Then, the
environmentally best alternative can be chosen from
qualitative knowledge of the life cycles alone.
However, often there are trade-offs i.e. situations
where alternative A seems better in some aspects
or life cycle stages and alternative B seems better in
other. When this is the case no decision can be
made from the MECO results alone but the analysis
has helped identify those parts of the life cycle
where differences occur. This knowledge can be
used in two different ways:
It identifies those aspects where alternative 6 is
environmentally inferior to alternative A. If other
arguments favor alternative B, the design team may focus
their attention on the identified aspects of the life cycle to
see whether alternative B can be improved here to match
alternative A also in the environmental performance.
A more detailed environmental assessment as
described under Section 2.1 is required to support the
decision but it can now be limited to those parts of the life
cycle where differences occur and the total work load thus
reduced considerably.
The merits of the MECO approach is that
it forces the development team to think through the full
life cycle of the alternatives
it covers all environmental and resource impacts
through the causing agents: material choices, choice of
energy requirements and choice of chemical use along
the life cycle
yet it is simple and quick and excellent for creating an
Simplifying through generalizing - the product
family approach
Many small and medium sized companies do not
have environmental specialists in-house to enter the
product development team. Here, the cost of the
detailed interactive approach may be prohibitive for
an environmental effort in product development.
For these companies a product-family approach is
developed in collaboration with the Confederation of
Danish Industries and the Danish Environmental
Protection Agency applying the detailed EDlP life
cycle assessment method to one or more generic
(reference) products representative for the product
family. A product family, here, is operationally
defined as a group of products which are so similar
in their environmental characteristics that those
environmental design recommendations that can be
given for the group as a whole are sufficiently
specific and detailed to be of real value to the
product development process. Examples of product
families are ventilation systems, light fittings and
vacuum cleaners. The results of the assessment are
used for identifying the environmental improvement
potentials and priorities for the products belonging to
the family.
In the product-family approach focus will be on the
most important environmental impacts from the life
cycle. The recommendations will in general be less
specific than in the detailed interactive approach
described earlier but they will be available for many
companies that otherwise would be prevented from
undertaking an environmental design process.
Though the results for the individual product may be
less far-reaching it is thus anticipated that at a
societal level, application of the product family
approach will create at least as large environmental
improvements as the detailed approach.
Apart from the product development function, the
Product family project may also create
recommendations to other actors within the
products life cycle, notably authorities responsible
for the legislation surrounding the product and for
the systems through which the product will
ultimately be disposed.
Other industrial applications
With the life cycle perspective on the product it is
obvious for a company to start looking more at the
environmental performance of other actors of the
product chain - the suppliers of components and
materials, the actors responsible of the distribution
and sale of the product, the customer and user of
the product and the operators of the waste
treatment system that will eventually dispose of the
product and possibly recycle parts hereof. In some
companies, later years have thus seen the
propagation of the life cycle perspective from
product development to most of the other activities
undertaken by the company and several industries
are now working on an integration of the life cycle
perspective in their environmental management
system. Examples of environmental reporting on the
companys activities and responsibilities in a life
cycle perspective are given by [42] (moulded paper
products), [43] (pharmaceuticals and enzymes), [44]
(insulation products) and [45], (electrical
Administrative applications
Many industrialized countries adopted their first
environmental legislation in the early 1970s and for
the first two decades the authorities focused most of
their attention on the regulation of the problematic
and hazardous chemicals and industrial
installations. Through introduction of first cleaning
technologies and later cleaner technologies in
industry this effort was in many cases successful.
While many local environmental problems were
solved through regulation, the growing flow of
materials and energy and the generation of waste
continued to draw attention to problems like global
warming (mainly related to our use of fossil fuels),
acidification (caused by combustion processes for
energy generation), photochemical ozone formation
(to a large extent caused by fugitive emissions of
volatile organic compounds from our transport and
energy sector). The causes of these emissions and
often also their sources are of a multiple and rather
diffuse nature which means that they can not be
regulated through focus on the installations causing
them. They are created due to our fulfilment of our
needs, and a logic way for the authorities to address
them is therefore to focus the attention on the
physical manifestations of this fulfilment - the
products that we use. These products can be seen
as responsible for their share of the emissions
originating in the processes that enter into the
product systems. In this perspective the products
are the agents causing many of the diffuse
contributions that sum up to some of the most
serious environmental problems which face todays
society [23].
