Life Cycle Engineering as a Tool for Design for Environment 2000-01-1491
Mercedes-Benz at DaimlerChrysler has been developing and applying Life-Cycle-Engineering (LCE) and Life-Cycle-Assessment (LCA) since almost 10 years. Extensive experience and know-how has been gained by two complete car LCAs and more than 100 LCAs for parts. According to our experience LCA/LCE is most effectively and efficiently used to support the development of new products.
One of DaimlerChrysler's Environmental Guidelines includes a statement, that our approach to environmentally acceptable design covers the entire product spectrum of the DaimlerChrysler Group, taking into account the product life cycle from design through disposal or recycling. The organisation of environmental management at DaimlerChrysler has a distinct structure of tasks: the central Environmental Protection Division coordinates all organisation/ plant related aspects, while all product related aspects are the responsibility of the divisonal business units. The general principle is a decentralised structure trying to avoid large responsibilities at central staff functions by delegating responsibilities to functions that are „close” to their duties. At Mercedes-Benz this responsibility is organised under Product Development (top responsibility has the board member for Development Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars) while the operational procedures are coordinated by the Design for Environment Department.
The Design-for-Environment Organisation and Process at Mercedes-Benz, which is an integrated part of the Product Development Process, is introduced. The implementation of LCE/ LCA in the Design for Environment Process is demonstrated by exemplary case studies. One case study is the analysis of the new S-class model including a comparison with the predecessor model. A LCA-study was performed to accompany the development. Compared to the forerunner model significant improvements with regard to the environmental performance could be achieved. On the part level, further examples include comparisons of a glass fibre reinforced polypropylene underbody panel versus PVC undersealment and different concepts for rear axles.