In recent years, energy consumption issues, boosted by environmental concerns, are becoming of paramount importance in the manufacturing field. In particular, machinery sector has been the theatre of several initiatives and projects aimed at an eco-efficient design and use of the machines. In this context, energy consumption modeling is considered a powerfull tool to foresee and optimize energy efficiency by design. On the other side, while each company has to develop numerical models of the internally designed machine elements, it has to be taken into account that machine productivity, eco-performance and cost are all strongly influenced by the employed commercial components (e.g. motors, sensors, controllers, transmissions, guide ways), that must be also be modeled but it is unrealistic to expect that the machinery builder develops by himself all required models.
In this paper, the industrial adoption of simulation tools and methodologies for energy consumption modeling is regarded as an application of the more general “Model Based Product Development” methodology. In particular, the development of “functional component models”, seen as Virtual Components (“VC”) to be assembled in the Virtual Machine, is suggested as the key to foster co-modeling activity involving suppliers. A proper business model is then proposed to guarantee the sustainability of the co-operation scenario.
Finally, the strategy concept is illustrated by some examples concerned with machine tool accessories and components.