Several industrial countries including the European
Union are discussing or have already implemented
product-oriented environmental policies [46], [47],
[48], [49], [50] aiming at reducing impacts from the
products through a range of different measures:
Ecolabelling or environmental declarations of products
based on a life cycle assessment and thus reflecting the
full environmental impact of the product. In Europe there
are several national ecolabelling schemes and a common
EU scheme covering a range of different product types
Green public procurement guiding public purchasers in
taking environmental considerations into account
Ranking of products according their impacts on the
environment and the resource base with a view to guide
future regulation
Take-back responsibility for certain product types (e.g.
cars and electronics) making manufacturers liable to take
their products back after ended use thus motivating them
to design and construct the products with their disposal in
A future authority use of LCA may be to introduce a
green taxation of products. An environmental tax
which reflects the full environmental costs (including
externalities) that the product inflicts on society
throughout its life cycle will cause the market to
move towards the consumption of more
environmentally friendly products [48].
Authorities can also use the holistic assessment
principle of LCA in the environmental assessment of
major societal action plans, of legislation or more
specifically of different ways of providing services
like transportation, electricity generation, beverage
packaging or waste treatment [23].
4.2 Life Cycle Engineering
Design for Life Cycle
Manufacturers are becoming responsible for the
environmental performance of their products
throughout their life cycle (product stewardship). Life
cycle engineering (product design) aims to integrate
environmental issues and parameters into product
development throughout the life cycle of a product.
Manufacturers must greatly reduce the use of raw
materials and the impact on the environment, while
preserving or improving the functionality of the
products. The latter must include the possibilities of
Life Time Management including Telesupport or the
chance to upgrade the product during usage.
Additionally, construction materials have to be
chosen which bring about a decreased
environmental burden and apart form that, the
operations of the life cycle partners have to undergo
examination i.e. those of the manufacturer, user or
recycler. Aspects such as maximized effectiveness,
use of renewable materials, use of material-saving
manufacturing processes, improved logistics,
energy consumption or the design disassembly
have to be taken into account.
When it comes to design and engineering activities
for products and processes including a better
protection of our environment, Eco-design has
become a frequently used slogan. Innovative Eco-
design solves the challenge of combined ecological
and economic tasks not by finding a more or less
satisfying compromise between conflicting aims but
by developing new solutions with progress and
advantages on both sides. Manufacturing and use
have already seen considerable progress both in the
past and recently to improve the environmental
behavior of a product during the life cycle stages.
On the one hand, the costs of the manufacturer or
user are reduced if waste or too much energy
consumption is avoided. On the other, the costs are
reduced if laws such as those to reduce emissions
from factories, cars, etc. are observed. Eco-design
to improve the environmental product behavior
during the third phase of recycling and
remanufacturing has gained in interest and
importance in the past few years. The designer can
improve the suitability of a product for recycling (but
also its environmental features regarding the
manufacturing and use) by using the opportunities
and making the right decisions in three design
areas: selection of materials, designing of product
structure, designing of joinings. Design for
Disassembly and Remanufacturing very often helps
assembly and manufacturing, too.
In this context, Design for Environment (DFE)
provides feedback from end of life issues to product
development. DFE solutions described in this article
include requirements from all phases of a product
life cycle. Thus, the designer meets an
interdisciplinary challenge with environmentally
sound material processing, manufacturing,
refurbishing, recycling, disposal and logistics to be
considered. This interdisciplinary approach will
guarantee that DFE will not only support Design for
Environment but also Design for Economics.
In the research project SFB 392: Development of
environmentally sound products at the Technical
University of Darmstadt, an information model, an
allied database and a design system environment
are being developed. The information model is
divided into the areas of raw material, semi-
products, forming, cutting, plastics, use, recycling
and disposal in accordance with the life cycle
phases. The core of this information model contains
a product data model covering all development
phases as developed in IS0 10303. The resulting
information model integrates product and
environmental data within the concept called
Cooperative Object Modeling Technique (COOM)
and thus is the basis for supporting the designer
with environmental knowledge [51]. Another
approach at the TH Darmstadt not only records the
generally available environmental knowledge of
processes and products in the life cycle phases but
also specific environmental knowledge derived from
the analysis of exemplary products and companies,
e.g. the useful life of certain products. An efficient
computer support is realized in order to properly
support the design world, to fulfill the overall
research conditions and to control the high
com plexi ty of the environmental know1 edge. The
design environment gives the designer an efficient
access to the required knowledge. The design
environment is based on an open integration
platform, which permits a flexible co-operation of the
instruments of the design environment like
Computer Aided Design (CAD), Simulation and
Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
The research project SFB 392 has developed a
system-architecture to modeling the product life
cycle based on the three layers application system,
communication bus and Product Data Management-
Systems, which is shown in Figure.
Kimura et al. propose a methodology for design and
management of a closed product life cycle , based
on the idea of product usage modes and product life
cycle scenario, where life cycle simulation plays an
important role [54].
