Ecodesign case study transport wheelchair by svo89594

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									                                This document was developed within the framework of a
                                project Transfer of Knowledge in the Field of Ecodesign co-
                                financed by the Leonardo da Vinci EU Programme. For more
                                information about the project see www.learn-ecodesign.net.




             Ecodesign case study
             transport wheelchair

                      English summary


                            September 2005




Authors of the study: Klára Koubská (koubska@cir.cz), Robert Hanus
(hanus@cir.cz)




                   Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
                   Centre for Innovation and Development
                     Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
                     Centre for Innovation and Development



Contents
1     Objectives and scope of the ecodesign study ...................................................... 3
    1.1      Objectives of the study ................................................................................. 3
    1.2      Scope of the study ........................................................................................ 3
    1.3      Analytical tools used .................................................................................... 3
    1.4      Input data...................................................................................................... 4
2     Brief characteristics of the product....................................................................... 5
    2.1      Material composition of the product .............................................................. 5
    2.2      Production procedures and technologies used............................................. 6
    2.3      Functional characteristics and product usage............................................... 7
    2.4      Packaging and distribution............................................................................ 7
    2.5      End-of-life treatment of the product .............................................................. 7
    2.6      Marketing and promotion of the product ....................................................... 7
3 Assessment of environmental impacts of the product in selected phases of its life
cycle............................................................................................................................ 8
    3.1      Objectives of the product´s environmental impacts assessment .................. 8
    3.2      Defining the scope of the product´s environmental impacts assessment
             ………………………………………………………………………………………8
    3.3      Quantitative assessment of the product´s environmental impacts ................ 9
      3.3.1         Methodology of assessment .................................................................. 9
      3.3.2         Assessment of production phases in terms of materials and procedures
                    ………………………………………………………………………………..10
      3.3.3   Assessment of the product´s usage phaseChyba!                                            Záložka             není
      definována.
      3.3.4    Assessment of the end-of-life product´s disposal phaseChyba! Záložka
      není definována.
    3.4      Qualitative assessment of the product´s environmental impacts ............... 10
      3.4.1         Assessment methodology ................Chyba! Záložka není definována.
      3.4.2   Assessment of the product´s packaging and distribution phase
      environmental impacts ....................................Chyba! Záložka není definována.
    3.5      Summary of the product´s environmental impacts assessment ................. 11
4     Suggested ecodesign solutions for the product ................................................. 11
    4.1      Optimalization of selected materials for the product ................................... 11
    4.2      Optimalization of the production procedures .............................................. 12
    4.3      Optimalization of the distribution system ................................................... 12
    4.4      Optimalization of the product´s usage phase ............................................. 12

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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development



  4.5   Optimalization of the end-of-life product´s disposal .................................... 13
  4.6   Product – service system............................................................................ 13
5 Recommendations/suggestions for marketing communicationsChyba!                                   Záložka
není definována.
  5.1   Marketing of the ecodesign product.........Chyba! Záložka není definována.
  5.2   Recommendations/suggestions for marketing of the transport chair . Chyba!
  Záložka není definována.
6 Conclusions of the study and recommendations/suggestions Chyba!                                  Záložka
není definována.




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development




1 Objectives and scope of the ecodesign
  study

1.1 Objectives of the study
This ecodesign study focuses on evaluating the existing construction of the wheel
chair Sella used for transport of patients and immobile persons produced by the
company BorCad ltd. Its aim is to analyse the environmental impacts of the product
and subsequently search innovative solutions that would reduce these impacts and
at the same time improved generally the product´s profile, not only in terms of the
environment.
The study applies ecodesign principles on the product, which means that it searches
such solutions for the product´s design that will minimize environmental impacts in its
whole life cycle.



1.2 Scope of the study
The study focused on evaluating the following phases of the transport wheelchair’s
life cycle: processing the input materials and production procedures, packaging and
transportation of the product, the product´s usage phase and the end-of-life disposal
phase.
The study does not include assessing the environmental impacts of acquiring the
production materials, transporting the materials to the production place and impacts
of the production machinery needed to produce the assessed/evaluated product.
The product´s end-of-life disposal phase is evaluated in terms of possible alternatives
and their environmental impacts in view of the fact that the chair is a completely new
product and therefore there is no real end-of-life disposal yet.
The reason for excluding the other phases from evaluating the overall environmental
impact of the product is the lack of exact data, or more precisely extensive time
consumption and expenditures needed in order to acquire them.



1.3 Analytical tools used
The assessment/evaluation of the product´s environmental impacts was carried out
through the use of the following analytical tools:
   -   methodology Eco-indicator 99 for simplified quantified analysis of the
       product´s life cycle



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              Centre for Innovation and Development



   -   simplified LCA analysis using Sima Pro (Pré Consultants, 2005) software for
       the quantification of the product´s environmental impacts in its whole life cycle
   -   LCA    Checklists    methodology      (INETI,        2005)     for    qualitative
       assessment/evaluation of the product.
When searching innovative solutions and ways of reducing the transport wheelchair’s
environmental impacts ecodesign strategies according to the LiDS-Wheel (Van
Hemel, 1995) model were used.



