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A sustainable method for optimizing product design with trade-off between life cycle cost and environmental impact

Ameli, Mariam, Mansour, Saeed, Ahmadi-Javid, Amir
Environment, development and sustainability 2017 v.19 no.6 pp. 2443-2456
aircraft, automobiles, business enterprises, case studies, corporations, environmental impact, humans, industry, life cycle costing, longevity, markets, product development, system optimization
In today’s competitive market, corporations have learned that taking sustainability issues into account can significantly improve their public image. Modern producers therefore must simultaneously reduce the environmental impact of their products and make economic gains. Therefore, making trade-offs between economic and environmental issues is required to ensure a company’s continuity. In doing so, companies have attached a great deal of importance to the new product design phase. However, optimization at the design stage becomes very complex for a product with a large number of parts, which can have several design alternatives with similar forms and functionality, but different costs and environmental impacts. In the automobile, shipbuilding and aircraft industries, if the conventional complete enumeration method is applied, the time required for selecting the optimal combination of design alternatives with respect to life cycle cost and environmental impact may exceed a human’s natural life span. To overcome this limitation, this paper introduces an optimization method for use as a design aid tool that enables a designer to assess the life cycle cost and environmental impact of his/her design very early in the product development process. To support the developed method, an illustration is provided using a case study on a locally manufactured automobile.