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Eco-design Tools and Materials Selection used in Innovative Industrial Design

Dr Ion Cosmin Gruescu | University of Lille 1 - Sciences and Technology

Eco-design Tools and Materials Selection used in Innovative Industrial Design

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Based on both applied science and art, the industrial design is a creative answer allowing to improve the functionality, aesthetics and usability of products. Consequently, the designer is simultaneously an artiste, a technician, an ergonomist and an inventor. His first task is to impregnate himself with the product, with its technical characteristics and with the consumer needs. The materials choice and eco-design tools such the life cycle assessment (LCA), allow to the designer to create environmentally friendly and with longer lifetime products. Taking in account the need of a rigorous approach, based on the coupling between LCA and materials choice, we decided to work with the mechanical engineering students from the Lille 1 University (France) and Politehnica University (Romania) on an innovative design procedure which facilitates the materials choice and allows a simultaneous development of the student's curiosity and technical creativity. Several aspects of this approach are presented hereafter. The studied product are a Stirling engine and a refrigerator, two products apparently with different complexity: typical for Mechanical Design and one with mechatronic implications. Given that the greening of electronics parts does not necessarily depend only of the product designer, it is shown that both products can be treated in the same manner from the design methodology point of view. Strictly with respect to the design and to materials choice procedure, the used software is Autodesk Inventor, and the EcoMaterials Advisor module associated with it. The product design is realized by integrating its functional parameters and by performing researches concerning the existing norms, the adapted machining processes or technologies. The materials choice allows the further evaluation of the environmental footprint of the entire manufacturing process, by emphasizing the energy reduction costs. This procedure helps in making better choices in numerous engineering applications and confirm the importance of integrating the environmental footprint criterions in the design of the product.