Rapid changing business environment

Rapid changing business environment

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background.

In order to get used to a rapid changing business environment, organizations must continuously improve their efficiency on production, increase efficiency, increase competitiveness, and boost productivity ( Chin and Dale, 2000; Kanji and Asher 1996). In the past, organizations focused on improving product quality to fulfill the customer's expectation, As a result, management theories and practices were developed maturely. Also, the organizations channeled their concerns into developing innovative product in order to increase their market share (Patri et al., 1998).

For example, the world is polluted, and the environment is destroyed by rapid growing industries and the continuously changing living environment. Action must be taken to deal with this situation in order to save the global environment. Actions of environmental management are based on following environmental laws and regulations (Dupont, 1998), In the US, Europe and Japan, manufacturers are required to produce and recycle product that mee government regulations on environmental protection ( Le Fèvre, 2002).

Furthermore, the public awareness of environmental, such as global warning and acidification effect, have been heightened over the last few years. People pay more attention to reducing wastes and pollutants in their lives. Consumers are even willing to pay more money for environmentally friendly product. This has encouraged organization to assess and to make their products environmentally friendly, thereby gaining an even larger market share for their business.

Therefore, the social responsibility of organization, governmental regulations, and heightened public awareness on environmental protection issues are the main driving forces for launching environmental activity, which is an important issue in business strategy (Bäckmar et al., 1998; Howes et al., 1997; Sarkis, 1998) for different organizations.

1.1.1 Environmental Concerns about the Alloy Product

In the past few decades, Alloy product have be widely accepted with development of the versatile. Such as ( Example of aluminum product)

Aluminum is one of the most popular material in the world because of its soft, durable, lightweight

Need for Environmental Performance Assessment Model.

According to the study of Maier et al. (2000), there are nearly 500 million mobile phone users all over the world. It is predicted that by the year , the number of wil be increase.

These figures indicate that a large number of aluminum product will be produced and disposed of in the future. Also, the prediction shows that the number of mobile phones will keep on increasing.

According to Kaye and Anderson (1999), a strategic and systematic assessment approach is essential for an organization to adapt to the quick changes in the business environment. While there are listed of studies on the environmental impact associated alloy product. There is not yet a developed systematic approach to assess the impact of each critical life cycle stage of the alloy product. In fact, a properly developed assessment model will help alloy manufactures recognize the environmental damages caused by their product, leading to manufacturing changes for the better.Along with guidelines from governmental regulations, more environmentally friendly product will be released to the market.

Furthermore, an impact assessment tool can help to determine the level of impact induced by different alloy product. A specifically designed assessment tool can predict the potential environmental damages created throughout the entire product life cycle. The sources of environmental impact can then be identified and therefore coreeective actions can be applied to reduce the damages.

1.2 Aims

The purpose of this report is to study the various assessment method and try to apply the selected assessment tool to the largest volume product in my company

1.3 Objective

To achieve the aim, the following objectives were formulated

  • To review the currently available impact assessment method and understand their strengths and weakness
  • To Study and scoping the function and function unit, process of the selected product, to identify critical factor to measure and assess the impact.
  • To implement Life Cycle Assessment to the selected product, thus assess the production process and the product to seek any chance of improvement
  • To review the obtained result, distinguish whether research outcome with the reference literature
  • Provide the useful information and specific recommendation for manufacturing similar product.

1.4 Scope of Research

The scope of this research is the environmental damage in the product life cycle of aluminum. it includes the impact assessment model for the product, such as the evaluation and the quantification of the environmental impact caused in life cycle of a aluminum profile. The research focuse on evaluating the impact in three main aspects: (1) Resources depletions, (2) Damages to the ecological health, (3) Damages to human Health. It analyses each life cycle stage by defining the critical assessment criteria, which must be considered in the impact assessment. In addition, it includes a demonstration of the impact assessment model by using a detailed case study.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW

There are different kinds of literature surrounding environmental protection in manufacturing sector, in this chapter; it will introduce all the background information related to the assessment. Since the study aims to evaluating environmental impact, the definitions and philosophy of the impact assessment is the essential information.

In this study, several existing impact assessment approaches are reviewd, and the assessment characteristics of those approaches are identified. The reviewed approaches include Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA), Physical Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment, Environmental Priority Strategies (EPS), Life Cycle Environmental Cost Analysis (LCECA), MET method (MET), Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's life-cycle impact assessment (SETAC)

The literature review is mainly focus on the concepts Life cycle thinking, approaches of environmental management system and life cycle assessment. The ideal of Life cycle thinking is help to have entire review of a product or service, environment system provides a framework for organization to have guideline in handling the environmental issue. The life cycle assessment is widely accepted as a tool in the environmental management system to evaluate environmental impact of a product.

