Software tools helps in life cycle analysis

An online software tool could provide an easier way for manufacturers, engineers and product designers to perform a life cycle analysis of any product

. Product design agency Industrial Design Consultancy has developed the free tool – called LCA Calculator – to help designers assess the likely environmental impact of their designs. In an IDC survey, half of all companies admitted that the environmental impact of a product was not currently a major design consideration for them -- though 82% believed it would be in the future. Stephen Knowles, managing director of IDC, says: “Many companies don’t know where to start when it comes to assessing the environmental impact of their products. Until now there has not been a simple tool to assess the environmental impact of a product.” The calculator takes users through a number of simple, targeted questions relating to a product’s life cycle – such as where it is manufactured, how it is transported, its energy consumption and its disposal. At the end, the user gets a breakdown of the energy consumption and associated emissions during each stage of the produce life cycle. * Stephen Knowles will use the LCA Calculator to demonstrate some of the principles of sustainable design in a special workshop session at the forthcoming Innovation Conference, held at Woodland Grange, Leamington Spa on 14 May 2008. A second workshop features David Parker of Oakdene Hollins, who will talk about the principles of remanufacturing. Other confirmed speakers for the event include Professor Rick Mitchell of Cranfield University, plus representatives from PDD, Altro and Crowcon – all of which won Innovation & Design Excellence Awards last year.