1.4 Input data
The input data needed for the product´s analysis were provided by the producer
BorCad ltd. The ECO It. application database was used to evaluate the
environmental impacts of some of the materials.




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                    Centre for Innovation and Development




2 Basic information about the product
This is a brief summary of the technical and business data concerning the product
provided by the producer.
The adjustable wheelchair Sella is intended for
transportation of patients in hospitals/medical centres
and care providing establishments (retirement homes,
medical institutions, hospitals, private medical care).
This manually operated wheel chair equipped with
hydraulic mechanism allowing its positioning from a
vertical to a horizontal position and also with a gas
spring ensuring easy adjustment of the loading area.
Apart from horizontal adjusting of the seat it is also
possible to adjust arms as well.
The accessories of the wheel chair include a table, an
infusion holder, a drip stand, a urine bag holder, a
side/storage pocket, a hook, a footboard, a bolster and a
drinks holder.
The producer accentuated during the design process of the wheel chair its
ergonomics, the comfort and safety of the patient, easy manipulation and interesting
design. Of the technical parameters, emphasis was placed especially on low weight
and a great number of accessories.
The planned annual production volume is approximately 1200 pieces.

2.1 Material composition/structure of the product
The product is composed of the following materials:
Material                %       Weight (kg)

Steel                   88         55,27
ABS                     2           1,3
PUR                     3          1,97
Rubber                  1,8        1,15
PE                      0,5         0,3
Imitation leather       0,2        0,13
Wood                    1,5         1,5
Powder paints           0,8         0,5
Hydraulic oil           0,3         0,2
PA                      1,2        0,75




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                 Centre for Innovation and Development




2.2 Production procedures and technologies used
During the production process of the transport chair following technologies are
applied/used:


Production operations for the metal parts:
   •   Melding MAG
   •   Melding TIG
   •   Division – sawing, cutting
   •   Lathe turning
   •   Milling
   •   Bending
   •   Rolling/Tube forming


Production operations for the plastic parts:
   •   Injection of plastic materials
   •   Vacuum pressing/moulding of plastic materials


Surface finishing:
   •   Surface finishing with powder epoxy polyester
   •   Surface finishing by zinc coating and electrophoresis


Assembly:
The assembly of the wheel chair is carried out by the producer before packaging and
distribution. Individual steps of the assembly and disassembly are described in the
service manual of SLA Sella.
Unspecified ordinary tools and utilities are recommended to be used for the assembly
and disassembly. The screw joints/connections are fixed every time they become
loose with preparation Loctite (supplier Henkel ltd.). Apart from solid materials in the
wheel chair there is also hydraulic oil and compressed gas in the gas spring. Neither
of these substances requires according to the service manual refilling or
maintenance. No other necessary resources needed for the assembly are mentioned
in the manual.




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             Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
             Centre for Innovation and Development




2.3 Functional characteristics and manner of product´s
    usage
The transport chair has been designed and constructed to reach a lifetime of fifteen
years. It serves for sitting down, lying and transportation of people with
limited/reduced mobility. It is controlled and manipulated by a second/another person.
Individual parts of the wheel chair can be positioned, adjusted or secured in many
ways.
During the usage phase of the wheel chair the following maintenance procedures are
recommended: unspecified cleaning of the artificial leather upholstery prior to every
use, cleaning with a soft cloth and alkaline cleaning agent (soap water), disinfection
with common disinfection agent with aldehyde basis, greasing the winding of the
clamping studs or the junctures degreased as a result of prior disinfection.

2.4 Packaging and distribution
The wheel chair is distributed tilted in cardboard boxes with special cuts ensuring a
firm positioning of the wheel chair in the package and thus its protection against
damage. The package is secured on the outside by plastic packing bands and
wrapped in a protective plastic sheet. The box is clearly marked with information
about the nature of the transported product, its basic technical characteristics and
information about the producer. The producer buys these cardboard boxes from an
external supplier. According to the information provided by the supplier of the
packages, the paper parts are recyclable and the same is true for the polypropylene
packing bands and the protective plastic sheet. The usual manner of transportation is
by road with the use of vans (with capacity of 6 wheel chairs per journey) or lorries
(with capacity of 60 wheel chairs per journey).

2.5 End-of-life treatment of the product
The producer states in the manual only that during the disposal phase local/regional
regulations concerning waste disposal need to be respected.

