Optimizing Materials Cuisine

By Kate
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Every great chef knows: ingredients matter. It’s a little similar in the PLM world, only we’re talking about inedible objects like airplanes, clothes and mobile phones. Substitute taste for user experience, add the environment to the health bit, et voila! Now we’re warmed up to talk about the importance of material usage in product design.

As I mentioned in the introductory post of this Green PLM series, “The European Union estimates that more than 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is determined in the product conception phase.“ That’s a high rate and why companies are investing resources at the 3D product design phase– to ensure their products are lean and green.

A big part of this involves selecting the right material to maximize structural resistance while minimizing the amount of material used. The 3D design phase is the best time to consider the following questions:

• Can I use lighter yet resistant materials?
• Can I reduce the number of parts?
• Will the materials biodegrade easily?
• Are the materials harmful to humans/the environment?
• Does the product maintain its intended structural resistance despite material change?
• (your turn to continue the list . . .)

Maarit Cruz is one of our Green PLM experts, so I took my video camera to her office to learn/share more:

One of the many sectors impacted by this is the aerospace industry. Integrating a higher percentage of composites into new aircrafts helps them to fly lighter and use less fuel, reducing emissions, noise pollution, etc. Also, because composites are ultra-light, extremely resistant materials, they can be formed into any shape, allowing for more innovative and fuel-efficient designs. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a good example.

Designed right, airplanes and other products are (kind of) like haute cuisine:

• Less material used = small portions
• Great experience design = amazing taste
• Small environmental footprint = healthy eats
• High customer demand = need to reserve ahead

In addition to aerospace, what other industry examples of product materials optimization can you think of? I know of industrial machining company Sanyo Machine Works that used PLM solutions to reduce the number of product parts by 25 percent. What about you?



P.S. If you’d like to learn more about composites and 3D virtual design, you may be interested to read about CATIA Composites Design.

Do You Comply?

By Kate
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I imagine I’d go crazy if I were a manufacturer today. There are so many regulations to follow, and with the burgeoning environmental/green standards, which can differ per country, the complexity grows. Then, when I begin to think about the various substances that are regulated, like lead, hazardous chemicals, etc., coupled with the specific industry regulations, I start feeling like I need a Business Intelligence solution to understand it all. (Breathe now.) And then, I imagine how extra-complex it must be for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers who are outsourcing their parts manufacturing around the globe, where depending on the country, the manufacturing cultures differ, and thus their awareness/compliance to the complex web of. . . directives.

Welcome to the second post in our introductory Green PLM blog series.

We can quickly get overwhelmed when we start digging into Compliance. When it comes to Green Compliance, we’re still in the early days, i.e. there’s a lot more to come. Most of the directives bubble up from Europe, and to my knowledge, so far there are no widespread, ISO-type standards.

Mike Zepp, our in-house regulatory compliance expert, used to deal directly with the type of scenario I imagined above, and now he helps Dassault Systèmes arm companies with tools to successfully navigate through the green compliance jungle. Mike was in Paris recently and kindly agreed to let me video-interview him. Here’s what Mike has to say about Compliance and the role PLM, particularly managing product-linked data throughout the lifecycle, can play to help. The real-life example he cites in the video is particularly telling:

It seems to me that using an efficient compliance assessment and impact analysis data management tool will help put some greenbacks into your Green PLM, or at least save you some. While this is only a piece of Green PLM, it’s a major one.

Stay tuned for my next Green PLM post on reducing material use in product design.



P.S. Here are some Green Compliance resources:

Examples of product recycling directives:
End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV)
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE)

Examples of banned substances directives:
Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Directive
Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS)

The Voice of the Customer: Process Integration and Traceability Through Requirements Management

What is Green PLM ?

By Kate
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Let’s face it, our world has changed, and in between the international economic crisis and melting icebergs, the PLM planet has also shifted. More than ever, OEMs and their partners are approaching PLM differently. New questions being pondered and discussed in hallways and boardrooms include:

“Will the product generate less carbon emissions if we chose X material instead of Y?”

“Is the packaging ecological enough, and will it still attract our regular buyers?”

“Can I sell it in the EU too, or will it be banned for not meeting requirements?”

All legitimate questions. All real issues.

In this introductory series about Green PLM, we’ll look at what gives Green PLM its color. Maarit Cruz, our manager of CSR and “green” issues, tells me that Green PLM can be broken down into two broad categories: a product’s compliance to international norms, and its overall environmental footprint. Throughout this Green PLM series we’ll examine both categories.

But first, what is Green PLM?

According to Maarit, Green PLM can be summarized as: “product conception processes that help to minimize the product’s impact on the environment throughout its entire lifecycle.”

The European Union estimates that more than 80 percent of a product’s environmental impact is determined in the product conception phase. And depending on the product in question, the impact peaks differently. For example, because of the energy it consumes, a durable good like an appliance has the highest impact during usage, while a single-use product, like a paper napkin, has its biggest impact once it gets picked up by the garbage truck.

But there’s another side to Green PLM, and that’s cost. I’ll bet we all agree that Green PLM is great for our planet, but is it good for our budgets? In a blog post by Jim Brown entitled The ‘Unconventional ROI’ of Green PLM, he says that

“A sustainable change requires profitability and not just a good, warm feeling that you are doing something right.”

To get your banker (well, you may want to start with your boss) to smile, Jim calls manufacturers to:

“Reduce the cost impact of going green on yourself, your supply chain, and ultimately the consumer. Be smart about the design process, and leverage tools like PLM and regulatory management solutions that help lower the cost of green- not to mention the cost of mandatory compliance which you are probably already facing.”

Do you agree that PLM can reduce the cost of going green, or are you perhaps turning green? ;-)

Before you reach any final conclusions, I invite you to stick with us for the rest of this blog series. If you’re not already receiving 3D Perspectives posts in your email, Twitter or RSS feed, why not subscribe to receive the full series? I’ll dedicate my next Green PLM post to compliance, particularly compliance assessment and impact analysis, and will share a video about this I took interviewing Mike Zep, Dassault Systèmes’ environmental compliance expert.



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