Consumer demand for eco-friendly products leads to innovative designs, such as the Tango electric carfrom Commuter Cars Corp.
The ability to estimate environmental impacts during product design — at the single component, individual assembly, and complete product level — adds a new dimension to the product development process. With SolidWorks Sustainability software, designers and engineers will have an Environmental Impact Dashboard as part of their design system, so they can estimate environmental impacts for each stage of a product’s lifecycle, including: Raw Materials Ex traction, Material Processing, Part Manufacturing, Assembly, Product Use, and End of Life. The software can generate the following estimates:

  • Carbon Footprint. Measures the units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emitted.
  • Total Energy Consumed. Measures the consumption of non-renewable energy associated with the design’s lifecycle, in units of megajoules (MJ).
  • Air Acidification. Measures the units of kilogram sulfur dioxide equivalent (SO2) emitted into the atmosphere; used as a measure of overall environmental impact to the air.
  • Water Eutrophication. Measures the units of kilogram phosphate equivalent (PO4) released; used as a measure of overall environmental impact to the water.

Sustainable design practices are crucial aspects of any sustainability initiative. Having environmental impact assessment capabilities integrated inside your company’s design system will jumpstart your sustainability efforts by generating the kinds of information that could only have been guessed at in the past.

Perhaps the greatest challenge that manufacturers face in implementing a sustainability strategy is communicating the benefits of sustainable design in a way that makes business sense to product development, supply chain management, manufacturing, sales, and marketing. Some parties that may appear to be external such as vendors, partners, and suppliers, become an integral part of the sustainability discussion because many of the environmental impacts linked to your products depend upon supplied components and materials. Even customers factor into the mix. For example, many OEMs now require sustainability scorecards from their suppliers in order to obtain preferred status.

Although you may believe that the time for urgency resides somewhere in the future, that time is here. It’s not just consumer demand for eco-friendly products that’s on the rise, but also a ramping-up of sustainability programs at manufacturing companies large and small. To reach the point where sustainability provides a competitive advantage for your organization, you need to start thinking about it now.

This article was contributed by Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., Concord, MA.