2.1 Definition of Environmental Impact

Environment Impact, which usually has a negative meaning, maybe understood as an adverse effect, It is also defined as the corresponding results for both of the humans and eco-systems, and the change to the environment that is directly caused by any activities related to a product system or a service. It includes in direct consequences that relate to the direct changes to environment (CSA, 1994), and it can appear as chain reactions because the consequence of one impact may be the cause of another impact ( Chatagnon and Nibel, 1997).

Since the impact also includes secondary and tertiary consequences that are in connection with the primary changes to the environment, it is necessary, therefore, to trace back to the beginning stage to find out what is causing the changes. The concept of stressor is introduced here, Stressor is a substance or a condition that causes damage to human health or the eco-system, r which depletes the earth's resources. Stressor are generate from different product system, or any activities in the daily life, such as carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, ozone , lead, and cadmium. Different stressors may induce different kinds of environmental impact. This impact may include global warning, acidification and ozone depletion. Figure 2.1 shows an example of the relationships between stressors and environmental impacts.

2.2 Definition of Environmental Assessment.

Before looking at the definition of the environmental assessment, it is necessary to understand what is meant by the environment. Environment is a combination of different meaning, and it represents different things to different groups of people. The environment includes areas of air, water, animals, and plants on the earth. It consists of the relationship between hum and the natural and physical surroundings, in which these surroundings from different combination. Moreover, some other aspects like cultural, historic, social and economic are considered elements in the environment. All of these elements should be considered when performing an environment assessment. (Jain et al., 2002)

Since there is a close relationship between humans and the environment, people start to pay attention to the environmental issues when they find that the earth is getting polluted, especially when industries keep on expanding and polluting. The application of environment assessment began in the US after the Second World War because industries were developing rapidly and the intensive farming was spreading quickly. However, environmental assessment gained more interest in the early 1960s. (Coke)People started to become aware of the overuse of herbicides and insecticides in farming. In the late 1960s, the National Environment Policy Act (NEPA) established control over the emission of toxic chemicals into environment. Because of the level of the environmental impacts(acid rain, ozone depletion, radio frequency radiation hazard, green house effect, and ocean dumping of toxic wastes) kept increasing, environmental assessment was accepted globally in the early of 1970s. Legislations and environmental action programs were initiated in Europe (Fortlage, 1990). Now there are concern for protecting the environment every where, and there are different ways to carry out environmental assessment.

Environmental assessment is currently established to determine the environmental impact of an activity or project, including any positive or negative changes, The scope and depth of the assessment can vary considerably, but there are several basic steps to perform.

  • Understand and define clearly the actions that are involved in the assessment. For example, the material or resources invoved, the taks to be carried out, and the alternatives to achieve the purpose should be described in detail.
  • Understand the areas, from biophysical and socioeconomic points of view, that may be affected by the action. For example, all possible effects on the environment should be defined for the boundary of the study.
  • Preconceive the implementation of the proposed action. Determine the possible impact, and quantify the impact if possible. Interdisciplinary analysis of the impact is required by the current federal law.
  • Report the results of the study so that the evaluation of the possible environmental impact of the suggested action can be used in decision-making process.

2.3 Contemporary Issues in Environmental Assessment

A wide range of issues is required to be considered for preparing an environmental assessment. The significance of different issues depends on the situation of the problem raised. Here, several contemporary issues that considered in different environmental studies are discussed. Issues investigated include global warming, acidification, ozone depletion, eutrophication, resource depletion and toxicological stress.

Global Warming:

The energy from the sun heats the earth's surface, and the earth radiates the energy back into space. The atmospheric greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and water vapour, act as the glass panels of a greenhouse to trap some of the energy and thus the heat on the earth is retained. The global warming effect is such that the concentration of the greenhouse gases keeps multiplying, thereby increasing the global temperature.

Acidification:

Acidification is actually the effect of acid deposition. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are confirmed to be the causes of acidification.They are oxidized and dissolved into the water vapor to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid in the atmosphere. Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. This acidic water affects a variety of animals and plants by flowing over the ground. Dry deposition refers to the acidic gases and particles that fall back to the earth surface.

Ozone Depletion:

Ozone depletion is referring to the destruction of the stratospheric ozone. The cause of the effect is that chlorine atoms and bromine atoms are released when the steady Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and other ozone-depleting substances react with the Ultra Violet (UV) light. The ozone layer is then destroyed by these atoms, but the ozone-depleting substance still reminds the same. The consequence is that the Strong UV light penetrates the destroyed ozone layer and increasing the probability of skin cancer in humans.

Eutrophication:

Eutrophicaton means the blooms of algae that are caused by the high nutrient concentrations in an aquatic eco-system. Naturally, the process occurred as a result of aging of lakes; however, By discharging of nutrients and organic substances into aquatic eco-system through industrial activities, the process is hurried. The over actuate of the growth of algae interferes with the health and diversity of indigenous fish, plants, and animal populations.

