ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS DESIGN (ECD) PRIMER

 

PRACTICE OF ECD

 
 

 
The basic goal in the practice of ECD is to perform product design and manufacturing but with direct intent at the creation of the product and its supporting process to consider the environment as part of the design.

Specifications for ECDM should promote:
            * efficient use of resources,
            * reduction of by-products, wastes and side effects,
            * preplanning of energy and material uses.

From an assembly / disassembly standpoint taller product hierarchies are desired. They represent more modular structures.
 
Designs that require assembly from all different directions should be avoided. It is preferable to have parts (dis) assembled in the same direction. It promotes automation.

Design Considerations in Materials Selection:
            * Are any proposed materials in restricted supply or are they likely to become so over the period during which the product manufacture is anticipated?
            * Are any proposed materials toxic (includes radioactive)?
            * Are any proposed materials ozone-depleting substances or global-warming substances?
            * Do any proposed materials have potential disposal problems?
            * If the answer to any of the above questions is positive, has materials substitution been thoroughly considered?
            * Can recycled materials rather than virgin materials be specified?
            * Can materials use be minimized by improved mechanical design?

Design Considerations for Recycling:
            * Does the product minimize the number of different materials that are used in its manufacture?
            * Does this product minimize the use of toxic materials?
            * Where toxic materials are used, are they easy to identify and separate?
            * Have efforts been made to avoid joining dissimilar materials together in ways difficult to reverse?
            * Is the product design modular, so that obsolescence occurs with components rather that with the entire product?
            * Have threaded metal inserts in plastics been avoided?
            * Have efforts been made to avoid the use of plated metals?
            * Where plastics are used, are they thermoplastics rather than thermo sets, as far as possible?
            * Are all plastic components identified by ISO markings as to their content?
            * Have efforts been made to avoid painting or otherwise adulterating plastic components? Are fillers minimized or eliminated?
            * Has the product been assembled with fasteners such as clips or hook-and-loop attachments rather than chemical bonds or welds?

Key players in the design process:
            * The design project managers
                        - present the project for review
                        - make available facts as needed
            * The senior corporate manager with staff having "kill" authority on the project
                        - examines and critiques progress
                        - final decision to proceed or stop
                        - commits corporate P&L resources
            * Coordinating managers
                        - develop support plans.