This issue focuses on design and manufacturing theories and methodologies aimed at achieving environmental sustainability. It has been two decades since environmental sustainability and related issues have been discussed as main issues in design and manufacturing. In these 20 years, theories and methodologies have been developed on environmentally conscious design, including the design of disassembly and life cycle assessment, and manufacturing techniques for saving energy and resources and low emission. In spite of these efforts, the seriousness of the environmental issues, e.g., global warming, is getting harder and harder and new issues continuously arise. It has gradually been recognized that essential problems reside within the manufacturing industry structure and the center of the manufacturing industry has shifted from developed countries such as Japan and US to developing countries with accelerating mass production and mass consumption.
Based on this recognition, this special issues deals with rather novel topics emerging in the domain of design and manufacturing for environmental sustainability.
The first five papers provide a global scope on the relationship between environmental sustainability and manufacturing industry, including global energy consumption patterns, manufacturing industry scenario writing, informative reviews on lean remanufacturing, urban mining, and education on resource scarcity. The second three papers focus on human recognition and behavior – emerging topics in this domain – including socially responsible investment, customer choice, and the routing of electric vehicles. The last five papers propose new methods or technologies of environmentally conscious design and sustainable manufacturing, including ecobusiness design, electric vehicle heating systems, and the sustainability evaluation of manufacturing processes.
Some papers, revised and extended in response to the editor’s invitations, were originally presented at EcoDesign 2013: 8th International Symposium on Environmentally Conscious Design and Inverse Manufacturing (Jeju, Korea).
The editor sincerely thanks the authors and reviewers for their devoted work in making this special issue possible. We hope that these articles will encourage further research on design and manufacturing for environmental sustainability.
This paper investigates energy consumption patterns using panel data of final energy consumption and economic variables from 1970 to 2010 for more than 100 countries and regions. Although previous economic studies address the role of economic development and income as determinant factors of energy consumption, we examine how physical factors such as climate affects energy consumption level and patterns. By integrating economic and engineering approaches, we demonstrate statistical analyses showing that climate determines not only energy consumption levels, but also the relationship between energy consumption and income levels over time. While climate affects energy consumption patterns, our results suggest that energy technology and price policy are significant in determining whether a country can decouple energy consumption from economic growth.
In order to adapt to or overcome the difficulties Japan’s manufacturing industry is facing today, drawing normative future visions of sustainable manufacturing is required. The future is undeterminable, so the future visions cannot be fixed. Therefore, in order to draw visions of sustainable manufacturing of Japan, our research group has developed its Sustainable Manufacturing Scenario using the backcasting method. Here, a scenario is a set of stories detailing several future visions and transition paths toward them. Backcasting is a method of developing a scenario, one in which ideal future visions are developed, and then transition paths from the visions back to the present are drawn. To quantify and evaluate the future visions, we propose a model called SISA (Scenario-based Industrial Structure Analysis), which is based on Input-Output (I-O) tables. An I-O table quantitatively represents final consumption and transactions among industrial branches of a specific region in a specific period. In the SISA model, the I-O table representing future industry is given from the present I-O table, and several parameters reflect the hypotheses set in the scenario. Our research group has developed five different future visions of Japanese manufacturing industries. We set three future targets: GDP, employment, and CO2. The visions are quantified on the SISA model and investigated as to whether they achieve the future targets or not. Based on this analysis, we have concluded that drastic technological change is required to achieve the CO2 target, and cooperation with service manufacturing is important if the employment target is to be met.
Lean philosophy, which promotes business excellence through continuous improvement, originates from the Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota’s Production System (TPS). An area where lean has not been fully explored is remanufacturing, a process that brings used products back to useful life. Remanufacturing is often a more complex process than manufacturing due to the uncertainty of process steps/time and part quality/quantity. This study explored remanufacturing by identifying its challenges and opportunities in becoming lean. The challenges of a lean remanufacturing system do not exceed its advantages. Although some researchers state that it is difficult or even impossible to apply lean principles to remanufacturing, this research utilizes lean as a continuous improvement philosophy that focuses on improving the remanufactured products’ quality, process lead times, and inventory levels.