Resource Depletion:

Resource depletion refer to the consumption of both of the renewable resources and nonrenewable resource. For example, renewable resource like wind and water, and the nonrenewable resources, like minerals (zinc, copper, nickel, etc.). Mostly the evaluate methods of resource depletion in impact assessment are based the concept of supply of the specific mineral and is usually confined to natural resources like coal, oil, gas, minerals, and water.

Toxicological Stress:

Toxicological effect is an important issue that is considered in many environmental assessments as it affects the human health both directly and indirectly. Some typical examples of toxic materials are heavy metals, persistent organic substances, and volatile organic compounds. They affect the human health through different chronic effects.

2.4 Environmental Assessment of Products

Nowadays, with the development of technologies and materials, there are many product were replaced or fade out. The reason could be for better function or ease manufacturing. However, the new materials used or the up to date production processes for those products, have caused different degrees of impact to the environment. Hereby, the application of environmental assessment is extended to different types of product.

Mostly, the impact of a product is environmentally benign when either being to be used or storage, the impact always comes up in the production stage and disposal stage. According to the definition of impact above, impact mostly appear when there is a change in the environment by process. Therefore, the best way to perform an environmental assessment of a product is to follow through the entire life cycle of the product. The definition of the environmental assessment to a product can be “To define and quantify the service provided by the product, to identify and to quantify the environmental exchanges caused by the way in which the service is provided, and to ascribe these exchanges and their potential impact to the service. Wenzel et al. (1997)

In general, the environmental assessment of products is refer to assessment based on the life cycle thinking, which can be named as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), also termed as Life Cycle Analysis. LCA is a popular technique used to perform impact assessment on products. It consists of several standardized phases used to carry out the assessment. The details of Life cycle thinking and LCA will be described in the following sections.

2.5 Life Cycle Assessment

2.5.1 Life Cycle Thinking

ife Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an important tool for performing an environmental assessment on a product or service. The life cycle here refers to the entire product life cycle in a sense from cradle to grave, that is from material preparation to product disposal. A typical product life cycle usually includes the stages of material preparation, manufacture, distribution, operation, and disposition, as shown in Figure 2-2. In defining the environmental performance of a product or service, some of us might not considering the output of supply chains or the use and end-of-life processes associated with the products. Also we might only focus on a specific country or region, and might not able to recognize the impacts or benefits that can occur in other regions or that are attributable to their own levels of consumption. It is very obvious that information in a single stage of the product's life cycle cannot sufficiently describe its environmental impacts. Life Cycle thinking provide a broader perspective, it is given attention to a life cycle of a product included raw material used, supply chains, product use, the effects of disposal and the possibilities for re-use and recycling.

In a product life cycle, the most longest period is the stage of use, sometime it might be the periods of storage in the life cycle, but mostly these stages will be environmentally benign. At the end of Life cycle, it has shown a feedback loops which is presenting the potential for recycling, remanufacturing and reuse. In a entire life cycle, recycling can be occur any stages, to environmental protection, but it not mean the process of reuse or recycling is having less environmental impact, every stage with different material in product life cycle will have its energy consumption and environmental impact. Through the study we able to identify possible improvements of goods and services in the form of lower the environmental impacts and reduced use of resources.

The benefit of life cycle thinking can avoid burden shifting of each stage. It means once try to minimizing the impacts at one stage of the life cycle or particular impact category, also avoid increasing the impact in other stage.

2.5.2 Life Cycle Assessment

The environmental assessment of products began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Methodology of the LCA was designed by focusing on the material flow in existing products. The concept of life cycle assessment dates back to a famous case from 1969. The Coca-Cola Company was trying to determine the better bottle: glass or plastic. Because glass is a natural material, most people expected glass would be the better environmental choice. By using a form of life cycle assessment, they determined that a plastic bottle would ultimately be the best environmental choice. This kind of assessment was termed by Resource and Environmental Profile Analysis (REPA) then. The concerns about environmental problems were affected by the shortages in oil supplies in the early 1970s (Curran, 1996) and the focus on resource consumption that was presented in a report, Limits to Growth (Meadows et al., 1974). Additionally, people did not have enough knowledge to analyze the environmental burdens of human activities in a quantitative approach. As a result, the REPA focused mainly on the evaluation of energy and resource depletion in a process system.

The applications of LCA were gone with the global oil crisis. In the early 1980s, the extensive use of resources in packaging drew the public attention in Europe. The LCA was again applied in different studies of energy and environmental issues, such as transportation, recycling, and packaging (Bouwman, 2002; CSWS 1990; Ekvall, 1999). However, the various methods and data used in different LCA studies made it difficult to compare the obtained results. Therefore a more systematic impact assessment methodology for environmental assessment of products was needed.

From the late 1980s, the attention on LCA application began growing rapidly. This assessment methodology was used in broader areas, and the products and systems being assessed were more complex. Some LCA studies are reviewed and summarized (Pedersen and Christiansen, 1992; Sustainability, 1993) below.

