Eco-design IX Strategies
Contents • Overview of the Strategies • Strategy 1: New Concept Development • Strategy 2: Physical Optimization • Strategy 3: Optimize Material Use • Strategy 4: Optimize Production Techniques • Strategy 5: Optimize Distribution System • Strategy 6: Reduce Impact During Use • Strategy 7: Optimize End-of-Life Systems
The DfE Strategy Wheel provides a basic framework that you can use systematically to review the entire life cycle of a product. It is a tool that can: • stimulate the creative design process. • assist in visualizing current environmental performance. • highlight opportunities for improvement. • Optimizing your product's performance will require a balance of functional, economic and environmental elements. The Strategy Wheel begins with new product concepts, and covers design, materials selection, production, distribution, and the use and end of a product's life. Although the strategies are numbered consecutively based on a product's life cycle, you will find the sequence for implementing the strategies is not the same for every product. In other words, there is no one way to use of the strategies that is "right"; the sequencing depends on the needs of your organization and the product's production.
New concept development strategy can lead to revolutionary changes in reducing the environmental impact of products and services. It focuses on: • basic assumptions regarding the function of a product. • determining the end-users' needs. • how the specific product will meet end-users' needs. • If you wish to apply Strategy 1, you should do so prior to product development. Its application may lead you to discovering alternate way to fulfil the needs of users.
New concept development - substrategies • 1.1: Dematerialization • 1.2: Increase Shared Use • 1.3: Provide a Service
1.1: Dematerialization • Dematerialization is the replacement of a physical product with a non-physical product or service, thereby 1) reducing a company's production, demand and use of physical products; and 2) the end-user's dependence on physical products. In implementing this strategy, you will realize cost-savings in materials, energy, transportation, consumables and the need to manage the eventual disposal and/or recycling of a physical product. • Dematerialization may involve: • Making the product smaller and lighter. • Replacing a material product with an immaterial substitute, e.g., mail replaced by E-mail. • Reducing the use of material or infrastructure-intensive systems, e.g., telecommuting vs. use of automobile for work purposes. • See next page
1.1: Dematerialization (cont.) Your designers should conduct an in-depth analysis of end-users' needs to identify the true value or service that a product provides before exploring new product concepts which may involve immaterial solutions. This strategy often leads to an exploration into 1.2: Increase Shared Use and 1.3: Provide a Service as alternative ways to add value for users. Companies, over a period of time, often make evolutionary changes to their products within along-term strategy of dematerialization.
Pro Con • reduced production of goods • savings in energy, materials, labour • often provides flexible, multifunctional, productive solutions • changes customers' perception of the product • often provides energy-intensive solutions • few studies measuring environmental improvements 1.1: Dematerialization (cont.)
E-mail and the Internet are improved communication methods that reduce paper, post and faxes. • An answering service can substitute for an answering machine, leaving the user with no physical equipment. • On-line catalogues by retailers, libraries and government departments facilitate public access to goods and services while reducing the dependence on physical filing and storage systems. 1.1: Dematerialization e.g.
1.2: Increase Shared Use When several people make joint use of a product without actually owning it, the product is used more efficiently. Good examples of products that can be shared include equipment such as photocopiers, laundry equipment, hardware and construction tools. Shared use from the users' perspective: When an organization decides to implement "shared use" of a product, it is no longer considered the property of an individual user. Rather, it becomes the property of the organization which provides all users with the product. The organization must then manage a limited number of products which are "shared" among users. This often involves developing a new organizational structure. Shared use from the suppliers' perspective: Companies who supply products that will be "shared" often supply services as well the product, e.g., technical support. (1.3: Provide a Service ) As a result, users pay per unit of service offered by the product rather than for ownership of the product.
1.2: Increase Shared Use (cont.) • The benefits of applying this strategy are: • More efficient use of products. • Reduced material (1.1: Dematerialization), energy and transportation costs due to the production and distribution of fewer products. • Increased ability for manufacturers to track the use and life span of their products. • Facilitation of disposal and/or recycling of the product.
1.3: Provide a Service Companies often find that they can increase profits and add value to their product when they focus on selling a service related to the product, rather than selling the product itself. This strategy complements 1.1: Dematerialization and 1.2: Increase Shared Use . When a company provides a service related to a product, it assumes responsibility for maintenance, repair, disposal and/or recycling of the product during its use and end-of-life phases. The system operates on a pay-per-unit-of-service basis.
