An Integrated Approach to Information Modeling for the Sustainable Design of Products

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Eddy, Douglas
Krishnamurty, Sundar
Grosse, Ian
Witherell, Paul
Lewis, Kemper
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Center for e-Design

The Center for e-Design is a cooperative research center combining industry needs with academic resources to produce more efficient, effective, and collaborative electronic design processes and tools. Many high-tech companies and agencies face engineering challenges that limit the evolution of systems and products. The Center is committed to resolving these challenges through creative and innovative research. Center activities focus on fundamental research, research test beds, engineering education, and technology transfer. The Center for e-Design is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

Current Participating Institutions: Brigham Young University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Iowa State University (lead institution), Oregon State University, University at Buffalo–The State University of New York, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Wayne State University.

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The design of more sustainable products can be best accomplished in a tradeoff-based design process that methodically handles conflicting objectives. Such conflicts are often seen between, environmental impact, cost, and product performance. To support such a process, this paper proposes the development of an environment where sustainability considerations are explicitly introduced early into the design process. This explicitness is provided by integrating the requirements information of sustainability standards and regulations directly into the design process. The emergence of the semantic web provides an interoperable environment in which the context and meaning of knowledge about the relationships among various domains can be shared. This work presents an ontological framework designed to represent both the objectives that pertain to sustainable design and the applicable sustainability standards and regulations. This integrated approach not only can ease the adoption of the standards and regulations during a design process but can also influence a design toward sustainability considerations. The usefulness of this model integration is demonstrated by an illustrative brake disk rotor and pads case study. The results show that both the standards and criteria may be considered at early design stages by using this methodology. Furthermore, it can be used to capture, reveal, and propagate the design intent transparently to all design participants.


This article is from Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering 14 (2014): 021011, doi:10.1115/1.4027375.