Extending Life Cycle Analysis across your Supply Chain
The primary, internationally recognized technique to assess environmental impacts of economic activity is called life-cycle analysis (LCA). LCA is used to support business decisions, as input to product-, process- or building design, in education, for labeling of product declarations, waste management or pollution studies. The procedures of LCA are part of the ISO 14000 environmental management standards and can comply with standards such as the Green House Gas (GHG) Protocol.
A product’s life begins with raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. The inputs from nature associated with all these stages include water, energy and raw materials. The outputs include releases of substances to air, land, and water. These inputs and outputs from and to nature are called “flows”. To develop an inventory of flows for the life cycle of a product, a model is constructed using data on inputs and outputs. This data is called the Life Cycle Inventory (LCI).
Inventory analysis is followed by impact assessment. This phase of LCA is aimed at evaluating the significance of potential environmental impacts based on the LCI flow results. It consists of the selection of impact categories, their classification and their impact measurement.
Due to globalization, the rapid pace of research and development new materials and manufacturing methods are continually being introduced to the market. Many consumer goods for example, such as electronics, foods or apparel are redesigned frequently, creating a need for ongoing data collection. Similarly, the transformation of the energy mix toward renewable sources can fundamentally change the environmental impact of entire countries or sectors for the better.
When comparing different products with one another, the analysis is only as valid as its data.
- It is crucial that data used for analysis are comparable, accurate and current. This is often not the case.
- Traditional Life Cycle Assessment Data typically does not connect to other dimensions, such as costs, waste, impact location, water footprints, and others.
- LCA results are often only used by LCA experts, rather than the designers and engineers who conceive products.
- Complex products take a long time to compute to get results, sometimes days.
Makersite augments LCA data with other impacts, keeps data current and networked and dramatically increases computing speed for impact analysis.
Once imported, Makersite automatically establishes connections between Unit Process data and other data, such as regulatory, chemical, material or cost information across supply networks. This allows product teams to augment their LCA data and seamlessly optimize product designs not only for environment, but also for other criteria.
Pulling connected modeling data into the design stage is paramount for product development teams. It reduces the total development cycle and extends the use of lifecycle data into other domains and across the supply chain.
Makersite provides a next generation approach to life cycle assessment through open and connected data. This extends to integrations with other applications on the desktop as well as in the cloud.
- Greatly augment your LCA data: make it visual and instant.
- Makersite’s computing power renders LCA data in seconds.
- Connect to other tools, such as CAD, via Makersite’s powerful API and enable ECO-Design across your organisation.
- For companies in time pressured industries, moving from stage gate process to lean and concurrent design efforts helps shorten development timelines.