According to the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)

(SETAC, 1993), a generic framework to perform an impact assessment should include three complementary steps. The first phase is Inventory Analysis, which classifies the energy and materials consumptions and also the emissions with respect to the different impact categories to which they contribute. The next phase is Impact Analysis, which characterizes the environmental impact of a stressor contributing to a single impact category. The third phase is Improvement Analysis. This is an evaluation of different alternatives to reduce the environmental impact brought out in the entire life cycle of a product, process, or activity. Assessment includes quantitative and qualitative measures of improvement, for example, material selection, product and process design, usages and waste management. These phases are the basic components of impact assessment, forming the basic framework of LCA. This LCA framework was reaffirmed at a later time. Goal Definition and Scoping was incorporated into the impact assessment as refinements after considerable debate (Fava et al., 1993), as shown in Figure 2-3.

2.5.3 Elements in Life Cycle Assessment

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published the framework of LCA which is based to on the suggestion from SETAC (Ong et al., 1999). The definition of the framework is that” to Evaluate and compile the inputs, outputs and the environmental burdens in the entire product life cycle”. Figure 2.4 is presenting organization of the ISO 14000 standards

2.6 Four Interrelated Phases of LCA

  • Goal Definition and Scoping - Define and describe the product, process or activity should be done in the study. Any assumptions, limitations, and the characteristics of the product or service should be clearly discovered. It is necessary to establish the context in which the assessment is to be made and identify the boundaries and environmental effects to be reviewed for the assessment so that it helps to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the study.
  • Inventory Analysis -Inventory Analysis is a phase to construct the product systems in the study. The product system is used to show the different unit processes. For example, production process, transportation, waste disposal and recycling. The consumption of the energy, water and materials usages and the environmental release from the product system boundary will be Identified and quantified. Such as the emissions of pollutants and extraction of resources, are used in Impact Assessment.
  • Impact Assessment - The Impact assessment is used to group and transform the resource consumption into the related impact categories. Mostly the categories studies are Global Warming Potential, Ozone Depletion and Eutrophication. In this phase, a weighting step will be applied to the result by calculate with a factor, in order to obtaining the final impact score of the product syste.
  • Interpretation - Evaluate the results of the inventory analysis and impact assessment to select the preferred product, process or service with a clear understanding of the uncertainty and the assumptions used to generate the results.

2.7 Review the Application of LCA

Since the growth of concern of environment, LCA has been applied in different study both in the public and private sector (Gloria et al., 1995). Obviously, it is because the function of LCA is acting as an important role in product development by helping product designer and decision maker to quantify and evaluate the environmental impact of product and services. Nowadays, products might not able to satisfy customer only by its powerful function or aesthetic function. The grow of environmental consciousness drives the consumers to pay more for them. Therefore, green image of the product has become the critical factor for them to choose the product and service. Thought the LCA, the decision maker can obtain the evidence to certify that the design is environmentally friendly and gain the market advantage of green products. There is another benefit to manufacturer, is that with the approach of the LCA, they are able to choose greener manufacturing processes, thus improve the production efficiency and the expense in dealing with the pollutant from production process.

Categories

Reference

Descriptions

Automobile

Dobson 1996

Two alternative painting processes in automobile industry

Kasai 1999

Propeller shafts in vehicles

Maclean and Lave 1998

Fuel cycle in terms of toxic discharges

Electronic

Huybrects et al. 1998

Two photographic films in the printed circuit board industry (silver film vs. Mastertool)

Pollock and Coulon 1996

Inkjet print cartridge

Terho 1996

Fibre optic cable

Energy

Furuholt 1995

Production of three different fuel product (diesel, regular gasoline and gasoline with MTBE

  • unghi et al., 2004

  • A molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC) system for landfill-gas recovery

    Waste Treatment

    Mendes et al., 2004

    Comparison of the environmental impact of the incineration and the land filling of municipal solid waste

    Suh and Rousseaux, 2002

    Comparison of five alternative treatment scenarios of sewage sludge in the French context

    Package

    De Monte et al., 2004

    Comparison of different coffee packaging system

    Recycling

    McLaren et al., 2000

    Materials flow analysis in recycling systems

    Ross and Evans, 2003

    Recycling of portable nickel-cadmium batteries

    2.8 Review of the Impact Assessment Approaches

    In this chapter, Different impact assessment approaches will be reviewed to address the objective, scopes and assessment criteria of the assessment model. Also it will state the characteristic, assessment method, the advantages and disadvantage of the assessment.

    2.8.1 Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA)

    In order to deal with the limitation of traditional Life Cycle Assessment, Economic Input-Output Life Cycle Assessment (EIO-LCA) is introduced (Hendrickson et al., 1998). The EIO-LCA approach is a method able to estimates the materials and energy resources required for, and the environmental emissions resulting from any activities in our economy. There are three basic steps in performing EIO-LCA.