Stakeholders engaged in the separation and refinement of laptop computers at the end-of-life are indispensable for the recycling of components such as batteries and printed circuit boards. Since the stakeholders are located in various geographical locations, whether they perform the operations or not influences how the urban mines of laptop computers are formed in terms of quantity and location. In this paper, a method for simulating the formation of the urban mines based on the rational decisions of end-of-life stakeholders is proposed. The system can simulate the formation considering the geographical distribution of the stakeholders as well as variations in the material composition of laptop computers across generations. This paper describes the architecture of the system and its data-preparation, simulation, and visualization processes, which are validated with a simulation model prepared with statistical information concerning used laptop computers. The system can simulate the formation of urban mines of various kinds of products if similar types of information presented in the laptop computer example data are prepared or hypothesized accordingly.
Globally there is increasing concern about a range of materials which have been termed critical materials. This paper defines critical materials as single elements, which are metals, at risk of supply constraints, financially costly, price volatile, deemed economically important and difficult to substitute as a result of their special or unique properties. These metals are used in engineering, technology applications, and product designs. They are widely used and of high value in the field of Automation Technologies. Previous studies have shown that awareness and understanding about critical materials in companies is low. This paper outlines a novel approach to address the company gap in knowledge through the development and testing of a specially developed serious game called ‘In the Loop: The Critical Raw Materials Game.’ Developed from prior research, company case studies, and literature, the game serves as a catalyst for informed discussion about the topic of critical materials. The results of the testing demonstrate the applicability of the approach to the automation technology field and present a roadmap going forwards.
Environmental problems must be solved urgently, and sustainable production activities are desired. This study focuses on environmental finance, which is a method of promoting sustainable corporation activities. Environmental finance allows socially responsible investment to directly contribute to corporate activities and sustainable production activities. To clarify the mechanism of eco-friendly investment decision making, 4,843 respondents took a questionnaire survey on investment decision making, based on the framework of prospect theory. The results showed that prospect theory did not always work for environment issues and that people’s attitudes when they decide on eco-friendly investments could be classified to four clusters.
This study investigates the effects of eco-information on the environmental consciousness and attitudes of consumers towards agricultural products. We focus on Japanese rice to provide recommendations to protect the Ibis, an endangered bird in Japan, and evaluate how Ecologically Conscious Consumer Behavior (ECCB) affect consumers’ Willingness To Pay (WTP) via the choice experiment method. Participants are provided with the necessary eco-information pertaining to rice production, and are required to taste and purchase the rice. The results indicate that consumers with high ECCB display higher WTP after they are provided with the necessary eco-information pertaining to rice production.
Electric vehicles (EVs) have numerous inherent challenges, including running out of power frequently and taking a long time to charge. To make matters worse, current automotive navigation systems cannot provide proper route searches that include charging plans. One way to tackle these challenging problems is to propose several route plans and select one which meets the driver’s needs. In this paper, the following three evaluation criteria are proposed: shortening travel time by predicting charging queues, maintaining high residual capacity of the battery, and utilizing charging time. The proposed method is applied to Okinawa, Japan as a case study. The simulation results using this evaluation method in Okinawa demonstrate its potential utility and open the way for future work on relieving the stress of EV drivers.
The objective of this study is to seek a pattern language in the domain of eco-business design. A pattern language is first proposed in the field of architecture. By using patterns as the basis for a shared agreement in a community, users and stakeholders in the community can design buildings and their surrounding environment in a cooperative manner. This paper first discusses key features of the language that enables a cooperative eco-business design among multiple stakeholders. It goes on to describe how to formulate the language by using a causal-loop diagram as well as rules that were established by analyzing 130 eco-business cases in Japan. A simplified case study is also provided to illustrate how to use the language.
Due to increasing environmental concerns, natural resource use must become more efficient. As a result, green design is now an important research topic. The goal of this study was to create a green modular design method using the concept of chemical activation energy. The method uses five product functions and five product attributes that affect green performance to group parts into functional modules and then group parts into green modules within each functional module. Considering both product functions and environmental factors ensures the functional feasibility of the modules that are created and also improves the green performance of the product. The method developed in this study was used to group parts into functional modules and green modules for an LCD monitor. The study results can be used to help designers create new green products or improve the green performance of existing products.
