How to assess sustainability in automated manufacturing

Teunis Johannes Dijkman, Jan-Markus Rödger, Niki Bey

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    Abstract

    The aim of this paper is to describe how sustainability in automation can be assessed. The assessment method is illustrated using a case study of a robot. Three aspects of sustainability assessment in automation are identified. Firstly, we consider automation as part of a larger system that fulfills the market demand for a given functionality. Secondly, three aspects of sustainability have to be assessed: environment, economy, and society. Thirdly, automation is part of a system with many levels, with different actors on each level, resulting in meeting the market demand. In this system, (sustainability) specifications move top-down, which helps avoiding sub-optimization and problem shifting. From these three aspects, sustainable automation is defined as automation that contributes to products that fulfill a market demand in a more sustainable way. The case study presents the carbon footprints of a robot, a production cell, a production line and the final product. The case study results illustrate that, depending on the actor and the level he/she acts at, sustainability and the actions that can be taken to contribute to a more sustainable product are perceived differently: even though the robot is a minor contributor to the carbon footprint at cell or line level, from the perspective of a robot producer reducing the electricity consumption during the robot's use stage can be a considerable improvement in the carbon footprint of a robot, and thus in the sustainability profile of the robot.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE)
    PublisherIEEE
    Publication date2015
    Pages1351 - 1356
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering - Gothenburg, Sweden
    Duration: 24 Aug 201528 Aug 2015

    Conference

    Conference2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering
    CountrySweden
    CityGothenburg
    Period24/08/201528/08/2015

    Bibliographical note

    Conference paper, presented at the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE)<br/>DOI 10.1109/CoASE.2015.7294286

    Cite this

    Dijkman, T. J., Rödger, J-M., & Bey, N. (2015). How to assess sustainability in automated manufacturing. In Proceedings of the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) (pp. 1351 - 1356). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/CoASE.2015.7294286