Methodik für eine nachhaltigkeitsoptimierte Produktentwicklung

  • Methodology for sustainability-optimized product development

Beger, Anna-Lena; Feldhusen, Jörg (Thesis advisor); Löwer, M. (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : Shaker (2020)
Book, Dissertation / PhD Thesis

In: Schriftenreihe Produktentwicklung und Konstruktionsmethodik 30
Page(s)/Article-Nr.: XXII, 133, xvii Seiten : Illustrationen

Dissertation, RWTH Aachen University, 2019


To curb the effects of climate change and to finally halt it, it is to be expected that in the near future, in addition to large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will also be affected by new environmental regulations e.g. targeting the reduction of emissions. In particular, the expansion of the CO2 emissions trading system is seen as the most promising means of achieving this. As a consequence, since sustainability is not a core issue in SMEs and expert knowledge and resources with respect to environmental engineering are often not sufficiently available, this can lead to problems. To successfully comply with new regulations the challenge for SMEs is therefore first and foremost to identify the company-specific sustainability potential with existing resources and secondly to make constructive and economically effective use of it. To address the described problem a methodology is developed, which combines existing approaches of simplified life cycle assessment with elements of classical engineering design methodology and extends them in a targeted manner. Using minimal resources, the methodology initially determines the environmental impact of existing product families and individual products over all life cycle phases. In addition to the components, the functions of the product are also assessed indirectly via a product architecture. Hence, it is ensured that all functional relationships are maintained. Moreover, an algorithm is developed on this basis that automatically selects the most sustainable subcomponents of a product family without losing any of the product’s functionality. A further focus is on the holistic visualization and evaluation of components and functions of the environmental product data. This enables designers to identify meaningful design parameters for sustainability optimization without being an environmental expert. The parameters are finally successively optimized with regard to their environmental impact over all life cycle phases, taking into account the interaction with other parameters of the product development process. The methodology was validated by means of a case study. The results support the hypothesis that an automated and systemic life cycle assessment based on company-internal product knowledge represents an effective basis for the targeted, company-specific sustainability optimization of product portfolios. For a new variant in a product family whose original products have the greatest environmental impact in primary production, the CO2 equivalent was reduced by up to 77% over all life cycle phases. An optimization based on a single product, which has the greatest environmental impact in the utilization phase, led to an emission reduction of up to 43 %.


  • ISBN: 3-8440-7212-8
  • ISBN: 978-3-8440-7212-9