Presently available systems for sustainability assessment do not fully account for aspects related to a product’s manufacturing. In an effort to make more sustainable decisions, today’s industry seeks reliable methods to assess and compare sustainability for manufacturing. As part of the Sustainable Manufacturing program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), one of our objectives is to help develop the needed measurement science, standards and methodologies to evaluate and improve sustainability of manufacturing processes. As a first step towards developing standard reference sustainability characterization methodologies for unit manufacturing processes, in this paper we focus on injection molding with energy as the sustainability indicator. We present a science-based guideline to characterize energy consumption for a part manufactured using the injection molding process. Based on the study, we discuss the selection of process parameters and manufacturing resources, determination of cycle time, theoretical minimum energy computations, and estimated energy computations for characterizing the injection molding process.

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