Ecodesign in Swiss Machining Industry: A Collaborative Learning Process for Effective Outreach and Education

  • Rainer Züst
Reference work entry


Since more than 20 years, ecodesign experts in mechanical industry have been concerned with the question of how industrial products and especially machines can be improved in an ecological sense. As some products are often used in different ways by different clients, usage itself has to be hypothesized as a variable entity. Ecodesign, therefore, requires consolidated system know-how and engineering targeted toward the system and system performance. This is about more than just “filter and recycling”; much rather better products are required. Once you start looking at machines, respectively production systems, the complexity of the product increases enormously.

For ecodesign in the machine industry, specific know-how is essential – know-how which is not yet or only partly available. This is why new ways have been investigated. The solution lies in a learning process in which the industries and universities collaborate, i.e., collaboration between experts and students, who gradually acquire the necessary know-how and implement it directly in R&D projects and also integrate it into university teaching in a practice-orientated way.

The objective of this chapter in hand is to illustrate this learning process by means of the example of the “Swiss machine industry.” The chapter is based on many years experience from being a university professor and leading courses and projects for product managers in manufacturing companies. The innovative aspect of this learning concept is the fact that specific knowledge is collaboratively developed by experts from the industry and universities. Joint analyses, discussions, and especially approaches, which concern new planning methods as well as new technical solutions in particular, are at the center of this. So first, to make this happen, a sense of mutual trust between sometimes competing companies and universities has to be established.


Life Cycle Assessment Machine Tool Production Machine Interested Company Swiss Confederation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rainer Züst
    • 1
  1. 1.Züst Engineering AGSeegräbenSwitzerland

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