Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The improvement of product sustainability by the development of 'whole life' design methodologies
Author: Symonds, Charles P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7430 8016
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Sustainability-related legislation has increased over the past 10 years, and this is now having a profound effect on industry which is required to reduce its impacts. Those designing and manufacturing electro-mechanical products must also consider the impacts of the goods they produce. Many of these impacts stem from decisions made early on in the design process, and consequently it is here that effort must be focused. One of the most significant lifecycle stages of any product is end of life, as it dictates how much of the material and embedded energy are recovered for reuse. Remanufacturing was found to be the only end of life option for electro-mechanical products that returned a product to a like-new quality, without first destroying the form of the component and loosing the embodied energy. Although remanufacture can require a high level of reprocessing, the process can be simplified if products are designed to facilitate this. Current design models in this area, however, offer inadequate assistance to designers, leading to confusion and a lack of real life application. Through the use of a case study, this study set out to explore whether the impacts of electro-mechanical products could be reduced, by considering products on a component level and designing them to operate over multiple lives, without increasing cost or reducing quality. This proved to be true in the case of a stairlift. Through life cycle assessment it was demonstrated that the whole life environmental impacts of a stairlift, representing a sample electro-mechanical product, could be significantly reduced by remanufacturing components at end of life. High impact components were targeted for remanufacture using the LCA data in combination with cost, sending the remainder of the product for recycling. Overall, environmental savings of 13% were witnessed. Incorporating sustainability in this fashion not only avoided any increase in cost to the manufacturer, but achieved a 34% reduction in overall production costs. It was concluded that if the product had been optimised with desirable characteristics for remanufacture and recycling when in design, then these savings would be even more significant. To guide designers with embedding desirable characteristics into products, the end of life optimisation (EOLO) model was developed. This provides a framework for selecting components early in the design process for either remanufacture or recycling. The model goes on to rate current performance and provided guidelines on how to improve the design going forward.
Supervisor: Winfield, Patricia ; Hutchinson, Allan Sponsor: Stannah Stairlifts Ltd ; Oxford Brookes University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral