Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : An Expert System to Support Green Design and Manufacturing
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) has developed EcoSys(TM), an information system and expert system for demonstration of environmental impact analyses of product designs and processes. SNL recognizes that green design is an integral component of an ideal product realization process. Unfortunately, the assessment of tradeoffs between the environmental attributes associated with competing processes or products is extremely challenging, particularly due to many technical, societal, and cultural perspectives associated with environmental quality. To enable emerging concurrent design and agile manufacturing initiatives at both corporate and national levels, a methodology for green design that incorporates these perspectives and provides timely design information and decision support is critical.
Accessible electronically, EcoSys (TM) is an enabling technology for the design-for-environment community. Through rule-based search algorithms, the expert system represents the explicit interdependencies between products, processes, and materials. EcoSys (TM) provides designers and process engineers with unique perspectives regarding the relative environmental impact between a set of alternate designs. Impact analysis models provide environmental assessments at various levels of environmental consciousness. The information system is host to detailed life cycle product, process, and material data that are critical to the analysis. Cost-effective assessment of the environmental impacts of products can be performed despite the trend toward increasing product complexity.
First delivered in October, 1993, the EcoSys(TM) prototype has been the subject of peer review and has since been extended to permit real-time definition of alternate product structures. While the initial prototype system was designed to support assessments of electronic assemblies and associated processes, the EcoSys(TM) framework will support assessments of a broad range of product and process types. Sandia is actively seeking partners to collaborate in refining EcoSys(TM) and extending the system's application to a variety of industries.
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