How green is that product you’re designing?

SolidWorks releases software that can be used to gauge the environmental impact of a product design.
By Control Engineering Staff February 26, 2009

Orlando, FL – As regulatory compliance issues increase, it is becoming more important than ever to determine the environmental parameters associated with any new product design being considered. To aid in the process of determining the environmental viability of a product design, Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp . has introduced software that is said to detail, in real time, the environmental impact of parts, assemblies, and the design decisions that go into them.
The software, code-named “Sage,” will be available in two product forms with the fall 2009 release of SolidWorks 2010: an “Xpress” version included with every license of SolidWorks and a “Professional” version.
Both the Xpress and Professional products will display a dashboard at the bottom of the SolidWorks user interface that provides information about a design’s prospective carbon footprint, air impact, water impact, and energy consumed in manufacturing. The Professional version will roll up the impact of an entire designed product across its environmental life cycle and also include information on energy consumption throughout a product’s usage phase.
“Sage” was developed in collaboration with Germany-based PE International and PE Americas, its U.S. division. PE International is the considered the largest and oldest network of sustainability experts in the world, having performed product life cycle assessments for two decades, gathering detailed data about materials and processes to perfect its impact models.
“Sage” is built on PE International’s GaBi software , a tool for quantifying the environmental performance of materials, processes, products, and infrastructure, with more than 100,000 impact scenarios. It gauges sustainability from a wide number of perspectives, including greenhouse gases, energy, most environmental impacts, life cycle cost, and social impacts.
“Sage” allows designers and engineers create a baseline design from which to compare every new design with an eye on reducing environmental impact. As the designer selects a different material, process, or design approach, the impact reflected on the dashboard changes.
Designers and engineers will have the ability to drill into the dashboard data. If the carbon impact is 100 tons, for example, they may learn that 50% of that stems from material choice, 40% from the manufacturing process, and 10% from the end-of-life disposal. A lower-impact material could reduce the carbon footprint. The product will produce comprehensive reports useful throughout the enterprise with senior executives, sales, marketing, procurement, and others.
For more information on SolidWorks and sustainable design, visit:
– Edited by David Greenfield , editorial director
Control Engineering News Desk
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