A Methodological Basis to Assess and Compare Manufacturing Processes for Design Decisions

  • Manish KumarEmail author
  • Monto Mani
Conference paper
Part of the Smart Innovation, Systems and Technologies book series (SIST, volume 66)


Any product or artifact, once designed, realized and adopted by users, has a complex bearing on the environment, energy and society, depending on its various life-cycle phases. Depending on the product, this bearing could be embodied or active, and can be traced socio temporally over diverse geographies. Embodied bearings essentially include impacts (environmental, energy, societal) that have ensued in the realization of the product, while active bearings include ongoing impacts in its use and disposal. For e.g. the manufacture of plastic bottles involves extensive dependence on fossil fuels, water and carcinogenic additives, while in its use phase it could be responsible for significant societal impact across various geographies by leaching hormone altering chemicals such as BPA. The former impact is embodied while the latter is active. Environmentally sensitive designers generally remain focused on the choice of the material integrated in the product, but remain clueless on the actual manufacturing processes involved. While a designer makes the best choice of material keeping in mind environmental performance, manufacturers abide by material performance specifications and are generally at liberty to choose the manufacturing process that is most economical. The decision on the type of process to use depends on the cost, region, energy and resources involved, influenced by regional environmental regulations. While, a lot of studies suggest improvements in environmental impacts at various levels (process, systems, factory, multi factory and global supply chains level), there are barely any studies on an integrated assessment to compare various manufacturing process. The current paper provides a methodological basis to assess and compare manufacturing processes, for the same product/material specification, to aid environmentally sensitive decisions. Such studies would bridge the gap between designers and manufacturers.


Product life cycle assessment Design decisions Manufacturing environmental impacts 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Product Design and ManufacturingIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Centre for Sustainable Technologies and Centre for Product Design and ManufacturingIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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