Life Cycle Simulation (LCS) helps you to model and predict how products you are going to develop behave both economically and environmentally. For instance, what is the best idea to design an electric toothbrush? Possible design options could be: (a) disposal batteries, (b) embedded (non-replaceable) rechargeable batteries, and (c) replaceable rechargeable batteries. From the business point of view, unless your company is also producing batteries, these options do not make any big differences. However, environmentally environment protection authorities do not support option (a), simply due to the fact this will generate solid wastes. Performance- and environment- wise, option (b) seems the best but the end of life
treatment of rechargeable batteries may cause trouble. Business-wise, option (c) is the most attractive because this will lead to an opportunity of developing more expensive models.
Based on discrete event simulation techniques, LCS allows comparisons between these product designs. However, the current LCS cannot properly deal with use patterns and users’ behaviours (e.g., new purchases or maintenance). Therefore, this research aims at the development of “higher fidelity” LCS using meso-level knowledge (deep knowledge about failure modes and mechanisms), use patterns, operational conditions, and market aspects. Hi-Fi LCS provides engineers, management, and other stakeholders with an opportunity to design new sustainable products and services.
Currently, the research focuses on building models about the relationships between the use patterns and operational conditions. As an example, in close collaboration with a jet engine maintenance service provider, we collected and analysed fundamental data. The data included engine condition data (e.g., wear of components), flight data (usage), and maintenance data (repair data, maintenance cost, etc.). A simulator was developed and we are now analysing the outputs.