Figure 20: System-Architecture for Modeling the Product
Life Cycle [55].
Based on simultaneous engineering approaches, an
integrated and interactive procedure of designing
products and product life cycles has been
developed at the University of Technology in
Aachen [56]. Cooperation between experts of
different departments or enterprises concerned in
the product life cycle is supported by an information
and communication system.
4.3 Product Cycle Management
Repair serves to more or less extend the useful life
of a product while remanufacturing is the basis of its
next full life cycle. Regarding ownership, a repaired
product will return to its original owner, while
remanufactured products are anonymous and
ownerless like new products before they enter their
customers ownership.
Today and in the future, environmentally responsible
product recycling starts with careful preparation and
disassembly processes to recover most of the
fractions, valuable parts or materials and/or
hazardous components and substances, so that
they will not end up in a mixed toxic and non
recyclable fraction [57], [53].
Throughout the whole life cycle of a product the
processes i.e. parts production, product repair, units
remanufacturing, and parts recovery from obsolete
products are not just connected by obvious streams
of hardware, but they also add value to each other
by transferring and sharing technological know-how
about manufacturing, repairing and
remanufacturing, and by exchanging experiences
among each other and with the design engineers
about reasons for product failures, etc.
Technologies of Recycling
Recycling breaks up the building structure of the
product in order to recover the materials. Complex
technical products are characterized by a high
percentage of metal materials. Their recycling as
scrap is often connected to the metallurgical
process of the production. The reprocessing of
complex technical products aims at the separation
of metal scrap. The individual processes have to do
with the reprocessing of raw materials and are
adjusted to the recycling sphere.
The separation of ferrometals represents a typical
process chain, beginning with the crushing in
shredder mills. This is due to the fact that cars take
up a predominant share in used complex technical
products. Heavy scrap is often crushed by means of
scrap cutters or breaker. The separation of light
metals and semi-precious metals mainly focuses on
aluminum and copper (see Figure). Copper can be
separated by several technologies, e.g. the manual
separation or eddy current separators. Aluminum
scrap is often separated by swim-sink-technologies
due to its significant density.
materials are recycled via pyrolysis or by fine
grinding of scrap. The recycling of technical
polymers can be done in several ways which lead to
different recycling products. An original recycling of
polymers, however, is very demanding, which is why
a manual disassembly and separation of the
polymer scrap is usually required.
Technologies of Remanufacturing
When a product is defective, i.e. too much worn out
or damaged to perform properly, and the question is
how to put it back into service, repairing or
remanufacturing are immediately considered. Thus,
the user avoids the expenses of buying a new
product and of having to dispose of the old one.
Especially in the heavy duty sector, remanufactured
engines prove both that they are reliable and
durable as well as flexible. They have often run for
hundreds of thousands of miles during their first
service period and after a professional
remanufacturing process they are ready for the next
half million miles. Regarding flexibility, an engine
returning from its first life cycle in a truck, might well
do its next duty in a compressor or power generator
The remanufacturing process itself takes place in a
factory environment. It is organized as an industrial
process, so that it can benefit from the advantages
of series production. It is carried out in five key-
steps, which are shown in Figure . During each step,
especially during reconditioning and reassembly,
adequate quality assurance measures are applied.
Figure 22: Key-Steps of Remanufacturing
Integration of Assembly and Disassembly
Disassembly is a labor cost intensive process. It is
necessary to separate hazardous substances before
complex technical products are recycled by
recycling technologies [60].
Figure 21 : Cycle of aluminum cast alloys [58]
Growing shares of electronics in complex technical
products have led to the development of special
reprocessing technologies for the recycling of
precious and semi precious metals. Copper
Advantages and
* Disassembly used as timebuffer to
raise the f l en~b~l ~Pj of
* lob ennchment,
* Integrationof repair and
* Useof worker's know~how for
assembly, disassembly andrepair
* Di rectuseofknow~howfor
designingnew products
* Flexible workingprocesses
Figure 23: Integrated planning system - working systems
for assembly and disassembly
Disassembly is an obligatory part of some recycling
processes and of all remanufacturing technologies.
It has to be carried out, even if parts or
subassemblies only have to be cleaned and tested.
However, the cost intensive disassembly, which also
requires assembly, has to be compensated by
adequate returns from fractions, materials or parts
recovered from the product [66], [57].
The integration of assembly and disassembly in
manufacturing lines is a future-oriented approach in
order to reduce the costs by using automated
assembly technologies for disassembly. This
approach requires joinings technologies allowing
assembly and disassembly to be carried out by the
same tool set [61], [62], [63], [64].