When applying this strategy, you: • Will have to undertake an in-depth analysis of users' needs. You are likely to find that users are more interested in the value a product provides than in its physical presence. Providing a service also reduces the user's need to manage the product during its use. • May have to re-organize your product development and production from being sales-oriented to being service-oriented. • Will find that you have increased contact with your customers. 1.3: Provide a Service (cont.)
The benefits of this strategy are: • A constant stream of information about users' needs and concerns. • The opportunity to respond rapidly to changes in the marketplace. • More control over product distribution, maintenance, disposal and recycling. • The opportunity to generate revenue during the product's use and end-of-life phases. 1.3: Provide a Service (cont.)
A service model offers companies an opportunity to generate revenue during a product's use and end-of-life phases
In 1996, Nortel stopped buying component-cleaning chemicals for some of its electronics manufacturing. Rather, it hired the supplier to provide the cleaning service directly in Nortel's production facility. Since the supplier was the "expert" in using its own products, it was able to lessen the amount of chemicals required, thereby lowering Nortel's cost, improving health and safety in the facility, and reducing hazardous waste disposal requirements. Nortel agreed to share the savings realized from this arrangement with the supplier. The supplier now makes more profit despite selling fewer chemicals. 1.3: Provide a Service – example 1
1.3: Provide a Service – example 2 Rental services provide a single piece of equipment, which is often complex or expensive, to multiple users. A well-organized rental service company can maximize the utility and life span of a single unit before the product is no longer usable and, simultaneously, realize a good income from customer use. Good examples of products that are used by rental companies are photocopiers, laundry equipment, hardware and construction tools. Contents
Introduction • Physical Optimization strategy, which is both qualitative and quantitative in nature, covers aspects of a product's form, aesthetics and materials as well as the human responses to the product. In some cases, the application of this strategy can lead to significant, if not revolutionary, improvements in environmental aspects of a product. • The activities in this strategy, while complementing 3: Optimize Material Use and 4: Optimize Production Techniques, are typically undertaken during the Conceptual and Preliminary phases of the design process. To follow this strategy, you will need an in-depth understanding of the product's position in the market with respect to environmental concerns and a thorough knowledge of user needs.
This strategy focuses on: • enhancing a product's function and life span with the added benefit of improving its environmental profile, • designing its physical characteristics, features or components with the aim of increasing value for the end-user.
The strategy is geared to: • Optimizing the product's function. • Extending the technical life span, i.e., the time during which a product functions well. • Extending the aesthetic life span, i.e., the time during which a user finds the product attractive.
Designers who balance and optimize the technical and aesthetic life-span requirements for a product can reduce the energy and materials dedicated to these requirements. In some cases, this may mean designing for a short life span; in others, for a longer life span. • A company may prefer that a product have a shorter life span if, as is the case with engine technology and emissions controls, newer and less energy-intensive alternatives are under development, and the company is confident customers will upgrade or purchase the more efficient products. • A company will offer a product with a long life span when it is important to the overall economics or use of that product. For example, new high-performance, sealed-glazing window units offer superior energy efficiency and lead to more comfortable indoor living. However, such units are initially higher in cost, and users must be confident they will benefit from a purchase for many years. Therefore, it becomes a priority for the manufacturer to design a system with a long life span and, preferably, back that up with a good guarantee.
Physical optimisation - example In the early 1990s, a consumer journal rated Sony Europe's TV well below competitors on Environmental Performance. Sony realized that to achieve market leadership, it would have to focus on environmental issues. As one manager put it: "If we fail with the environmental features, we can never reach the Best Buy qualification." The redesigned TV eliminated hazardous materials, being halogen-free and not using antimony trioxide and PVC. It also had 52 per cent fewer plastics and less total material overall. As well, Sony ensured that the TV could be disassembled quickly, as it now had only nine screws. The result was that its recyclability increased to 99 per cent. A major plus for Sony was that the TV now costs 30 per cent less to produce and is assembled much faster.
