International Conference on Engineering Education for Sustainable Development (EESD) (7th : 2015)

A course in sustainable manufacturing Moon, Young B.


Sustainable manufacturing is a vision that the manufacturing community has for contributing to the global society's ability to address sustainability issues. While there is no standard definition of sustainable manufacturing, one universally accepted notion is that sustainable manufacturing must optimally address a comprehensive set of highly interdependent objectives from environmental, economic and social perspectives. This is impossible without systems' thinking that guides the sustainable manufacturing activities every step of the way from product idea generation, to adoption of sustainable design and manufacturing processes, to selection of sustainable materials, and ultimately to product disposal, reuse or recycling. New course on sustainable manufacturing has been developed and offered several years now at Syracuse University, USA. An underlying principle in developing and offering the course is the premise that sustainability manufacturing requires a holistic view to a complete product lifecycle from the moment of conceiving new product ideas till the end of the product life, while simultaneously considering the impact of decisions made in each phase of the manufacturing activity on sustainability. The principle has been realized by: (i) adoption of a broadened definition of manufacturing and (ii) a semester-long project of developing sustainable products. In the course, manufacturing means not only material transformation processes but also manufacturing systems including supply chain considerations for sustainability. The sustainable product development project provides students with a context where they can apply methods, techniques and tools being acquired from the course. Also the developed products can lead to further entrepreneurial opportunities.

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