Logistics and Life Cycle
Product liability and responsibility are getting
important at the end of the life of high tech products,
especially in one of the fastest growing markets i.e.
in communication electronics. Complex recycling
networks for taking back, upcycling, recycling and
downcycling must be planned and implemented.
Logistics will be one of the essential aspects
because of its expensiveness. Up to 50 % - 70 % of
the total waste management costs can allocated to
logistical costs.
cossper ""It
Figure 24: Optimization
transportation distance
C l u d
TransportatmnDistance D's'ance
of collecting time and
Innovative upcycling networks can create profits out
of this cost dilemma. But not only the cost dilemma
of the end of life cycle can be solved, the costs for
spare parts can also be reduced significantly. Even
new markets such as international low cost markets
for remanufactured products can increase revenues
and profit. The consumer will profit - total cost of
ownership can drop significantly with multi-life
upcyclable products. New questions arise such as:
Which products or subassemblies are suitable for
which markets? Which parts should be reused and
which materials should be recycled?
Quality Aspects of Reuse and Recycling (Prof Kimura,
Examining the different process steps of repairing
and remanufacturing and the characteristics of
products derived form these processes, there are
some significant differences regarding overall quality
and warranty accompanying a repaired or a
remanufactured product. Quality requirements
during recycling are important especially for the
reprocessing of polymers in order to ensure
constant properties of parts made of recycled
plastics [67].
Remanufactured products reach the customers with
the same quality level, performance, endurance and
warranty as a new product.
4.4 Life Time Management
Modern manufacturing systems are more complex
in terms of functionality and structure. Only those
users able to manage this complexity can operate
such systems. Using the knowledge and know-how
of the manufacturer the product can be used much
more efficiently. "Technical Support" of the
manufacturer makes use of modern communication
networks, teleservice and teleoperations. Since the
responsibility for a manufacturing system remains in
the hands of the producer for a longer period of
time, he/she gets the opportunity to explore new
business areas to make further profit.
The share of gross value added in future products
will rise due to the inclusion of software for the
controlling device and the process management.
This implies the chance of upgrading and adapting
the product to the technical progress at slighter
costs by exchanging the software. Thereby, the
traditional classification of business processes into
"manufacturing", "usage and service" and "recycling"
will soon become obsolete. Up to 30% of the funds
quota of the German mechanical engineering
industry result from after sales services. In the
future, the producer will take the role of an operator
and recycler, too. The service of the manufacturer
includes diagnosing the product and related
processes as well as maintaining and repairing the
system. The manufacturer could possibly lease the
product and thus only sell the added value. This
example is not utopian, as we already know from
the activities of some manufacturers of copy
machines and automobiles. A higher benefit during
some life cycle stages requires increased
expenditure in operating these systems, and
obviously leads to a longer working life. By means of
changing the operation strategy, which is supported
by an adaptable system design, the technical
progress is continued without the recurring
substitution of short-life systems.
Telesetvice Activities Supporting the Product Life
Figure 25: The elements of a holistic telesupport
It is increasingly becoming difficult for manufacturers
of complex technical products and equipment to
stand out amongst competitors only on the basis of
their products. Therefore, it is of growing importance
to offer additional services for the running and
maintenance of products. Extensive support through
the manufacturers technical service department has
always been an important criterion for clients
wishing to invest in a particular product. However, it
is especially difficult for small and medium-sized
businesses to offer these services world-wide and at
the same time guaranteeing short reaction times.
Teleservice offers one way to escape this dilemma.
The use of teleservice started in a rudimentary form
about twenty years ago when machine tool
manufacturers would communicate instructions to
operators via phone. The concept today has
remained more or less the same, now using
analogue connections and a modem. However,
more flexibility has been introduced through the
development of computer-based controlling, which
has made it possible for controlling tasks to be
distributed from a central computer to decentralised
components right down to the actor/sensor level.
Global Information and Communication Networks
Information supply and communication among the
different partners within the product life cycle is a
crucial aspect. Information has to be provided
regarding materials and components or information
about service concepts, product structure and
operating strategies.
An example being modern control concepts, which
have simplified the linking on to telecommunication
networks, so that technical products can be
controlled or inspected from a long distance.
Through Teleservice, the product manufacturer is
able to support the client in the provision of up-to-
date technical information about the product by
allowing access to technical documentation and
providing instructions of how to manage
maintenance problems. This is useful both for
reference and training purposes. In addition,
information concerning technical disturbances,
quality control etc. can be passed from the operator
back to the manufacturer for diagnosis and analysis.
For example, if technical documentation support is
required for the identification of spare parts, then it
should be possible for the ordering department of
the manufacturer to access the parts by mouse
click. Applications such as video transmission help
overcome language barriers and are just as
essential as online access to multimedia, technical
documentation within the Internet.
