Production Engineering

, Volume 13, Issue 5, pp 567–577 | Cite as

Life cycle oriented technology chain optimization: a methodology to identify the influences of tool manufacturing on environmental impacts caused in the tool’s use phase

  • Timm GrünebaumEmail author
  • Ulrich Müller
  • Jan Rey
  • Sebastian Barth
  • Thomas Bergs
Production Management


Limited availability of resources, increasing global energy demand and legal regulations force tool manufacturers to offer ecologically efficient products. Tools cause environmental impacts in every phase of their life cycles—from resource extraction to disposal. Environmental impacts arising during the use phase are highly dependent on the tool characteristics created in the tool’s manufacturing phase. A holistic analysis of the parameters affecting the use phase as well as of the manufacturing technologies used to manufacture the tool is needed in order to minimize the environmental impacts of the use phase. A methodology that supports technology planners to modify technology chains in order to improve a tool’s ecological efficiency under consideration of the influences between lifecycle phases is therefore introduced. The tool is first analyzed to identify its relevant characteristics. Technological influences within the tool’s use phase are then analyzed. The influences of the manufacturing phase on tool characteristics are identified in a third stage. Fourthly, the tool’s environmental impacts caused by the tool characteristics and by the technological influences during the use phase are added. The methodology therefore enables the reduction of a tool’s environmental impacts in selected impact categories by adjusting identified levers in the tool’s manufacturing phase and in its use phase.


Technology planning Technology chain optimization Life cycle assessment Gate to gate consideration Manufacturing phase Use phase 



The authors would like to thank the German Research Foundation DFG for funding the depicted research within the Project KL 500/158-1 “Produktlebenszyklursorientierte Bewertung von Fertigungsverfahren”.


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Copyright information

© German Academic Society for Production Engineering (WGP) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timm Grünebaum
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ulrich Müller
    • 1
  • Jan Rey
    • 1
  • Sebastian Barth
    • 1
  • Thomas Bergs
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) of RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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