Abstract

Industrial mechanical products create environmental problems in three ways: Because of their function, because of their manufacturing and because of their disposal after the end of their service life, or the end of their life-cycle. Constantly increasing social and market needs press, on the other hand, for always new products with inevitably shorter life-cycles. Environmental pollution of the air, water and soil and overconsumption of natural material deposits and non-renewable energy resources are thus becoming very serious threats for the future of the world ecosystem. Although it is clear that all these threats to the environment start from the New Product Design (NPD), relevant engineering design efforts have been primarily focused on product functional issues that affect negatively the environment (emissions, energy consumption, wastes). Less attention has been paid until recently by the NPD methodologies to product manufacturing issues which cause undesirable environmental consequences and originate from its design.

In the paper an approach is attempted toward assemblying and classification of the motives, targets and design guidelines for an environmentally conscious mechanical product design. Design issues which have to do with product manufacturing and affect negatively the environment are only taken into account. Environmental sensitivity criteria for NPD evaluation are further established within various processing, re-use, re-conditioning, re-cycling, etc. modes. These evaluation criteria refer to minimum raw (not yet processed) material and energy consumption in product manufacturing, to minimum environmental pollution in product manufacturing and from product disposal.

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