Holistic Structures of Documents and Data in the Product
Life Cycle (Product Data Management)
The close cooperation of all business partners
involved in the products life cycle is a prerequisite
for optimizing the design and operation of a product.
To this end, it is necessary to organize the
management of the configuration and the
documentation in a way which considers all needs
of the different life cycle partners. The organization
of documentation and data is essential for a clear
and unambiguous product configuration at all stages
of the life cycle, as well for realization of efficient
technical support processes within the life cycle
management. It is necessary for all activities
performed by different life cycle partners in different
phases of the product life cycle that the same data
are available.
Figure 26: Demand for information compared to actual
availability in product life
Appropriate strategies, methods and tools must be
applied to reduce the lack of information at early
stages of the product life cycle. Here, qualified
activities and systems have to enable the transfer of
know-how and information, for example with the
help of communication networks based on reference
models and simulation tools in order to anticipate life
cycle data such as system behavior or activities with
a high degree of reliable information. An integrated
information model is the technical key factor in
determining the success of technical support
processes. It is a life cycle-wide information
reservoir including complete product data but also
data which are not directly related to the product but
necessary for a competent consultation in technical
support processes.
In order to design such an integrated reference
model the process chains which represent all tasks
to be performed in a product life cycle have to be
identified, while considering the different life cycle
views of the life cycle partners. After process chains
have been identified, the related documents and
data are allocated. The use of continuos document
classification codes for all life cycle partners is
The definition of cooperation processes allows to
connect the separated life cycle views of the
partners. In general, there are three types of
cooperation processes, namely the process linking
manufacturer and product user, the one linking
manufacturer and recycler and the one linking
recycler and product user. The description of these
cooperation processes includes the references
between the supporting and the supported
processes, the documents which are needed and
generated, and the detailed description of the
process. Most of the documents exchanged among
the partners should be stored in the integrated
information model. Documents used for the process
but not important for other partners are stored in
data structures of the owner [65].
Figure 27: Holistic data life cycle models
After the informational needs of the cooperation
processes have been determined, the integrated
information data model can be prepared. To this
end, the detailed identification of data transferred
with the documents in the cooperation processes is
important. Fundamental challenges in terms of
information consistency, redundancy, reliability,
efficiency and security have to be mastered.
Reference models for life cycle phases of the
different life cycle partners and for the documents
and data allocated to processes in these phases as
well as models of useful cooperation processes can
help to accelerate the agreement about life cycle
management between the partners and the
implementation of an integrated information model.
Used products often provide information about
failure behavior, effective operating time, etc. or can
be used as an input for recycling plans, in case
identically used products show heavy deviations
caused by usage influences. Life cycle data can be
stored and complemented using smart labels and
the approach of the green port to bring back the
usage information into the development processes
as well as to provide life cycle data for the
organization and planning of recycling activities. To
trail and identify the product in its life cycle can be
achieved by using data like time and place of
production, events like refurbishment and guarantee
information. Smart Labels of Philips
Sem icond u ctors cont ai n i nte I I ig ent and
programmable information.
4.5 Life Cycle Evaluation
The second field of activity within LCM is the sphere
of Life Cycle Evaluation. Here, the Life Cycle
Assessment (see Chapter 4.1) as well as the Life
Cycle Costing must be applied to identify what
economical and ecological impacts result from
manufacturing, operating and recycling a product.
Life Cycle Costing - Evaluation of Life Cycle Activities
An increased budget during the design and
construction phase leads to a higher product quality
and results in a prolonged working life and a higher
benefit of the product. Considering the product life
cycle as a whole, not only the life time but also the
costs of operation and other costs can be assessed
more effectively and with a higher economic benefit.
An example being the share of different materials
used in the manufacturing system which are
considerably influencing the allocation of cost and
revenues in the product life cycle. In the future, the
additional responsibility for a systems disposal
means to calculate up to 5% of the replacement
value of the system for recycling and/or waste
removal. In future times, the designer and
manufacturer of manufacturing systems will have an
increasing responsibility in developing systems and
devices suiting the demands of the whole life cycle.
The complete development process is of uttermost
importance for the future product. Errors made
during the development will directly affect the life
cycle profit. According to a recent study done by
McKinsey, a six month delay in development will
reduce the profit by 33%.
The evaluation of the resulting benefit calls for a
new method to account costs and revenues in the
life cycle of the products. By means of the Life
Cycle Costing (LCC) method, the costs of
production, installation, usage and disposal are
analyzed, so that a minimum of the total cost and a
maximum of benefit is achieved. This optimization
process supports the adaptation of the life cycle
processes by observing the demands and
constraints of the life cycle management.
