A key factor deciding the capacity to increase the sustainability of final products is the energy efficiency. The energy embodied in a product is an aggregation of all of the energy embodied in the products' components and subsystems, expended through its manufacturing processes and logistical activities. Currently, accurate estimation of this energy metric is hindered due to the unavailability of energy use data traceable to individual processes and equipment associated with the product's assembly. In this paper, we propose using minimally-required energy to compute energy efficiency of a product assembly process. Based on the proposed approach, efficiency metrics established on the process, product, material and equipment characteristics have been presented at the assembly activity and equipment level. A case study has been presented for a hybrid laser welding process to demonstrate the computational methods used to arrive at these efficiency metrics. Major contributions of this paper are the metrics development and exemplifying the metrics through an actual assembly process (hybrid laser welding) case study. We will explain how these metrics can provide industries with a capability to identify opportunities to improve their sustainability performance across their assembly processes.
Citation: Journal of Cleaner Production
Pub Type: Journals
Assembly Equipment, Assembly Processes, sustainable manufacturing, Sustainability measurement.