Sustainable Manufacturing Models: Today and Tomorrow | AIChE

Sustainable Manufacturing Models: Today and Tomorrow


Rezayat, M. - Presenter, Chief Solutions Architect, Siemens PLM

Today, manufacturers are concerned with turning environmental mandates into a competitive advantage by making them a strategic component of the product development process across design, manufacturing, service, and end of life. For instance, accessing information on Material Selection gives these OEMs visibility from the start on materials choices, requirements-driven design ensures that sustainable requirements (energy efficiency, materials efficacy and toxics reduction) are driven through the product development process, and Visual Design reviews enable easy identification of issues.

To simplify the sustainability problem, however, large manufacturers tend to separate the phases of the life cycle and don’t relate them together in a systemic way. This approach misses the opportunity to examine the impact of key attributes on an entire life cycle for each physical product. Thus, we need a systems engineering approach to solve tomorrow’s needs for sustainable manufacturing. The concept of Bill of Sustainability (BOS) represents the simultaneous environmental, economical, and social impacts of any product during its full lifecycle and could be an answer to tomorrow’s challenges. BOS can visually indicate the overall sustainability of processes and activities associated with any product in any industry, and can facilitate comparison of alternate sustainability solutions with company targets and industry best practices. This solution practice facilitates business process improvements in regards to sustainable manufacturing and enables companies to achieve operational efficiency and competitive advantage while satisfying regulatory compliance.

The fact that it can combine different aspects of product and process solutions in all phases of the life cycle, which can at any time be integrated or dissected and analyzed individually, is what makes BOS unique. BOS models the life cycle in distinct but interrelated phases of as extracted and processed, as designed and manufactured, as packaged and sold, as used and maintained, and as recovered and recycled. Each phase of BOS tracks the same twelve “normalized” sustainability criteria of energy efficiency, water efficiency, emission efficiency, waste efficiency, recycle efficiency, other environmental, quality of work, health and safety, other social, use of renewables, cost efficiency, and other economical. Modeled this way, BOS facilitates “full life cycle thinking” so that informed decisions can be made about environmental quality and sustainability of products.

In the near future, virtual worlds will become fairly close to the real world. Ubiquitous computing power will make it easy and cost-effective to simulate and verify everything before metal is cut. Also, manufacturers will have a Single Source of Truth for enterprise sustainability that is driven by very accurate models. Together, these technologies and concepts such as BOS will give manufacturers the means to create sustainable products at a lower cost.


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