The allocation of costs and revenues are given to
verify the saving. Thus, reference numbers can be
derived and cost rates determined. By evaluating
the variability and sensitivity, the potentials to
maximize the benefit are shown. The life cycle cost
accounting has to prove the thesis that longevity of
products including the permanent upgrading of the
operating system is ecologically and economically
useful. The structures of costs and revenues of the
life cycle justify the operation of new innovative
products or system concepts, possibly of new
operational and maintenance concepts and/or new
financing models and cooperation forms.
Figure 28: Main steps and the results of life cycle costing
Systems and services are analyzed by means of
permanently monitoring the life cycle costs and
benefits. In a broader sense, the results are applied
to determine, and if necessary, to increase the
suitability of the unit and its sub-units during the life
time or life cycle.
Figure 69: The cost and benefit trends in the product life
There are different influences causing costs or
benefits to increase or decrease, as outlined in
Figure 6. Observing the constraints and regulations
of environmental-friendly and quality-orientated
manufacturing processes leads to increased
expenditures [7], [68] during the production phase,
whereas low costs of manufacturing (e.9. wages,
energy) result in decreased life cycle costs.
Increased expenditures are necessary to derive a
greater benefit from products or systems during
service and usage, whereas lower cost for operation
result in decreased expenditures [69]. The same
constellation applies to the reuse and recycling
phase. The cost inducing factor is expressed in the
share of reusable product parts and components
while decreased expenditures for recycling and
deposition processes result in lower life cycle costs
[701, [711.
5.1 Introduction
Up to this point a global picture of the current and
some future issues of Life Cycle Management and
Assessment have been presented. Many if not most
manufacturing research projects today consider
environmental and life cycle issues either implicitly
or, increasingly, explicitly. Examples thereof are
found in the Global IMS (Intelligent Manufacturing
Systems) Research Program, now in its 5ith year
after an initial development period of about the
same length. The IMS program was conceived by 0
and could be argued to be a ClRP initiative, with
many ClRP members actively involved in its
projects. The following briefly summarizes this
program concentrating on LCM and environmental
5.2 Outline of IMS Program
The IMS initiative is essentially aimed at realizing
the sustainable globalization of manufacturing
industry in view of increasingly accelerating
technological advancement, based on the
organization, systematization and exploration of
past technological manufacturing for future global
use. This objective must be based on cooperation
among industrial nations, the development of "next
generation" techniques, human and environmental
sustainability, and on the cooperation of academics,
researchers and industry in all phases of research
and development as illustrated in Figure [73], [72].
The three circles conceptually represent the
interrelationship of the four kinds of research, i.e.
basic, pre-competitive, competitive and post-
competitive research (the "research circle"), with the
"academic interest" circle and the "industrial
interest" circle together with their typical timeframes.
__.. - ..-__
,/'. '..
/' Research '..
Pre- n Short-Tern
Figure 30: Research ,,Acadustrialism" (Based On 0).
The ,,practical" objective of the IMS program is to
provide a platform for integrating this overall picture
in terms of manufacturing technology, which can
obviously only be achieved by the far-reaching
cooperation between government, academia and
industry, i.e. by an appropriate degree of what has
been called "acadustrialism" [74], on a world-wide
basis. This means that competition must be
accompanied by the sharing of manufacturing know
how must be globally distributed and not be allowed
to stagnate in any particular (industrialized) country.
The objectives of the IMS program, as well as the
"Technical Themes" under which IMS projects must
fall, implicitly contain many references to LCM/A,
and are shown in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively.
In 1997 these were supplemented by the list of
issues and topics shown in Table 3, to be addressed
in order to more effectively realize the original
themes, and by concentrating on the 5 core issues
of manufacturing today, including environmental
sustainability [75].
A. to enable greater sophistication in manufacturing
B. to improve the global environment;
C. to improve the efficiency with which renewable and non-
renewal resources are used;
D. to create new products and conditions which
significantly improve the quality of life for users;
E. to improve the quality of the manufacturing environment;
F. to develop a recognized and respected discipline of
manufacturing which will encourage the transfer of
knowledge to future generations;
G. to respond effectively to the globalization of
H. to enlarge and open markets around the world; and
I. the advancement of manufacturing professionalism
worldwide by providing global recognition and establishing
an educational discipline for manufacturing.
