Eco-design integration into new product development processes: Comparison between LCA software and CAD-integrated tools
The constant growth of environmental concerns and in order to satisfy the increasing population demands, designers have started to integrate eco-design parameters in early design stages. The technological development that happened in the last decade has started to integrate LCA methods within CAD tools, allowing non-geometric data to be integrated in a typical geometrical model. The main research interest of this thesis is focused on the evaluation of the use of these emerging CAD tools, as tools capable to evaluate the futures environmental impacts of products and processes. This thesis studies through three comparative case studies if SolidWorks Sustainability as a CAD tool integrating LCA features, is an acceptable and feasible software to perform a real LCA. The LCA software used for the comparison is GaBi. Results from the analyses revealed that SolidWorks Sustainability works as a trade-off solution introducing sustainability features into product design. However, it does not provide an accurate and extensive analysis the same way a dedicated LCA does. Thus, CAD-integrated tools should be only used as comparative tools. Further research with different products, settings, and software will bring more precise conclusions about the accuracy of these CAD tools.
Sutherland, Purdue University.
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