Product and process development
The design of a product and influencing the processes used give the company the chance to efficiently utilise both material and energy. Due to the wide-ranging conflict of aims resulting from more resource-efficient and, at the same time, more market-suited products during development, methodical support of both product and process development is necessary.
The interaction between the "product development" and "product life cycle" process chains is shown below. The product development process chain is triggered by the task and is divided into the phases of clarify task, drafting, designing and developing (or link via terms in T-model). The phases are run through interactively. The result of a product development process is a virtual product model for manufacturing the product
The product life cycle process chain is divided into the product phases of material production, manufacture, usage, recycling and disposal (or link via terms in T-model). Material/energy flows and emissions are created in almost all processes within the product life cycle phases.
During product development, processes over the entire product life cycle are affected and thus resource consumption is laid down. In order to avoid local improvements at the cost of a deterioration in the overall balance, processes over the product life cycle must be considered in their entirety and anticipated.
The development of resource-efficient products and processes requires a detailed analysis of the energies, materials and existing processes deployed in addition to their assessment with regard to the energy or material outlays or relevant environmental impact. A prime requirement here are practical but simultaneously directionally reliable assessment methods.
Configuration features of resource-efficient products and processes
- Resource consumption arises over the entire product life cycle from material production up to final disposal. This requires a covering both the process and life cycle phase.
- Optimisation of a process resource efficiency over a life cycle phase can result in deterioration in other life cycle phases and in the overall balance. To prevent this, a full examination is needed.
- Improvements to raw material or energy efficiency can result in a deterioration to other environmental indicators such as toxicity potential or acidification. This results in a requirement for a comprehensive evaluation.
- The avoidance of local improvements with regard to material and energy flows, emissions and environmental indicators requires a comprehensive examination.
- • A systematic support system with locally suitable methods and working tools is necessary for this purpose.
The system level has a significant influence on achievable resource efficiency potentials. The customer does not purchase products but benefits or functions. Thus, the benefits should be considered as a starting point for significant efficiency increases. A solution-neutral formulation of benefits via the functional unit is a fundamental precondition.
We differentiate between four innovation levels with varying potentials for raising resource efficiency (image). The innovation levels pre-suppose different intervention opportunities and require a markedly varying outlay and time horizons for their implementation.
The basic idea of these innovation types can be transferred from products to production processes and company processes. In comparison to local optimisation, the potential for increasing resource efficiency is considerably higher from the use of systematic changes. However, small changes can also result in high increases in resource efficiency. One example of this is cross-order punch diagram optimisation for reducing cutting waste.