Table 1 : Objectives of IMS Program
Total product life cycle issues
Future general models of manufacturing systems
Intelligent communication network systems for information
processes in manufacturing
Environment protection, minimum use of energy and
Recyclability and refurbishment
Economic justification methods
Process issues
Clean manufacturing processes that can minimize effects on
the environment
Energy efficient processes that can meet manufacturing
requirements with minimum consumption of energy
Technology innovation in manufacturing processes
Improvement in the flexibility and autonomy of processing
modules that compose manufacturing systems
Improvement in interaction or harmony among various
components and functions of manufacturing
StrategylPlanninglDesign tools
Methods and tools to support business process re-
Modelling tools to support the analysis and development of
manufacturing strategies
Design support tools to support planning in an extended
enterprise or virtual enterprise environment
HumanlOrganisationallSocial issues
Promotion and development projects for an improved image
of manufacturing
Improved capability of manufacturing workforce/education,
Autonomous offshore plants (integration of supplementary
business functions in subsidiaries)
Corporate technical memory - keeping, developing,
Appropriate performance measures for new paradigms
5. VirtuallExtended Enterprises issues
- Methodologies to determine and support information
processes and logistics across the value chain in the
extended enterprise
Architecture (business, functional and technical) to support
engineering cooperation across the value chain e.g.
concurrent engineering across the extended enterprise
- Methods and approaches to design cost/liability/risk and
reward to elements of the extended enterprise
- Team working across individual units within the extended
Table 2: Detailed technical Themes for full scale IMS
lssuel Topic
1. To meet user demands
Users needs identification
Rapid product-servicing and repair
Easy-to-maintain and repair product design
Operator training
Operator information access
Operator friendly, morale-boosting working environments
Life-cycle design and planning
User-driven standards for electronic communications and
industrial software
2. To improve quality
3. To reduce cost
b. Production planning optimisation
c. Rapid Manufacturing system set-up
d. High-speed material processing and parts assembling
e. Rapid roduct inspection and inspectionless manufacturing
f. Yield improvement
g. Improved material supply and bandling practice
h. High-reliability manufacturing machines
i. Extended concepts of virtual factory to resource industries
(Mining, forestry, etc.)
j. Heavy duty mobile robots
4. To minimize load on environment
Reduced variation in shape, size and quality of materials
and composites
Improved processi ng/assem bl ing accuracy
High Performance advanced materials and parts utilisation
On-line Product monitoring during its life-cycle (especially
lager products such as big machines and complete plants)
Improved involvement of line operators in quality decisions
Rapid product development and design
b. Use of environmentally-friendly materials
c. Environmentally friendly manufacturing processes
d. Product materials selection for sustainable growth
e. Easy-to-recycle, easy-to-disassemble product design
f. Improved environment monitoring
5. To provide universal benefits
a. Global benefit distribution
b. Improved quality of working life
c. Product quality and certification on international basis
Table 3: Issues and Topics to be Adressed for improvec
Manufacturing .
Plan for re-manufacturing (not merely recycling)
Other details on the IMS Program such as regional,
collaborative, financial and legal issues are available
in great detail through many publications by its Inter
Regional Secretariat (IRS) and website
(www.ims.org) and need not be given here.
As at 12/99 18 full project proposals were listed, one
is complete and 14 were fully endorsed. Collectively
over 250 companies and over 200 research
institutions were active at that time, distributed over
Australia, J apan, the EU, USA and Switzerland.
Another 44 project abstracts existed, and Korea was
about to join. Various estimates put the overall value
of the IMS projects at $US 1B in 2000, and up to
$5B by 2005 [73].
5.3 LCMlA and ESD Issues within IMS
Different degrees of industrialization in various
regions of the world have led to varying degrees of
com mi t ment to E nvi ron ment al Sustainable
Development (ESD). However the international
standards on environmental management now
provide direction to national efforts. For instance the
adoption of these standards in Australia is shown in
Table 4, as one example of many LCM/A and ESD
initiatives at both government and industry levels
(eg [761, [771, [781, [791, POI.
Table 4: International Standards on Environmental
Management (Revised 99-07-29)
EMS Environmental Management Systems EA Environmental Auditing EL
Environmental Labels and Declarations EPE Environmental Performance Evaluation
LCA Life Cycle Assessment EAPS Environmental Aspects of Product Standards NP
New Project WD Working Draft DIS Draft International Standard FDlS Final Draft
International Standard
A recent study aimed at assessing the degree to
which individual IMS projects plan to address
environmental issues, as emphasized in both the
Objectives and Technical Themes as per the IMS
Terms of Reference, led to the following findings 0,
0, based on the (16) full project proposal texts:
(a) Potential for Project Portfolio to address IMS
Objectives: the results of an assessment team
ranking each of the 16 projects shown in Table 5
against each of the 9 IMS objectives is shown in
Figure, indicating that a medium potential to
address environmental aspects exists.
