Product Manufacturing-related energy consumption

The objective of this 6-month-long visit at the TU Braunschweig was to mix the product development view and the manufacturing view on energy consumption. This project was based on the observation that, on one hand, product design remains as an unrecognised influence on the energy consumption of a manufacturing system, and on the other hand, manufacturing energy efficiency is unrealistically estimated in the calculation of product embodied energy.

Status: closed (2011)
Partners: G-SCOP, Institut für Werkzeugmaschinen und Fertigungstechnik (TU Braunschweig). Funded by: Grant of the Région Rhone-Alpes.
Keywords: energy efficiency; ecodesign; cleaner production; process chain simulation; life cycle assessment; product embodied energy.

Contribution

This project led to the development of:

  • a comprehensive product-related manufacturing energy consumption model allowing to allocate the energy consumption of a manufacturing system to a given part/product. This model influenced by three sets of factors: the product design, the process parameters and the idiosyncratic circumstances within the manufacturing system such as machine-tool energy consumption profiles, production batch sizes or production sequences.
  • a generic information workflow allowing to gather information and put this theoretical framework into practice. This workflow defines the parameters to be gathered for calculation, where the values can be found and at what time of the product development process these data are available.
  • the prototype of energy estimation tool programmed in Java and interfaced with SolidWorks. This tool is yet prototyped as a standalone software and could be for higher efficiency be directly integrated in CAD/CAM tools or PDM systems.

This work showed that it is technically within the reach of PDM systems to allow a calculation of the manufacturing related energy consumption of a part. However, it results from the amount of data to be gathered, the availability of this data and its uncertainty, that a systematic implementation of this calculation in design is questioned. Just like LCA, this method could be particularly interesting for implementation on exemplary projects in order to create internal knowledge for designers.