    1. Determine the physical assumptions of the product system.
    2. Calculate the economic effect relevant to physical assumption.
    3. In put the monetary values of the relevant purchases.

    The Environment output is resulted by the following equation:

    Bi = Ri .X

    Where Bi is the vector of environmental output

    Ri is the environmental impact per dollar of output

    X is the economic output at each process stage.

    By the EIO-LCA approach, all the direct and indirect economy effect on the energy consumption and emissions can be showed thought the life cycle analysis. Practitioner able to obtain a economy wide and comprehensive assessment. The priority of the environmental impact was ranked by the resulted values and worked as a reference for decision maker to define the critical problem. However, the limitation of EIO-LCA is that the result of the assessment might not suitable of latest situation since the economic data is came from the past practices. Also the results estimate the environmental emissions or resource depletion with the life cycle of an industry sector, but do not presenting the actual environmental or human health impact.

    2.8.2 The Swedish Environmental Priorities System

    The Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) and Volvo motor Company developed the Environmental Priorities System (EPS) (Ryding et al., 1993; Steen and Ryding, 1992), the function of EPS is assisting product designers for selecting components and subassemblies with the minimum environmental impacts. The total impact of the product are determine with five safeguard factor, they are (1) Resources, (2) Human Health, (3) Production (4) Biodiversity and (5) Aesthetic value. The equation for impact calculation is;

    Total Impact =

    Where ELIi is the environmental load unit

    Mi is the mass of the used material i

    Each stressor's ELI is a product of five factors as shown in the follows:

    ELIi = F1 .F2.F3.F4.F5

    Where F1 is the unit effect determined based on the five safeguard subjects. It is determined on the basis of the monetary amount that the society is eager to pay for avoiding damages on the safeguard subject

    F2 is the scope of the effect of the effect based on either the number of people or in area

    F3 is the intensity or frequency of the effect on the safeguard subject

    F4 is the duration of the effect

    F5 is the normalization factor

    The EPS approach is based on the recommendations of SETAC, the actural damages, and characterizes the damages in monetary value. It has the advantages that is widely accepted for any application, but the assessment is difficult to implement as it adopts cost instead of worth. This approach is also being questioned as to whether the economic and environmental science is able to provide the necessary data for the extensive valuation.

    2.8.3 Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Impact Assessment

    The SETAC defines the impact assessment as a three-step process for LCA (Fave et al., 1993), the aims of the approach is to drive the assessment to be more transparent and scientific. In SETAC Assessment, the considered impact categories are biotic and abiotic resource depletion, global warning, ozone depletion, human and ecosystem toxicity, smog, acidification and eutrophication.

    The impact categories considered in the impact assessment are;

    • Classification - the process of identifying and classifying the environmental impacts of the stressor into several defined impact categories
    • Characterization - the process of estimating the magnitude of the environmental impacts on ecological health , human health or resource depletion
    • Valuation - The assignment of relative values or weight to different environmental impacts such that the quantified environmental impacts are aggregated into one single index

    The SETAC LCA approach is widely accepted in any organization and able to provides the extensive environmental assessment on different product and activities as it have considered the most number of impact categories.

    In the other hand, the size of scope has become the issue the application which made the assessment to be complex and costly to implement. Also all the uncertain have to be clarify before perform the assessment, otherwise, the undesired result could be obtained.

    2.8.4 Streamlined LCA

    Making a balance between scientific precision and practical applicability is the significant advantage of the simplified LCA. The AT&T case is a typical example of showing the application of the abridged LCA ( Graedel et al. 1995). AT&T has developed an abridged matrix approach for the LCA. This is a semi-quantitative, and uses a 5x5 matrix to facilitate the assessment. The 5x5 matrix, called the environmentally responsible product assessment matrix. Is the central feature of the assessment system. As shown in Figure 2.4, the matrix arrays five life cycle stages. There are premanufacture, product manufacture, product packaging and transport, product use, and refurbishment-recycling-disposal. Against five categories of environmental concern (materials choice, energy use, solid residues, liquid residuesm and gaseous residues. In this approach, a group of assessors is drawn from the various departments of the organization, checklists are provided to the assessors as guidance in the assessment exercise. The assessors are asked to assign ratings, ranging from 0 (highest impact) to 4 (lowest impact), to the five categories of environmental concern for each life-cycle stage. It is obvious that the assessment is quite subjective. Once the assignment of rating is done, the overall Environmentally Responsible Product rating(RERP) can be computed as shown below:

    Where i is the life cycle stage;

    j is the category of environmental concern

    M is the element value in the environmentally responsible product assessment matrix

    Environmental concern

    ife Cycle Stage

    Materials choice

    Energy Use

    Solid Residues

    iquid residues

    Gaseous Residues

    Totals

    Premanufacture

    Product Manufacture

    Product Delivery

    Product Use

    Refurbishment, recycle disposal

    Totals

    2.9 Conclusion to The Reviewed Approaches

    The environmental concerns of different parties raise the need to develop a systematic approach for evaluating and assessing the environmental performances of products or processes, After investigating a number of impact assessment approaches, it is found that the main aspects considered in those approaches are the resource depletion and environmental effect on the ecosystem and human health. Most of the approaches perform the impact assessment in the life cycle perpective, in which the environmental effects of the waste stream on different life stages are considered.

