What is Sustainable Manufacturing vs Life Cycle Engineering vs Life Cycle Assessment?

Sustainable Manufacturing is:

The creation of manufactured products that use processes that minimize negative environmental impacts, conserve energy and natural resources, are safe for employees, communities, and consumers and are economically sound.

US Department of Commerce’s Sustainable Manufacturing Initiative

Sustainable Manufacturing is a key part of Life Cycle Engineering (impact of products over the entire life cycle) and Life Cycle Assessment (grouping of techniques to measure that impact) disciplines.

Life Cycle Engineering is:

Engineering activities which include: the application of technological and scientific principles to the design and manufacture of products, with the goal of protecting the environment and conserving resources, while encouraging economic progress, keeping in mind the need for sustainability, and at the same time optimizing the product life cycle and minimizing pollution and waste.

Jeswiet J. Life cycle engineering: A definition. CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering 2014 pp757-758

Life Cycle Assessment is:

The compilation and evaluation of the inputs, outputs and the potential environmental impacts of a product system throughout its life cycle.

ISO 14044:2006(E)

Sustainable Manufacturing is commonly but also incorrectly used interchangeably with Life Cycle Engineering. This interchangeable use is likely due to how critical Sustainable Manufacturing is to the impact, i.e. 80% or more of the environmental and sustainability impacts are the result of decisions made during design and manufacturing.

It is important to note that these three related disciplines are still evolving with many different approaches being practised. A more recent area of dispute is the triple bottom line model (environment, society and economy) versus the absolute sustainability model.

Would you like to know more? See the you tube video below for the absolute sustainability model.

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Nicole Andrews

Nicole Andrews

Nicole has been providing value to Australian companies and government for over 20 years. A mechanical engineer by degree, Nicole cut her teeth in the marine engineering field where she got the opportunity to maintain one of her favourite machines – the gas turbine. In 2003, Nicole decided to consolidate her mechanical engineering training with design in a large industry project. Once consolidated she then worked on growing her maintenance engineering experience to other areas of asset management, logistics engineering and information systems. With this foundation of knowledge and experience, she then went into business for herself as a professional consultant and ultimately led to NAPES Solutions being created in 2014.

Over her career, Nicole has worked hard to add value in development of new contracts (acquisition and support), establishing support arrangements, determining supportability needs, advice in life cycle engineering and sustainable manufacturing (including disposal), development of and review of engineering changes, establishing and auditing configuration baselines, development and implementation of various information systems (maintenance, configuration, inventory, financial etc), studies and reports including reliability based (such as spares analysis) and data analysis based, development of and conduct of and review of training, development of and review of technical publications, and much more.

Throughout these 20 plus years, Nicole has been driven by the desire to minimise waste and maximise value. This has led to her signature 3 pillars of enduring, support and sustainable.