HIPARMS - Highly Productive and Reconfigurable
Manufacturing System
HMS - Holonic Manufacturing Systems
HUMACS - Human Machine Coexisting System
HUTOP - Human Sensory Factors for total Product Life
IF7 - Innovative and lntellegent Field Factory
INCOMPRO - Integrating Virtual and Real Factory for
intelligent Composite Product Manufacturing
INTELLIWOOD - Intelligent Manufacturing of Wood
Products using Color, X-Ray and Computer Tomography
I based Quality Control
MISSION - Modelling and simulation Environments for
Design, Planning and Operation of Global Distributed
MMHS - Metamorphic Material Handling
NGMS - Next Generation Manufacturing Systems Project
RPD - Rapid Product Development
SIMON -Sensor Fused lntellegent Monitoring System for
Figure 31 : Assessment of the IMS Project portfolio against the IMS objective
(b) Distribution of Project Portfolio across IMS
Technical Themes: the first two Themes (see Table
2) were split into environmental and business
aspects of product life cycle and process issues
respectively; each project was then assessed
against each of the seven Theme areas with the
result as per Fig F3, showing that, on the whole,
issues of environmental protection and sustainability
are relatively poorly addressed in the technical
content of the project portfolio. - Naturally this must
be viewed in connection with the (already existing)
major effort needed, per se, to establish global
research projects of the IMS type, with partners
reluctant to have to conform to even more
and ESD issues will not be appropriately addressed
in IMS projects. The strong emphasis on
environmental matters in both the Objectives and
Technical Themes of the IMS Terms of Reference is
as yet not reflected in the current documentation for
the establishment, monitoring and review of IMS
projects, although this represents a golden
opportunity to steer the whole IMS Program (and
hence much of the worlds manufacturing
technology research?) into an environmentally
sustainable direction.
Indeed, this again raises the philosophical base
underlying the IMS Program [83], [78]: What are,
ultimately, its benefits? No doubt the answer has to
be not only those resulting to its participants, but to
mankind as a whole (and in particular to the third
world countries), with which the preservation of our
natural environment is closely interwoven. Life Cycle
Management in its widest sense and
environmentally sustainable manufacturing are the
cornerstones of these benefits.
The life cycle management concept must be
advanced to serve as an integral part of
engineering, operation and recycling/disposal
processes. Basic means must be provided for
technical support, product data management, and
Figure 32: Distribution of the IMS project portfolio against
Technical Themes evaluation and assessment of economic and
ecological parameters or values. Simultaneously
5.4 The Future?
with further regularities and international standards,
Based on this preliminary study it is recommended it is necessary not only to provide the tools to
that without Some explicit environmental support the life cycle processes but also to establish
requirements at the project proposal stage, LCM/A
the technical as well as organizational conditions.
The future shows that beside the existing methods
and application of the life cycle management
another decisive trend is emerging. The evaluation
and assessment of life cycle oriented criteria and
the function oriented selection of suitable products
must be done by involving the product user.
Regarding the added value as the key element of
this determination process, the maximum benefit by
means of applying well suited products is the target
of optimization. Manufacturer are responsible for
their products over the complete life cycle.
Furthermore the industry has a responsibility to
provide manufacturing technologies for sustainable
products, such as in solar and hydrogen
technologies, and a energy-system, which is based
on renewable energies. One of the greatest
challenge is to decrease the costs to a level suitable
for mass production of sustainable products.
Future development of LCA methodology is
therefore predominantly foreseen within the area of
life cycle impact assessment, where much still
remains to be done, particularly for those impact
categories, where no internationally accepted
systems exist for their quantification. This is the
case for all the regional and local impacts and in
particular for the impacts of toxicological or
ecotoxicological nature. Developments are also
foreseen for the weighting step where the different
impact categories and resources are compared and
their relative importance quantified. Systematic
frameworks for representation of different
stakeholder views will be developed and default
weighting factor sets provided. Also work on the
expression of sustainability targets in weighting
factors for LCA is underway.
As regards applications, the interest among
authorities in the product perspective on
environmental impacts is expected to increase and
spread from the few western countries currently
applying it to the rest of the world. In parallel, more
industrial companies will develop product-oriented
environmental policies an integrate the life cycle
perspective in all their environmental management
activities so the perspective will change from the
current focus on product development to a wider
focus on the major part of the activities and
decisions of the company.
At this, the objective of the accompanying IMS
program is to provide a platform for integrating this
overall picture in terms of manufacturing technology.
Obviously this can only be achieved by the far-
reaching cooperation between government,
academia and industry on a world-wide basis.
Competition must be accompanied by the sharing of
manufacturing know how. This must be globally
distributed and not be allowed to stagnate in
industrialized countries. The IMS program is
therefore a suitable instrument to distribute know-
how in manufacturing, which is one major aspect on
the path to a sustainable development.
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