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Enhancing manufacturing and transportation decision support systems with LCA add-ins

Stiel, F., Michel, T., Teuteberg, F.
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.110 pp. 85-98
computer software, decision support systems, dynamic models, environmental impact, life cycle assessment, manufacturing, transportation
The current life cycle assessment software landscape contributes not sufficiently to the dynamic behavior of manufacturing and transportation systems. This work presents a conceptual framework as well as conceptual software architecture to foster the integration of life cycle assessment software tools with dynamic manufacturing and transportation decision support tools. The results reveal interfaces and overlap between the existing life cycle assessment and decision support concepts as well as starting points to bridge this existing gap between static and dynamic approaches. In contrast to recent life cycle assessment approaches, mostly relying on static modeling concepts and calculation engines, the introduced software architecture is able to comprise dynamic modeling approaches and software engines within life cycle assessment. A descriptive case scenario suggests that the use of life cycle assessment add-ins for manufacturing and transportation decision support systems is capable to generate more valid environmental impact data compared to traditional life cycle assessment approaches. Moreover, a higher resolution of the generated data as well as a reduced modeling effort makes life cycle assessment add-ins desirable not only for the use within research but also for the use within manufacturing and transportation practice. Implementations and architectures will, however, need to be explored with more complex cases in manufacturing and transportation.