Life Cycle Assessment with regard to quality, cost and environmental impact of the processes developed within NHYTE

WP7 was dedicated to the Life Cycle Assessment with regard to quality, cost and environmental impact of the processes developed within NHYTE. In this frame, the following tasks were performed:

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the NHYTE processes
  • Life Cycle Costing Analysis (LCC) of the NHYTE processes
  • Quality Analysis of the NHYTE processes
  • Optimization of the NHYTE processes with regard to Quality, Cost, and Environmental footprint
  • Comparison with conventional processes used so far

The processes that were analyzed were:

  • In-Situ Consolidation Automated Fiber Placement process (ISC AFP) vs Autoclave process (conventional)
  • Low-cost Hand lay-up Autoclave process vs Autoclave process (conventional)
  • Induction Welding process

Moreover, for the optimization of the above mentioned NHYTE processes, a holistic Index was developed and implemented. The criteria involved in the index are quality, cost, and environmental footprint functions which are considered to be interdependent. Quality is quantified through measurable technological features which are required for the component under consideration. The cost has been estimated by implementing the Activity-Based Concept (ABC) using an in-house developed tool. Environmental footprint is assessed by exploiting the ReCiPe method using the ‘open LCA’ software. The weight factor of each of the above criteria in the Index is calculated by using the Multi-Criteria Decision (MCD) method Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The Index developed has been applied to support the selection of the appropriate production technique for a typical aeronautical composite part. The alternative manufacturing options considered have been the NHYTE processes under investigation as well as the classical Autoclave manufacturing technique for comparison. On the base of the above considerations the holistic Index P is introduced as:

Where:
Q is the selected quality feature or function, determined as Qcase refers to the quality obtained for the case under investigation and Qautoclave refers to the respective
values when using an autoclave which is considered a reference point. It implies the assumption that by involving the autoclave the properties under consideration are taking their maximum value, i.e. the component has the best quality. Qcase is understood as certain mechanical or other technological properties that are significant for the structural component under consideration; apart from mechanical properties, other features like the degree of crystallinity and the amount of porosity could be accounted as quality features. The dependency of the selected properties to the component’s manufacturing process parameters are derived experimentally and formulated using appropriate mathematical expressions. C is the term accounting for the cost of the component and is defined as   . Ccase corresponds to the total cost estimated through the cost analysis made for the case under investigation; Cautoclave corresponds to the respective costs by using the autoclave process which is considered as a reference point. The definition of the autoclave as the reference point implies the assumption that the autoclave is the most cost consuming process among the processes currently in use. Ccase and Cautoclave are functions relating to the cost of the structural component under consideration to the manufacturing process parameters and are derived empirically. C is understood as a ‘penalty’. Therefore in equation (1) its value is deduced from the quality term value Q. The higher is the value of the ratio  i.e. the ratio of the cost of the manufacturing process under consideration to the cost of using the Autoclave, the higher is also the ‘penalty’ to the Index’s value. E is the term of the Index accounting for the environmental footprint and is defined as.  Ecase stands for the sum of the most aggravating environmental factors calculated by means of an LCA tool for the case under investigation, namely E = Climate change plus Freshwater Ecotoxicity plus Ionizing radiation. Eautoclave refers to the respective value of the autoclave process which is used as a reference point assuming it is the most environmentally aggravating process among the processes currently in use for producing aircraft structural thermoplastic components. Ecase and Eautoclave are also functions of the manufacturing process parameters and are derived empirically. Also, E is understood as a ‘penalty’, and therefore it is also deduced from the value of quality term Q. The higher is the environmental footprint of the manufacturing process considered the higher is also the ‘penalty’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Core competencies achieved in comparison to the current state-of-art

Despite the efforts that have been undertaken, tools, and concepts allowing for holistic and interdependent optimization of a product with regard to quality, cost and environmental impact do not exist in the literature. In NHYTE, a novel holistic component and process optimization index is developed and introduced, allowing the interrelated consideration of Quality, Cost, and Environmental impact of a process. To this end, the Index provides a decision support tool for the optimization of aircraft composite components and manufacturing processes as well as for the selection of the appropriate manufacturing technique of a component when various techniques are considered as manufacturing options. In this frame, the newly developed Index has been implemented for the assessment and optimization of the abovementioned NHYTE processes.


The criteria involved in the index are quality, cost, and environmental footprint functions which are considered to be interdependent. Quality is quantified through measurable technological features that are required for the component under consideration. The cost has been estimated by implementing the Activity-Based Concept (ABC) using an in-house developed tool. The environmental footprint is assessed by exploiting the ReCiPe method using the ‘open LCA’ software. The weight factor of each of the above criteria in the Index is calculated by using the Multi-Criteria Decision (MCD) method Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The Index developed has been applied to support the selection of the appropriate production technique for a typical aeronautical composite part. The alternative manufacturing options considered have been the NHYTE processes under investigation as well as the classical Autoclave manufacturing technique for comparison. By involving the proposed Index, the clear cost and environmental advantages of each process were demonstrated.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723309.