    The accuracy of the evaluation results depends on the availability of precise data as the impact assessment approaches are usually data intensive.

    Most of the impact assessment approaches are difficult to implement because of the complexity of the evaluation procedure.

    The applicability of the impact assessment approach is limited as the sources of data for impact assessment are also limited.

    Few of the impact assessment approaches take care of the three main environmental concerns.

    Performing an LCA study is expensive in terms of the resources and time.

    To sum up, an effective tool for impact assessment should have a correct balance between the ease of use and the depth of study in a scientific way.

    3. Methodology

    The project will started with Goal and Scope Definition, it aims to defines the purpose and method of including life cycle environmental impacts into the decision making process. By determining the time and resources needed, It will ensure that the breadth, depth and detail of the study are compatible and sufficient to address all the issue. The entire life cycle of the product will be studied, thus we able to address all the input and output from all stage. Through the study of product life cycle, we could gain the data of the product, i.e. the usage of material, energy consumption during the production process or transportation and any waste or byproduct, Then, based on the resulted information to compile a inputs and outputs inventory which is called Life Cycle Inventory (LCI). The life cycle inventory is a used to quantify the input and output of the life cycle of the product, process or activity, like material requirement, atmospheric emission, waterborne emission, solid waste, and other releases, all the information will have address through a system boundary. The quantified data of the input and output of the product will be used in Life Cycle Assessment to evaluate the environmental performance of the product.

    CA refers to the environmental assessment of a product or a process throughout the whole life cycle, from cradle to grave. It is very complicated to perform a complete LCA because a lot of information and time is required (Graedel, 1995; Wright, 1998; Xiao, 2001). Resource capabilities, such as money, time, and human resources are the limiting factors in the development of data elements of an environmental impact study (Fava, 1993). As a result, no one has ever performed a complete LCA, although there have been the performances of very detailed LCAs. Instead, researchers suggest different approaches in performing a more simplified and streamlined LCA (Graedel,

    1998; VITO, 1995). The Weitz et al. (1995) study conducted a survey to identify the ways to simplify the LCA

    1. Screen the product with an inviolates list
    2. Limit or eliminate components or processes deemed to be of minor importance
    3. Limit or eliminate life cycle stages
    4. Include only selected environmental impact
    5. Include only selected inventory parameters
    6. Limit consideration to constituents above threshold weight or volume values
    7. Limit or eliminate impact analysis
    8. Use qualitative rather than quantitative information
    9. Use surrogate data

    Based on the approaches list in the Table 3-1, Graedel (1998) concludes that a legitimate streamlined LCA should have the following major characteristics:

    1. Evaluate all relevant life cycle stages
    2. Evaluate all relevant environmental stressors
    3. Include the four essential elements of LCA: goal and scope definition, inventory analysis, impact analysis, and interpretive analysis

    A simplified LCA system boundary is defined in this research. The typical product life cycle, which has been discussed in Chapter 2, provides a preliminary skeleton for simplifying the system boundary. The definition of the system boundary in this research is based on the Aluminum extrusion life cycle scenario, with reference to my company situation. In other words, the life cycle stages included in the system boundary should be relevant to the product life cycle in any traditional alloy manufacturer.

    A typical product life cycle includes the material selection, manufacture, distribution, operation, and disposition. The operation stage is irrelevant to the scope of this study because the product will be imported to other factor for re-assembly However, the other life cycle stages should be considered because they have a direct environmental impact in their region, such as the consumption of energy and the release of pollutants.

    Another consideration in setting up the boundary is data availability of different life cycle stages. Data refers to the input and output information at each life cycle stage. If data is not available, then the particular stage of the stressor inventory cannot be compiled, and an impact assessment cannot be performed. While the majority of input and output information can be investigated, there is difficulty in acquiring input and output information at some life cycle stages, such as the manufacturing stage. Manufacturers are not willing to release information pertaining to the input of energy and raw materials, the methods and technologies used, and the by-products of scrap materials and toxic chemicals of production, because these are trade secrets relating to their business success. For this reason, comparisons between different profile manufacturing stage and their environmental impact are not possible.

    The environmental impact caused during the life cycle stages: material selection, distribution, operation, and disposition, are assessed based on the defined assessment criteria. These criteria include energy consumption, materials consumption, and pollutants emission; these are commonly used in different LCA studies (Hanssen, 1998; Koroneos, 2004; Mendes, 2004; Mroueh, 2001; Qiao, 2002 and Scheuer, 2003).

