Standards for Environmental Performance in Manufacturing

by | Sep 27, 2010

I attended a manufacturing conference in Italy recently and one of the major topics of discussion was green and sustainable manufacturing. There are a lot of other topics to be sure – but this one is building steam. The discussions range from process level issues to systems approaches, to design and, at one session, standards.

Not surprisingly, the standards associations (think ISO) have been busy and also, not surprisingly, the Europeans and Asian industry and some academics have been very busy as part of the standards process.

That light you see coming toward you in the tunnel is not the exit. Let me elaborate.

The standards under development cover environmental and energy efficiency evaluation methods. Specifically, Professor F. Kimura of Hosei University in Japan outlined the work on ISO 20140 “Automation systems and integration – Environmental and energy efficiency evaluation method for manufacturing systems.” According to Professor Kimura, who is participating in the standards development process, the environmental evaluation can focus on either a general environmental “intensity” at a rather high level for a facility or be more specific in nature.

I gather that the difference refers to whether or not a generic product being manufactured or system is evaluated. The system evaluation would apply to a comparison of improvements to a system, say by a change in the process or reconfiguration of a machine line or facility. Measurements might include energy per unit production, waste of materials, etc. For the evaluation of benefits or limitations to the production of a specific part or parts in factories located in different countries, there is provision of a general or specific evaluation of environmental intensity of products in manufacturing.

In the language of ISO,  this international standard establishes a method for evaluating environmental influences of manufacturing systems, e.g. energy/resource consumption and pollution.

The standard consists of five parts:
– ISO 20140-1:  Overview and general principles
– ISO 20140-2:  Guidelines for environmental evaluation procedures (this establishes procedures for environmental evaluation and will guide how to use parts 3 to 5)
– ISO 20140-3:  Environmental evaluation index model (this specifies the models for environmental indices, e.g. energy efficiency for manufacturing systems index)
– ISO 20140-4:  Environmental evaluation data model (this specifies data models for the environmental evaluation of manufacturing systems)
– ISO 20140-5:  Facility life cycle impact and indirect impact model (this specifies data models for a facility life cycle’s direct and indirect impact on the environment)

To enable this environmental evaluation of manufacturing systems, various types of data from the manufacturing activity will be needed. Standards help to clearly define this data so that it can be used to perform unambiguous environmental evaluations. If there is generally accepted environmental intensity data for unit processes already available, that can also be used in the evaluation.

Much of the data related with manufacturing system definition and operation have been already standardized in related international standards. These existing standards will be included for use and, where necessary, extended.

Professor Kimura described some examples of the categories of likely required data:

– Manufacturing machine/facility (machine tools, conveyers, etc.)
– Tooling and jigs/fixtures
– Energy
– Materials
– Product (definition, quality, function, etc.)
– Process plan
– Production plan
– Other production resources
– Environmental evaluation data (intensity data, impact factors, etc.)

Based on these data, evaluation procedures of environmental index can be clearly defined. According to the definition of data format, it becomes possible for public organizations and machine/facility producers to publish their data. By relying on such published data in  standard formats, reliable and unambiguous environmental evaluation is realized. It also ties in with other existing standards.

For example, there are standards being developed on “Environmental evaluation of machine tools” (ISO/TC 39/WG 12). This is being developed by researchers at ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich. They had a first meeting in May of this year and are working on an ISO series 14955 on this evaluation.

One can find a lot of information about this effort on the web by searching the technical committee (here ISO/TC39/WG12). One link to the Eco Machine Tools stakeholder meeting has several presentations on the elements of this standard.

Professor W. Knapp of ETH is leading this effort. He is a precision manufacturing engineering expert and very familiar with machine tools and their performance. They anticipate four areas of focus for this standard:

– ISO 14955-1, Eco-design methodology for machine tools
– ISO 14955-2, Methods of testing of energy consumption of machine tools and functional modules
– ISO 14955-3, Test pieces/test procedures and parameters for energy consumption on metal cutting machine tools
– ISO 14955-4, Test pieces/test procedures and parameters for energy consumption on metal forming machine tools

The functional modules will allow a certain degree of detail related to energy consumption, for example, the spindle, or drive axes, etc. It was noted that this will only address “use phase” energy – meaning, embedded energy due to raw material extraction, production of the machine or component, transports, set up and end of life energy requirements are ignored. For most of these machines the use phase is dominant.

One of the interesting aspects of these standards activities is the scope. This last standard mentioned will provide guidelines for designing machine tools to meet certain efficiency goals, and then indicate what kinds of parts (shape, complexity, processes needed) to evaluate how well the machine does. The earlier standard will set up a procedure and data requirements for doing comparisons. This will provide a basis of determining whether or not the suggested improvement, or relocation of a facility, will be beneficial environmentally.

One of the illustrations from a presentation made by the ETH folks as part of the TC 39/WG 12 discussion of the standard outlines the system boundaries for the analysis, see figure below. This

defines what inputs and outputs will come into play. Note, in the fine print below the figure, that raw parts in, new tools, etc. and output of machined parts, etc. are not considered if they don’t represent a relevant energy flow (figure from Hagemann_Statusreport_ISO found on the stakeholder link above).

A lot of the motivation for these standards comes out of the CECIMO organization in Europe. They describe themselves on their website as “CECIMO represents the common interests of the European Machine Tool Industries, particularly in relation to authorities and associations. CECIMO promotes the European Machine Tool Industry and its development in the fields of economy, technology and science.”

Remember the early discussions about what motivates green manufacturing? I mentioned one was regional organizations – like CECIMO.  The industry is taking the initiative on this.

In the future, we will be designing and building machines and systems to meet these standards. And our factories producing products will be assessed using these standards.

Once again, the “Everett and Jones” philosophy comes into play. Let’s not be in the “what happened?” category on this one.

I don’t intend to. I’m going to follow this one closely and, as “unexciting’ as standard development can be, this will be interesting.

A final point about technology and its impact on energy and the environment.

At another meeting I attended this summer, this one for the Machine Tool Technology Research Foundation, (MTTRF) Dr. Masahiko Mori, President of Mori Seiki, gave an interesting presentation on where green product developments will likely impact manufacturing (and, by extension) green manufacturing. He cited some data from Nikkei Monodukuri on the number of parts in an engine for a conventional automobile versus a motor for an electric vehicle – 10,000 to 30,000 vs approximately 100, respectively!

This may seem like a simplistic comparison … but consider the complexity and impact of designing, manufacturing, storing or transporting and assembling 10,000 parts (not to mention the material issues and the building/floorspace requirements) compared to around 100.

This is an example of efficient resource utilization.

Of course there are the other bits needed to make the electric vehicle run – like a battery – but, overall, these are much simpler mechanical devices and will require fewer resources to build and, presumably, be easier to disassemble at end of life to recover the materials.

David Dornfeld is the Will C. Hall Family Chair in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at University of California Berkeley. He leads the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability (LMAS), and he writes the Green Manufacturing blog.

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