Strategies for greener/ more sustainable manufacturing

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This project focuses on employing life cycle analysis and machining economics in assessing the impact of energy footprint and/or carbon footprint on machining parameters towards greener/more sustainable manufacturing.


Manufacturinginvolves the conversion of raw materials into finished products to meet consumers' needs. Most every product involves some form of manufacturing and thus it naturally is an area of interest in Sustainable Development. Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Patterns is one major area under the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development which seeks to "accelerate the shift towards SCP to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where appropriate, delinking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste.” Sustainable Manufacturing falls under the area of sustainable production, with various strategies and definitions existing.

Combining various definitions, Sustainable Manufacturing(SM) strategy could be considered developing technologies to transform resources into goods and services that:

  • respond to basics needs and improve quality of life of humans, but,
  • minimize the use of natural resources and toxic materials, the emission of waste and pollutants, and negative impacts to humans and the environment
  • considered over the product life cycle so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations and ecosystems,
  • whilst being economically viable

Sustainable manufacturing strategy is being considered amongst others to deal with depletion of "easy and cheap" energy resources, rising resource prices, stricter environmental regulations (e.g. VOCs, toxic materials), greenhouse gas (mainly carbon dioxide) reduction strategies and consumer preferences. Other manufacturing strategies in the literature include:Life Cycle Engineering/ Management,Lean Manufacturing ,Green Manufacturing , Environmentally Benign Manufacturing,Cleaner Production,Green Supply Chain Management.

Adopting an approach in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) ISO 14040, a 3 step process for decision making in SM strategy could be[1] :

  1. Selection and application of appropriate metrics[2][3] [4] to measure SM (depends on goal of optimization, scope and area of greatest impact in product life cycle)
  2. Completion of comprehensive, transparent and repeatable LCA for metrics
  3. Adjustment and optimization of system or process to minimimze social, economic and environmental impacts

Project Description

Energy footprint/efficiency and carbon footprint/intensity have been considered SM metrics employed in the manufacturing sector, noting that they do not capture all environmental impacts. None-the-less, using the 3 step SM approach above, this research is concerned with the economic and technical implications of life cycle energy and carbon dioxide accounting on process parameters.

Picture of Milled sprocket (test part)
Screenshot of Logger Interface showing power profile for milling a sprocket

This study will consider the machining tool as the scope [5] for a milling operation addressing challenges in energy monitoring and the use of machining economics to identify optimal parameters that meet economic and environmental* needs. Although only carbon dioxide will be considered,the framework will allow for other environmental attributes to be assessed.


Manufacturing, Sustainable Development, Life Cycle Analysis, Economics, Machining, Milling Author: User:Kadra09

Related Papers and Presentations

  • K. Branker, J. Jeswiet, I.Y. Kim, Greenhouse Gases emitted in manufacturing a product – A new economic model, CIRP Annals – Manufacturing Technology, 2011, 60 (1)– In press

Topical Journals: CIRP Annals,CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, IMECHE Institute of Mechanical Engineers: Various subtopic volumes Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture

Related Literature Reviews


  1. Reich-Weiser, C., Fletcher, T., Dornfeld, D., and Horne, S.,2008. “Development of the supply chain optimization and planning for the environment (scope) tool - applied to solar energy”. In IEEE International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment.
  2. Reich-Weiser, C., A. Vijayaraghavan and D. Dornfeld, "Metrics for Sustainable Manufacturing" Proceedings of the 2008 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference,Illinois, October 2008., pp 1-9 (ASME)
  3. Q. Z. Yang, B. H. Chua, and B. Song, A Matrix Evaluation Model for Sustainability Assessment of Manufacturing Technologies, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 56, 2009,493-498.
  4. R. K. Singh, H.R. Murty, S.K. Gupta, A.K. Dikshit, An overview of sustainability assessment methodologies, Ecological Indicators 9 (2009) 189 – 212.
  5. Reich-Weiser, C., A. Vijayaraghavan and D. Dornfeld, "Metrics for Sustainable Manufacturing" ibid.

Useful Pages

Industrial symbiosis in photovoltaic manufacturing

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters - Energy and Environment

Ontario Ministry of Environment - Environmental Leaders Program