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Modular Design Approach as Enabler for Operational Efficiency of Closed Loop Manufacturing Systems
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Production Engineering.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The possibility of manufacturing like-new products by using only a fraction of the energy and raw materials that would actually be required to make the same new products is investigated. The field of recovering and adding value, besides restoring value, to already-used products could be environmental as well as economic opportunity for the manufacturing industry. By aiming at resources conservation in the supply chain, the manufacturing industry might, on one hand, significantly reduce the impact of their production practices on the environment, both by reducing the waste destined to the landfill and by decreasing the level of procurement of raw materials that inevitably leads to exhaust the non-renewable energy sources; on the other hand, it might close the loop on the raw materials, consistently reducing internal costs. The reactive response to the environmental legislations might not be the most successful solution. A proactive action that is intentionally restorative by design is desirable in the industry in order to be more environmentally conscious and profitable. Producing by re-producing is advised as the new adventure to embark on. This Master Thesis aims to present possible solutions to tackle the problem of resources’ scarcity on our earth, by starting from suggesting to avoid manufacturing what is not strictly needed, and to render this process as profitable as possible. Recovery activities, which include reuse, remanufacturing and recycling, are considered as a starting point to enable the revolutionary process of Resource Conservative Manufacturing (ResCoM). Since the majority of today’s products are not conceived for reuse and/or remanufacturing, the revolution should start from the design phase. The approach that the present thesis proposes is based on the concept of modularity exploited in the context of DfX (e.g. Design for Environment, Disassembly, and Remanufacturing). The modular design methodology, alongside ResCoM principles, might lead to the manufacturing of products with several lifecycles, whose number can be estimated at the design stage, and entails the planned recollection of the product at a defined time in order to remanufacture what is needed to get an upgraded and perfectly functional product that could be sold in the same or different markets.This thesis concludes with a case study-based example of the methodology application that lies in the context of closed loop manufacturing systems. Closed loop dynamics are at the basis of the entire investigation. The design features of a fully modular semi-commercial washing machine, presented in the case study, show this methodology’s benefits achievable in the context of remanufactured products in a closed loop supply chain.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 78 p.
, Degree Project in Production Engineering Management, Second Level, 654
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-174145OAI: diva2:858151
Available from: 2015-10-01 Created: 2015-10-01 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved

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