In recent years, numerous automobile manufacturers have been pursuing the development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) as a response to environmental problems such as global warming. Such EVs usually have shorter ranges than Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles because of their limited battery capacity. This problem is exacerbated in the winter, especially in cold districts, as the need for electricity to heat vehicle cabins results in drastic mileage reductions. One readily available solution to this problem is the use of Fuel-Operated Heaters (FOHs), and in this study we have performed field operation tests on such heaters retrofitted into mass-produced EVs. The pros and cons of FOH use with EVs will be discussed in comparison with Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) and heat pump heaters from the viewpoints of energy efficiency, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, heating performance, mileage influence, and usability.
This study aims to determine effective methods for improving the energy efficiency of a water hydraulic Fluid Switching Transmission (FST). This paper introduces three methods to reduce energy consumption: lowering the velocity of the electric motor and stopping the motor during the working and deceleration phases, respectively (first method); restricting the working pressure within a certain range by using an unload valve (second method) or using the idling stop method (third method). Next these three methods are analyzed and compared. Experimental results show that by using the proposed methods, the energy and net energy consumption are greatly reduced. The greatest reductions are from 71.5 to 78.3% for energy consumption and from 65.1 to 66.2% for net energy consumption, corresponding to variations in the reference velocity from 600 to 1000 min-1. Additionally, the steady state errors in the proposed methods are slightly decreased in the working phase while the transient responses are almost the same for all cases.
This study describes a methodology to evaluate the sustainability of a bimetallic component putting emphasis on energy, material, and component efficiencies. Energy efficiency deals with the direct energy consumptions while manufacturing a bimetallic component. Material efficiency deals with the yield, light-weighting, cost, and CO2 footprint of primary material production of the materials used in the component. Component efficiency deals with the degree of alteration of functional properties of the component (surface-finish, strength, and alike). Numerical examples are described based on a case of a bimetallic component made of commercially pure Aluminum and Titanium. It is found that the material efficiency is effective than the energy efficiency in enhancing the sustainability, whereas enhancing component efficiency remains a challenge. The outcomes of this study will help make informed decisions in developing sustainable bimetallic components.
This study aims to apply the self-assembly process of particles to the fabrication of inverse opal structures, which improve the fabrication of catalysts and sensors. The process consists of two dip-coating steps. The first one is the production of sacrificial silica particles 1 or 2 μm in diameter. The second one is the fabrication of silver or gold nano-particles. After these processes, silica particles are dissolved to create the inverse opal structure. We demonstrate how changing the diameter of the sacrificial particle varies the size of the pores. Finally, we present how the patterned Ag and Au inverse opal structure can be created using the hydrophobic/hydrophilic patterned substrate.
This paper aims to reveal the deformation/cutting characteristics of a stacked silicone rubber worksheet subjected to a keen tungsten carbide blade (WC) indentation. Cutting parameters such as blade geometry, feed velocity and hardness of underlay sheet were varied and investigated. It was revealed that: (i) the use of the high feed velocity caused the increase of the 1st inflection, the peak and the breaking points of cutting line force. Also, the positions of these points were postponed when increasing the velocity. (ii) Under the high velocity condition (V=0.416 mm·s-1), the geometry of the blade such as tip radius and primary height affected the cutting line force and the bending deformation of the worksheet. (iii) The application of soft silicone underlay resulted in the postponement of the crack initiation and the breaking positions of the worksheet. However, the final cut edge of the worksheet was invariant with the underlay hardness. In addition, an finite element method analysis of the process was carried out using a non-linear elastic Mooney-Rivlin material model. The cutting resistance and deformation of the worksheet was numerically simulated up to the peak cutting line force point using an FEM model, before the occurrence of large cracking.
It is necessary to machine holes of complicated shapes for building pipelines of pneumatic or hydraulic equipment. However, the degrees of freedom of machinable hole shapes are limited, because holes are usually fabricated by drilling. To improve the degrees of freedom of these shapes, the authors have devised a method of fabricating a hole on the inside wall of another hole by means of electrical discharge machining. The method employs a very simple device. The results of the fundamental experiments indicate that this method has the ability to machine such a hole.