2.6    Marketing and promotion of the product
This product is promoted and offered on the Czech market and abroad. The
promotion is done by the marketing department of the manufacturing company in
cooperation with an external graphic studio. Detailed information about the product is
available on the internet website of the producer and the product is also
accompanied by informative leaflets. The producer also presents this product at trade
fairs.
Marketing and promotion focus on the quality and variety of the functional
characteristics of the wheel chair and its attractive design. The promotion materials
do not provide any information concerning the product´s environmental impacts.




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development




3 Assessment of environmental impacts of the
  product in selected phases of its life cycle

3.1 Objectives of the product´s environmental impacts
   assessment
First we need to determine what environmental impacts arise during the individual
phases of the product´s life cycle to be able to apply in the design (or redesign)
process the principles of ecodesign. The producer then decides which of these
environmental impacts should be reduced and which ecodesign strategy will be
applied.



3.2 Defining the scope of the product´s environmental
   impacts assessment
The following life cycle stages of the transport wheel chair have been selected for the
purposes of this study and these were subjected to environmental assessment:


                     Packaging                   Product´s               End-of-life
Produc                   and                      usage               treatment of the
 tion                distribution                 phase                   product


The production stage involves the environmental impacts related to the processing
of materials and raw materials for production and also all the production procedures
including the production of semi-finished goods.
The packaging and distribution stage involves evaluation of environmental impacts
of individual packages, packaging procedures, distribution of the product to the
consumer and end-of-life treatment of the used packages.
The evaluation of the product´s usage stage concentrated on the processes of
maintenance and repairs of the product as well as on the auxiliaries (for cleaning,
maintenance) needed for common use of the product.
The end-of-life treatment of the product stage was assessed in terms of
alternatives of possible ways of treating the product at the end of the use phase of its
life cycle.




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development




3.3 Quantitative assessment of the product´s
   environmental impacts


 3.3.1     Methodology of assessment
The methodology used for the quantitative assessment of the product´s
environmental impacts was the Eco-Indicator 99.
The methodology divides the impacts of individual stages of the product´s life cycle
into three basic categories:
   •   Impacts on human health
   •   Impacts on the quality of ecosystems
   •   Impacts on exploitation of natural resources


Thanks to the weight system, the values expressing the impacts of individual phases
of the product´s life cycle are aggregated into one single value, which we designate
as eco-indicator.
Eco-indicators are dimensionless figures (nominated by an abbreviation Pt = point),
which express the overall environmental impacts of the products or processes. The
higher the value of the indicator, the more serious environmental impact it represents.
The methodology uses and combines data from various databases in order to
determine the impacts of individual materials and activities as exactly as possible. In
view of the ´free-dimensional´ expression of the Eco-indicator value which allows
accumulation of different characteristics into the final score, this methodology of
evaluating environmental impacts is the most suitable for comparing different
alternative design solutions of the same product, or comparing the impacts of
different referential products
With respect to the specific character of some of the data, the methodology Eco-
Indicator 99 was used to assess the production stage, the product´s usage stage and
the end-of-life treatment of the product stage. The distribution and packaging stage
was subjected to qualitative assessment by another method.




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development



 3.3.2    Assessment of production phases in terms of materials
           and procedures
To determine the environmental impacts of the individual construction materials and
of the procedures used to process them, the construction of the wheel chair has been
divided into these following production components:


                                  Transport wheel chair



                  Chassis                 Seat place        Accessories

                 Steel frame                 Seat           Infusion holder

                  Wheels                   Backrest             Table

             Hydraulic cylinder              Arms             Footboard

             Connect. compnts.           Leg support

              PE components

                ABS covers




3.4 Qualitative environmental impact assessment

 3.4.1     Methodology of assessment
The method of qualitative assessment of environmental impacts based on LCA
Checklists was chosen for the phases of packaging and distribution of the transport
wheel chair. The preference of the qualitative method lies in the fact that optimisation
of both phases considers not only the impacts of individual selected materials, but
also the transport logistics, take-back systems alternatives, i.e. the parameters that
cannot be always expressed in quantitative terms.
The LCA Checklists methodology operates with sets of questionnaires focusing on
evaluation of individual life-cycle phases: Each aspect of the phase is attributed an
evaluation score A (ideal situation), B (potential for improvement) or C (improvement
needed). Evaluators go through the whole list of aspects and finally decide about the
solutions suggested for those aspects receiving scores C or B (i.e. those with
negative environmental impacts).




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development




3.5 Summary of the environmental impact assessment of
   the product
Based on the quantitative and qualitative assessments of the environmental impacts
of the transport wheel chair, the production phase was evaluated as the most
significant life-cycle phase. This result is mainly caused by selection of the
construction material (steel). Other materials used, as well as individual production
processes, have lower impact on the environment.
The phases of packaging and distribution of the product were evaluated as relatively
non-problematic from the point of view of environmental impact, at the same time
providing wide space for product innovation and ecodesign solutions.
The end-of-life phase was evaluated only on the basis of a probable situation as the
product is brand new and there have been no pieces aimed for end-of-life disposal
yet.



