PHASE 5 Showtime: Final Presentation At the end of the course, students prepare pre- sentations, reminiscent of pitching new ideas to a board of directors. They share their innovative concepts and how this design can contribute to sustainable solutions. Each team presents to a diverse panel of stakeholders including Crown engineers and designers, myself, and the Universi- ty of Dayton’s KEEN team. “For Crown, this experience adds value on multiple levels. Most importantly, we aim to expand students’ knowledge of sustain- able practices in product design through hands-on experience. Additionally, we are provided access to very intelligent students who bring diversity of thought, new ideas, and solutions to some of our product challenges. We welcome their ideas, which are further evaluated for potential implementation.” — Ray Denison, director of Crown’s design services The collaboration brings value to all parties — Crown, myself, and the students. Regardless of the students’ career paths, they will be better equipped to support the enterprise toward sus- tainable growth. At the end of the course, they have experienced what most students will during their first years on the job. Getting to Work: Developing Alternative Designs PHASE 3 The Project Begins: Working on Real Problems Now that students know where to target their design efforts, they begin brainstorming new concepts. The students research alternative materials, manufacturing approaches, and designs. They model their own concepts in LCA software and compare them to the baseline to understand the differences in environmental performance. As students complete their brainstorming, Crown personnel and I facilitate an in-class design dialogue concerning the feasibility of initial design concepts. We emphasize that larger environmental gains are usually made with deep design thinking. This discussion helps students stay on track. Often, designs can be made better with a simple change of materials, which is usually the students’ first idea. For example, one team proposed replacing polyurethane foam in a component with coconut fiber material. The coconut material is completely biodegradable and made by blending coconut fiber and latex. It doesn’t require dyes, bleaches, or chemical cleaning agents and comes in different thicknesses and levels of firmness. This team also located the closest coconut fiber manufacturer to Crown’s facilities to understand the environmental impacts related to transportation. This recommendation provided 28 percent improvement in environmental performance over the current design. In another example, one team went beyond simply thinking of material changes in packaging materials. They considered the entire system. The current packaging materials include foam pads that are not easily recyclable. Like true entrepreneurs, the team understood Crown’s rural roots and proposed the use of locally grown straw wrapped in an easily recyclable paper as a cushion to replace the foam. This suggestion resulted in more than 100 percent environmental improvement over the current design. The environmental benefits of growing the straw outweighed the impacts of paper production. Instead of just changing material, this team thought through the entire supply chain — a true implementation of DfE. Crown selects specific student challenges as part of the collaboration. Students begin the project with a baseline life cycle analysis of a chosen current design to guide their future redesign efforts. The project goal, provided by Crown, is to create an innovative and more sustainable alternative design. The scope is broader than you might expect. It begins with the extraction and production of the raw materials and continues through their final disposition at the end of the product’s life. Key information is provided by Crown in the form of bills of material, process descriptions, engineering drawings, and physical part samples. To facilitate the LCA, Crown sponsors the use of Sustainable Minds® software. This is an easy-to-learn, cloud-based LCA tool that accelerates the analysis of multiple design scenarios and allows students to see how design decisions are connected to environmental impacts. PHASE 4 “It’s nice to take a class in which we’re working with a real company. Having a legitimate client instead of theoretical situations helps with motivation.” — Saehan Lenzen, senior mechanical engineering student During the lecture series, we discuss: • Methods to improve the energy efficiency of lift trucks • Safety considerations for truck operators and other personnel • Efficient and eco-friendly manufacturing processes • Design aspects related to high-quality customer care • Reduce, reuse, and recycle concepts intended to minimize environmental impact from design through end of life disposition The connection these topics drive to traditional engineering courses is apparent to students. Figure 1: DfE in early design “I enjoy being able to work with an actual company ... I get work experience from a class.” — Justin Dickman, senior mechanical engineering student Getting Engaged: Visit to Crown Our entire class visits a Crown manufacturing facility to get a firsthand look at their manufacturing operations and the DfE projects. The experience is a real eye opener. For some students, it is their first look inside a highly sophisticated and remarkably clean manufacturing operation. Some students previously envisioned manufacturing as a dirty business rather than a career aspiration. However, they quickly realize that it can be a great place to work, learn, and grow. “Throughout the tour, people who ‘own’ the process shared what they do and how they contribute to the Crown business. It really shows the passion instilled in the employees to make great and innovative products,” commented renewable and clean energy major Robert Stachler. During the tour, students get a hands-on introduction to the lift truck components they will analyze in their assigned projects. They engage Crown designers and engineers to fully understand the life cycle of the components. PROGRAM LIFE INFLUENCE PLAN CONCEPT DESIGN MANUF USE END OF LIFE MAKE AN IMPACT PHASE 1 Knowing Your Stuff: Learning DfE The project begins with a series of interactive lectures led by a cross- functional Crown team (environmental director, design directors, engineers, and others) and me. During the lectures, Paul Magee, Crown director of design, emphasizes that “utilizing DfE early in design is a fundamental element of progression toward more sustainable products and systems.” The students are presented with specific examples of how sustainability drives efficiencies and innovation especially in the design stage, as shown in Figure 1. PHASE 2 42 43