The present work sets the basis for the development of a systematic eco-sustainable computer aided design procedure. During years modules for the specific design of all phases of a product life-cycle have been developed: manufacturing, assembly, reliability, maintainability, resilience, disassembly, end-of-use, etc.
This work instead places itself in a broader context of “Design for ecology”. It means to overcome the limits of a classic design process such as “Design for X”, through an approach that makes the designer aware of the consequences that each design modification (to the geometry, the material or the manufacturing process) determines on the environmental impact of the product entire life-cycle.
This work proposes a method of integrated management of (1)virtual prototyping software (such as structural optimization, FEM and CAD), (2) function modelling methodology and (3) LCA tools. It is mainly based on the configuration of structural optimization strategies especially conceived to obtain lighter and more compact products, therefore, more eco-sustainable. The method, due to the nature of the instruments it employs, can be applied only to products that can be modelled in a CAD environment. The article, in particular, shows how to articulate the workflow between virtual prototyping and LCA tools.
A case study regarding a moped rim is used to explain the procedure while software implementation is still underway.