    Environmental impact is considered at each of the life cycle stages. First, the Material Selection Stage assesses the amount and types of material used for extrude the aluminum profile. Second, the Distribution Stage examines the consumption of energy and the release of polluted gases (or pollutants) during the transportation of mobile phones from the

    manufacturing sites to Hong Kong. Third, the Operation Stage inspects the depletion of energy and the radio waves (frequency) emitted during the phone conversation. Finally, the Disposition Stage looks at waste produced from the product end-of-life. Notably, the study uses a standardized disposal scenario because of the stage complexity with many alternative ways of disposing the product (Vogtlder et al., 2001). For example, the products can be collected and disassembled, waste can be incinerated or dumped, and the toxic materials can be immobilized or incinerated. This research assumes that the mobile phone is disposed using the common practices of waste disposal in Hong Kong, which are incineration and landfilling. Therefore, the pollutants released from incineration and wastes for landfilling are assessed.

    Impact Categories Identification Different impact categories are covered in the assessment model for impact assessment. The Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)-Europe working group (Udo De Haes, ed., 1996) identifies three requirements for defining the impact categories in a LCA. The first requirement is the completeness: the impact categories defined should be capable of encircling assessment of relevant impact. The second requirement is independence: the impact categories considered should avoid

    overlapping if possible. Finally, the third requirement is the practicality: it indicates that the number of impact categories considered should not be too high. This research affirms the requirements from SETAC-Europe and follows the ISO 14042 (2000) suggestions, which say the three groups of impact categories that should be considered in the scope definition of a LCA study are resource use, human health consequences, and ecological consequences. For example, impact categories classified in the three damage groups are global warming, ozone depletion, acidification, resources depletion, and toxicological effects. This research defines the scope of impact analysis based on the recommendation from the ISO 14042; the three defined damage groups are Resource Depletion, Eco-Health Damage, and Human Health Damage.

    Based on the above requirements, the impact categories in the assessment model are identified (Table 3-2). Many studies indicate that the usual number of impact categories defined in LCA studies ranges from six to twelve (Andr?et al., 2000; Gonzez et al., 2002; Iqbal and Hasegawa, 2001; Knoepfel, 1996; Lee and Ding, 2000; Stewart et al., 1999). Accordingly, this impact assessment model includes nine impact categories.

    3.1 Goal and Scope Definition

    In Goal and Scope Definition, several decisions should be made in order to make effective use of time and resources, the statement in Goal definition are the purpose of the study, the Intended application, the intended audience. In scope definition, it should include the function of the product, the functional unit and system boundaries.

    3.1.1 Goal Definition

    In Goal Definition, the goal of the project will be presented, also it will address the intended application and audience of the project;

    3.1.1.1 Goal

    The goal for this LCA study was to identify main environmental issues of the product. The goal was to get an overview of the environmental impact thus to find out if it has any chance for improvement.

    3.1.1.2 Intended Application

    • To be used as a reference source to any related manufacturer
    • To be used to define and guideline in coming product development project
    • To be used for identifying arguments in customer communication
    • Data base for product design in material selection

    3.1.1.3 Intended Audience

    • Aluminum Manufacturer: Aluminum Manufacturer would like to know their environmental performance of their process, thus seeking any improvement of product and make decision on production process.
    • Product Designer: For product designer, they can based on the results to define what material or process can be use, to provide green design
    • Environmental Researcher and Scholar: This study is able to work as a reference for anyone what concern about environment, also to enrich the data base for LCA.

    3.1.2 Scope

    In this research, the assessment might not go though the entire product life cycle but will focus on the product life cycle from material extraction to transportation to other factor. Since the product will be assembled by other manufacturer, we are not able to monitor or control any energy consumption or impacts during installation of the product.

    3.1.2.1 Unit Description

    The product under study is a casing for amplifier, the unit mostly supplied to sub manufacturer for pre-installation or for retail purpose. The product is comprises a top cover and bottom with total weight 500g. The top and bottom of the casing made by aluminum and assemble with some steel internal columns which contribute to 7% - 8% of total weight.

    3.1.2.2 Function and functional unit

    The function of the product is used to provide the complete protection of the product, by assembled with the main unit or the product, it could isolate the internal electronic product with other component, it have another function which is have better installation by designing the feature or the shape. The component could be tidier and well prepare for assemble, cost and production efficiency is enhanced,

    The material application for casing is aluminum. It is soft, durable, lightweight and malleable, By the characteristic mentioned, it provide the benefit that is high dimensional stability and less machining required.

    The functional unit of this is defined for all material as 2000 unit of 500g casing, the study would be applicable to the similar mass of aluminum product and with the same production process.