4 Ecodesign solutions for the product
Based on the results of assessment of real impacts of the transport wheel chair on
the environment in all phases of its life cycle the phases with highest impact on the
environment were defined, as well as phases with large potential for innovation and
improvement of product characteristics.
Ecodesign solutions were suggested for selected phases based on the LiDS Wheel
methodology of the product life cycle. These solutions primarily improve
environmental profile of products, but they also have positive impact on their
functionality, lifetime, utilisation costs and other aspects that are important from the
point of view of product competitiveness.



4.1 Optimisation of material selection
The following ecodesign solutions were suggested for the transport wheel chair:
Solution 1.: Increased part of the recycled steel in the product
Solution 2: Replacing steel with other material
Solution 3: Reuse or recycling of transport wheel chair wheels produced from
polyamid (PA 66)
Solution 4: Using recycled plastics for production
Solution 5: Regeneration of residual powder colours
Solution 6: Replacement of toxic glue with a more environmentally friendly
solution
Solution 7: Replacement of hydraulic oil with a biodegradable oil

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             Centre for Innovation and Development



Solution 8: Modification of the seat design and footrest part of the wheelchair
Solution 9: Reducing number of components and assembly parts of the
wheelchair
Solution 10: Reducing the number of used materials
Solution 11: Marking and description of all used materials




4.2 Optimisation of production processes
The production processes for the transport wheel chair were evaluated as less
significant from the point of view of their environmental impact. However, the
producer is advised to consider the following ecodesign solutions:
Solution 12: Reducing energy consumption during production
Solution 13: Reducing the amount of auxiliary materials and eliminating waste
production in the process of material processing
Solution 14: Considering the alternative of eliminating the surface treatment



4.3 Optimisation of the distribution system
As was already pointed out in the summary of environmental assessment of the
transport wheel chair, the packaging and distribution phases do not represent any
significant problem in terms of impact on the environment. The qualitative evaluation
of these phases, however, showed a number of innovative solutions:
Solution 15: Reduced product packaging
Solution 16: Reuse system for product packaging
Solution 17: Reduced volume and weight of packaging
Solution 18: Use of recycled packaging materials
Solution 19: Changed means of transport to the customer
Solution 20: Take-back system for the product packaging
Solution 21: Producer’s own system of transport and logistics



4.4 Optimisation of use phase
With respect to the fact that the transport wheel chair does not consume any electric
energy in its use phase, suggested ecodesign solutions focus mainly on the auxiliary
materials, repairs and maintenance of the product. Suggested solutions contribute to
prolonged product lifetime, commonly accompanied by user satisfaction and reduce
environmental load.

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              Centre for Innovation and Development



Solution 22: Ensuring easier maintenance and repairs of the product
Solution 23: Reduced consumption of auxiliaries and their environmentally
friendlier alternatives
Solution 24: Reduced production of waste in the use phase



4.5 Optimisation of end-of-life phase of the product
Despite the fact that the end-of-life phase of this product is now only hypothetical, it is
necessary to design such system that will ensure the most effective and economical
disposal of the product. We primarily search a solution that renovates, reuses or
recycles. Waste disposal should be the last solution to choose.
With respect to what was just declared, the following ecodesign solutions were
proposed:
Solution 25: Restoration, modernisation and reuse of the product
Solution 26: Product recycling



4.6 Product-service system
Ecodesign does not search only alternatives of existing parameters of a product. It
also looks for ways to optimise product functionalities.
The transport wheel chair offers space for the following improvements in terms of
function:
   -    Using a modified wheel chair as a temporary bed
   -    Adding electronic remote control to the manual handling of the wheel chair
   -    Installing device for massages or other therapeutic equipment


Apart from extended product use the producer can also consider to add some
services connected with the product use. It enables the producer to widen its
business scope as well as strengthen the producer-customer relationship.
The following additional services could be considered:
    -   Renting wheel chairs to customers who do not want to own them
   -    Creating a system of shared use of the products
   -    Offer to replace an old model with a new one once it appears on the market
        (the producer can reuse parts and improve customer loyalty)
   -    Complex service of transport wheel chairs as well as other products




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              Centrum inovací a rozvoje (CIR)
              Centre for Innovation and Development




5 Conclusions and recommendations
The analysis of environmental impacts of the transport wheel chairs in all phases of
its life cycle showed that the environmental profile of the existing product is relatively
satisfying, especially thanks to material composition, simple production processes
and the fact that the product does not consume energy in the use phase.
However, several ecodesign solutions could be proposed to improve existing
environmental profile. This study did not include evaluation of feasibility of these
solutions. The producer should therefore consider all suggested ecodesign solutions,
evaluate their feasibility and economic potential.




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