Function Impact Matrix for Sustainable Concept Generation: A Designer’s Perspective

by | May 15, 2010

Authors: William Z Bernstein, Devarajan Ramanujan, Srikanth Devanathan, Fu Zhao, John Sutherland and Karthik Ramani
Proceedings of the ASME 2010 IDETC/CIE, Paper no. DETC2010-28340, pp. 377-383.

📑 Download the Paper

Abstract: Reducing the environmental effects of products has become a significant focus of corporate strategies. As a result, easy-to-use ecodesign tools thatcan be implemented during the early design stage are essential for corporations to gain a competitive advantage in product development. A novel eco-design method, the function impact matrix (FIM), is being developed as a tool to enable the development and evaluation of design concepts by correlating environmental impacts with product functions. This paper aims to illustrate the efficacy and relative ease of use of the FIM. Understanding designers’ interactions with visual tools and cognitive load analysis of designers can provide new insight that aids in the development of easy-to-use ecodesign tools. In this pilot study, design engineers with varying levels of experience and self-perceived eco-design knowledge are asked to redesign an alarm clock under four different design scenarios: 1) using no eco-design tools, 2) using the LiDS wheel and an ecodesign checklist, 3) raw life cycle assessment (LCA) data and 4) the function impact matrix. Surveying the designers reveals that the function impact method carried the highest overall rank compared to the other ecodesign tools with regard to ease of use, quality of data, ability for identifying redesign opportunities, and overall effectiveness. As suggested by the designers, a combination of a modified LiDS wheel with the FIM would lead to a helpful tool for sustainable concept generation.

William Z Bernstein

William Z Bernstein

Dr. William Z. Bernstein is a Mechanical Engineer in the Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) Group of the Systems Integration Division of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Bernstein's research at NIST primarily contributes to two programs: (1) Performance Assurance for Smart Manufacturing Systems and (2) Enabling the Digital Thread for Smart Manufacturing. Prior to joining NIST, Dr. Bernstein was a member of the C-Design Lab at Purdue University. His research at Purdue was focused on establishing frameworks and methods to enable environmentally conscious product redesign activities. Central to this work was the idea of infusing principles from the fields of Information Visualization and Visual Analytics into sustainable design. Dr. Bernstein's current research interests include Sustainable Design, Data-driven Manufacutring, Product Lifecycle Management, Visual Analytics, and Information Visualization.