Physical optimisation - substrategies 2.1: Integrate Product Functions 2.2: Optimize Product Functions 2.3: Increase Reliability and Durability 2.4: Facilitate Easy Maintenance and Repair 2.5: Modular Product Structure 2.6: Strong User-product Relationship
Pro Con • provides customers with attractive product alternatives • opens up new markets • product increases in complexity • adds design challenges with regard to volume/size, ease of assembly and ease of use 2.1: Integrate Product Functions Material and space can be saved when you integrate several functions or products into a single product by taking advantage of common components such as power supplies, keypads, structural chassis and displays.
2.1: Integrate Product Functions - examples • Manufacturers who produce combination TV-VCR units have found a niche market with people who live in small spaces or require ease of portability. • By combining the alternator with the starter motor in new cars, some automobile manufacturers have eliminated the need for two devices and are contributing to energy efficiency through vehicle "lightweighting." • Manufacturers are now combining a printer, fax, scanner and copier into a single multi-purpose machine. Common components such as the printing mechanism, power supply and scanning assembly perform several different functions.
2.2: Optimize Product Functions When analyzing a product's primary and secondary functions, designers may discover that some components are superfluous. For example, secondary functions such as the quality or status expressed by a product can often be achieved in an improved and less polluting way.
2.2: Optimize Product Functions – Stage 1 Ask questions that lead to a better understanding of end-users' purchase decisions and what they consider important in a product. • What are the product's primary functions for users? • What are its secondary functions? • Are the functions utilitarian or aesthetic in nature?
2.2: Optimize Product Functions – Stage 2 Analyze and synthesize the costs of manufacture, materials, processes, assembly, labour and overhead. In this respect, the strategy is similar to value engineering, a branch of industrial engineering that provides a systematic method for studying a product in order to meet its optimum cost.
2.2: Optimize Product Functions – Stage 3 Format the data into an analysis matrix – a technique used by value engineers. In the table: • Primary and secondary functions are listed in priority by column. • Individual parts are listed by row. • Part cost is positioned where function and parts meet in the matrix. This matrix allows designers and engineers to establish the value of each function and identify the minimal cost required to produce a part in order to satisfy the function.
f1.1 Primary and Secondary Product Functions f1.2 f1.3 f2.1 f2.2 f3.1 f3.2 Total part cost Prod uct Parts by Sub - Asse mbly p1.1 p1.2 p1.3 p2.1 p2.2 Example of an analysis matrix used in value engineering
Miksimine Primary and Secondary Product Functions Lõikamine Taignasegamine Riivimine Purustamine Viilutamine Ajanäitamine Total part cost Prod uct Parts by Sub - Asse mbly Tera 100 100 Taimer 50 50 Mootor 30 30 30 30 30 30 200 Kauss 10 10 20 Kann 7 7 7 20 Köögikombain
This strategy is not a new one, but is emphasized here because of its importance. Designing a product to perform its task in a reliable, consistent manner ensures that it will have a long life span. Reliability and durability are aspects of a product's design that are interrelated. To achieve reliability, you must analyze the product's working components that are subject to wear and seek ways to make them more durable. Durability refers to the ability of the product to withstand the expected demands in the end-users' environments. Housings, controls, connectors and interfaces must be designed in such a way as to withstand continued abuse. Designing for durability implies that both technical and aesthetic aspects of the product be taken into consideration. Product designers and developers can use special methods such as Failure Mode and Effect Analysis to improve the reliability and durability of the products they produce. 2.3: Increase Reliability and Durability
Benefits include: • Extending the aesthetic life span of the product. • Protecting against abrasion (lihvimine). Textured surface finishes on injection-moulded parts. • Providing a gripping surface and indicating touch areas. • Hiding sink-and-flow marks and blemishes.
Design for impact resistance in injection moulding. • Increase impact resistance by spreading the impact load over a large area of a part or product. • Look for a balance between introducing rigidifying features, e.g., ribs, and the ability of the part to absorb an impact through flexing.