    3.1.2.3 System Boundary

    In LCA, all flows should be followed until their inputs and outputs have all been translated into environmental interventions. In order to create a clear distinction between the product system and environment, and between elementary and other flows, the system environment boundary has to be clarify, On the top of the boundary, is represented where the resources are extracted and converted to feedstock material, i.e. Natural resource, raw material and ancillary material and water, it also represented the energy used for the system. In the boundary, it showed the entire production process and divided into step by step. At the bottom of the boundary, it shows the output of the whole process. The output could be product and services from the process, emission from the process, waste generated from the process, and byproducts and scraps from the production. All this information could be used in assess the environmental performance of the product.

    3.1.2.4 Description of the Process and System Boundary

    Direct extrusion of alloy is the most common method in use within industrial sector, which described as a efficient, low cost and productive process. The aluminum extrusion process mostly begins with the design process, and the design is based on its intended to be use to determines the production parameters, the figure1.4 showed the typical extrusion of a aluminum profile, the direction of extrusion here is from left to right.

    The inventory data cover the total semi-fabrication process steps, from extrusion billet production up to packaging before delivery, for the production of aluminum profiles such as those typically used in window or car component manufacture. The internal recycling of process scrap during the extrusion production is included.

    • Sawing and scalping
    • Melting
    • Extrusion
    • Streching
    • Sawing
    • Ageing scrap back to process re melting and casting
    • 268 kg scrap from sawing and scalping , 309 from extrusion stretching sawing and ageing

    3.1.2.5 Data Source

    The data of product boundary system is mostly reference to some free data source, but also literature and field data. In Table 1.1,it has showed the data for production of energy, auxiliary materials and feedstock materials, also the quantified output from the production process. There are limitations to data quality, especially for the production of upstream sourcing materials, where temporal, geographical, and technological information vary widely. So when hundreds of data sets are compounded into a life cycle system, the result is a snapshot of a system, which has to account for some factor of error.

    Direction

    Flow Type

    Substance

    I QTY

    O QTY

    Unit

    Environment

    Input

    Natural resource

    Brown coal

    158

    kg

    Ground

    Input

    Natural resource

    Crude oil

    43

    kg

    Ground

    Input

    Natural resource

    Hard coal

    151

    kg

    Ground

    Input

    Natural resource

    Natural gas

    135

    kg

    Ground

    Input

    Natural resource

    Alloying additives

    18.6

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Aluminum ingot

    1013

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Ar-gas

    0.53

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Chlorine

    0.081

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Electricity

    749

    kWh

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Fluxing agents

    0.36

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    NaOH

    28

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Nitrogen

    0.3

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Paper and cardboard

    3

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Refractory materials

    1.2

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Steel

    50

    kg

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Water

    30

    m3

    Technosphere

    Input

    Refined resource

    Wood

    28

    kg

    Technosphere

    Output

    Emission

    CH4

    2.2

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    Chlorides

    0.002

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    Chlorides

    2.7

    kg

    Water

    Output

    Emission

    CO

    0.23

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    CO2

    860

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    COD

    0.003

    kg

    Water

    Output

    Emission

    Dust

    0.69

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    HC

    0.79

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    HCI

    0.1

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    HF

    0.01

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    NH3

    0.0016

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    NOx

    1.5

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    Oil/grease

    0.063

    kg

    Water

    Output

    Emission

    SO2

    3.2

    kg

    Air

    Output

    Emission

    Suspended particles

    0.33

    kg

    Water

    Output

    Product

    Extruded aluminum profile

    1000

    kg

    Technosphere

    Output

    Residue

    Hazardous waste

    1.6

    kg

    Technosphere

    Output

    Residue

    Oil

    1.7

    kg

    Technosphere

    Output

    Residue

    Sludge

    29

    kg

    Technosphere

    Output

    Residue

    Solid waste unspecified

    60

    kg

    Technosphere

    3.1.2.6 Impact assessment data categories

    By classification the LCI result into impact categories, we could address the importance and significance of the environmental impacts of the product into the listed impact category; there are a list of term commonly used life cycle impact categories listed in the table

    Impact Category

    Scale

    CI Data Used

    Report Unit

    Global Warming Potential

    Global

    Carbon dioxide (CO2)

    Kg equivalents

    Acidification Potential

    Regional Local

    Hydrogen ion (H+)

    Kg equivalents

    Energy Consumption

    ocal

    Total energy consumption for the process

    Mega joules

    andfill use

    Regional Local

    The quantity of Solid Waste from the process

    Kg

    ‘The streamlined LCA method described by Graedel and Allenby (1996) suggests assigning scores of 0-4 to each part of the matrix. A score of 0 indicates to poor performance while a score of 4 indicates excellent performance. Graedel and Allenby suggest a variety of criteria for assigning scores. For example, for the premanufacture stage of the life cycle in the material choice impact category, criteria include the extent to which recycled materials are used and whether the materials used are relatively plentiful or relatively scarce. Filling in the entire matrix results in a total of 25 scores, ranging from 0-4. Clearly, assigning scores is a somewhat subjective process the rationalization for assigning the scores should be well documented.

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