Environmental impact comparison of distributed and centralized manufacturing scenarios

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Title: Environmental impact comparison of distributed and centralized manufacturing scenarios
Author: Senyana, Lionel
Abstract: Centralized manufacturing and distributed manufacturing are two fundamentally different methods for producing components. This work describes a centralized manufacturing scenario in which parts are produced via forging and finish machining at one central location and are then shipped to the end user. The distributed manufacturing model involves a scenario in which an additive manufacturing process (Electron Beam Melting) is used to produce parts to near net shape with minimal finish machining. Because the process doesn't require molds or dies, production can take place in small production quantities "on demand" at job shops located close to the end user with little transportation. In other words, parts are not produced until they are needed. This is in stark contrast to the centralized model where large quantities of parts are produced and then distributed at a later date when needed from warehouses. The aim of this thesis is to compare the environmental impact of these two different production approaches under a variety of conditions. The SimaPro software package has been used to model both approaches with input from the user involving part size, amount of finish machining, transportation distances, mode of transportation, production quantities, etc. Results from simulation models indicate that at small production quantities, the environmental impact of forging die production dominates the centralized manufacturing model. As production quantity increases, finish machining begins to dominate the environmental impact. Despite the large transportation distances involved, the transportation distance and mode of transportation actually have relatively little impact on overall environmental impact compared with other factors. Regardless of the production scenario being evaluated, the distributed manufacturing approach had less environmental impact. The production of titanium powder as the raw material contributed the majority of environmental impact for this approach. Although this work examines environmental impact, it does not consider the cost of producing a part. It should be pointed out, however, that the distributed manufacturing approach could someday have a profound effect on supply chain management for replacement parts by reducing or eliminating the need for warehouses along with associated inventory carrying costs, product obsolescence costs, heating and cooling energy, etc.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/14566
Date: 2011-11

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