2.4: Facilitate Easy Maintenance and Repair Ensuring that a product will be cleaned, maintained and repaired on time will increase its usability and life span. User maintenance: Providing easy-to-follow instructions on regular maintenance and simple repairs can reduce the costs associated with transport of products for repairs and maintenance. A product's ease of maintenance and repair is often dependent upon its reliability/durability and the positive attitude of the user to the product. (2.3: Reliability and Durability and 2.6: Strong User-product Relationship). Manufacturer maintenance: When a product is too complex for user maintenance, you should consider: • how the product can be transported to a repair facility. • The skills and tools required by service personnel. • The ease or difficulty of disassembling of the product. • Developing a modular structure for the product. (2.5: Modular Product Structure)
Follow these strategies for facilitating repair and maintenance: • Indicate clearly on the product how it should be opened for cleaning or repair (for example, where to apply leverage with a screwdriver to open snap connections). • Indicate on the product which parts must be cleaned or maintained in a specific way (for example, by colour-coded lubricating points). • Indicate on the product any parts or subassemblies that must be inspected often, due to rapid wear. • Make the location of wear on the product detectable so that repair or replacement can take place on time. • Locate the parts that wear relatively quickly close to one another and within easy reach so that replacements can be easily fitted. • Make the most vulnerable components easy to dismantle for repair or replacement.
2.5: Modular Product Structure A modular structure makes it possible to revitalize a product from a technical or aesthetic point of view, enabling the product to keep pace with the changing needs of the end-user. As well, a modular structure allows the benefits of a new technology to be incorporated into an older product. As a result, a modular product may undergo several upgrades in components over its life span, reducing the need for new products to be purchased on a more frequent basis.
Designers and product engineers can design product that enable: • Upgrades at a later date, e.g., plugging in larger memory units in computers. • Renewal of technically or aesthetically outdated elements, e.g., making furniture with replaceable covers that can be removed and cleaned. • Facilitation of repair and maintenance by grouping high-wear components together into sub-assemblies. (2.4: Facilitate Easy Maintenance and Repair)
Can a standard be established? A modular product structure requires the design of a product system or a connection standard between components. If you're considering such an approach, you should attempt to estimate the technical life span of the underlying system or standard. Questions to ask: • Can the standard be internal to my products? • Will competitors in the market agree to an industry standard? However, products undergoing rapid evolution may not be suitable for such an approach.
Modular Product Structure - example The 35 mm single lens reflex camera is an excellent example of a modular product structure. Within a particular company's product line, camera bodies, lenses, bellows, flash attachments and filters can be replaced and are often backwards compatible with components manufactured several years, or even decades, before.
2.6: Strong User-product Relationship Industrial design, or product design, is a process which matches, in a creative way, the technologies of production with end-user needs. Good design transcends changes in the technologies of production. On a societal level, however, ideas of good design are dependent on the culture of the time. The challenge for many companies and designers is to create products which users will find attractive to purchase, use and maintain. The objective of this strategy is to avoid design that may cause the user to replace the product as soon as the design becomes unfashionable. The psychological life span is the time in which products are perceived and used as worthy objects. Products should have the material ability, i.e., technical and aesthetic life span, as well as the immaterial opportunity to age in a dignified way. Most products need maintenance and repair to remain attractive and functional. (2.4: Facilitate Easy Maintenance and Repair) Users are only willing to spend time on such activities if they care about a product.
You can aim to produce a strong user-product relationship by: • Creating a design that more than meets the (possibly hidden) requirements of the user for a long time. • Designing surface finishes that improve gracefully with age. • Ensuring that maintenance and repair will be pleasurable rather than tedious. • Ensuring that maintenance can be conducted safely with minimal tools. • Providing added value in terms of design and functionality so that the user will be reluctant to replace the product.
Strong User-product Relationship - example The Thonet Model No.14 chair has been in production since 1859 with the 50th million model sold circa 1930. The chair is comprised of six bent wood components, 10 screws and two nuts. The Model No.14 chair is an excellent example of a product that has transcended advances in technology and cultural change, and still remains in fashion. Contents
Strategy 3: Optimize Material Use Select the most environmentally appropriate materials, substances and surface treatments for a product.
Introduction • Use of environmentally hazardous materials involves costs for health and safety, handling and waste disposal. This strategy focuses on selecting the most environmentally appropriate materials, substances and surface treatments for product manufacture. • When applying this strategy, you will find that it depends largely on product characteristics and life cycle, and that there can be many trade-offs when making decisions regarding materials selection.
Some factors to consider: • Whether materials can be recycled. • The priority of material recycleability for short-lived products as compared to long-lived products. • Whether products that consume energy during their use-phase can be "lightweighted" to reduce energy demand. • If products that disperse or wear out need to be recycled as compared to products that can be easily collected at their end-of-life-phase. • If you have a system where product disposal is important, how will material chemistry impact the environment and human health through traditional disposal methods.