Perspectives on greener product development and manufacturing from Sustainable Minds, our partners, customers and contributors.

Supply chain

Spartech Celebrates Grand Opening of New Technology & Innovation Center

By Sustainable Minds on September 19, 2011

On August 17, 2011, Spartech launched its new R&D facility. Sustainable Minds CEO had the pleasure of attending the event. This facility was designed expressly for Spartech to collaborate with partners and customers in early stage product development to create more sustainable products. Additional information can be found at http://www.spartech.com/08-17-11-tech-center.html

Al Dean, DEVELOP3D, says about SM 2.0: "It doesn't get much better than this."

By Sustainable Minds on August 11, 2011

This is a repost of Al Dean's review of Sustainable Minds 2.0.
Read the review on DEVELOP3D >
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is increasingly pushing towards the cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS). Al Dean takes a look at one of the industry’s pioneers.

Life Cycle Assessment is a corner-stone of any environmentally aware organisation’s toolkit, but there’s one serious issue if you’re looking to both integrate environmental impact assessment as part of your design process - particularly at the early stages.

Many of the historical solutions are mono- lithic systems targetting in-depth, expert led analyses once a product is complete. As such, they aren’t suited to the rapid fire, often quick and dirty conceptualisation and product development process.

Into this comes Sustainable Minds (SM) and its cloud-based service.

Hot stuff from ICFF 2011

By Sustainable Minds on May 31, 2011

Reposted from the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt blog.

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is a fun place to visit each year for new trends and ideas in commercial design.

Sustainability was a hot theme in the school projects represented at the ICFF: ICFF School

One project in particular highlights a rising trend in product design and marketing. The product-design program of the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts challenged students to develop a piece of furniture out of a single sheet of plywood. While the brief was interesting enough, flat-pack design is not new. The important twist here was a lifecycle analysis (LCA) of each design, comparing the furniture on various metrics such as materials, fasteners, glues, and shipping volume, using software by Sustainable Minds. It was fascinating to see how each design had greater or fewer impacts based on decisions such as having a flat or a curved seat. What if every product in this year’s ICFF had undergone the same LCA?

Read more >

Available now – SM Release 2.0 is all about data!

By Sustainable Minds on April 26, 2011

Sustainable Minds enables product development teams to rapidly model the environmental performance of new product concepts in the earliest stages of design. Key to this process is to have access to a broad and deep set of current life cycle environmental impact data. Science improves and so does the data. Sustainable Minds’ SaaS delivery means data can continually be updated and new data added so product teams have what they need, when they need it.

1. Introducing the SM2011 Methodology – The science inside our software
2. Custom impact factor creation service
3. Sustainable Minds Private SaaS – for custom and proprietary datasets

New in SM r2.0:

Sustainable Minds and Eco Innovators Partner to Advance Greener Product Design for Australian Manufacturers

By Sustainable Minds on March 16, 2011

Sustainable Minds today announced a partnership with Melbourne-based environmental consultancy, Eco Innovators to bring Sustainable Minds Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) software to Australian product manufacturers, designers, educational institutes and sustainability consultancies to meet the growing demand for product environmental performance information.

With the impending tax on carbon and the increased authority of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to prosecute false environmental claims, Australian manufacturers are looking to credibly measure and manage the environmental performance of their products.

Director of Eco Innovators, Leyla Acaroglu, recent Melbourne Design Award recipient, was responsible for the development of one of the first simplified online LCA tools – Greenfly. “I have had a great deal of experience with designing tools and resources to assist designers in integrating sustainability into product development, and for me, Sustainable Minds LCA software is the best on the market for supporting designers, manufacturers and product developers in understanding and reducing the life cycle impacts of their products.”

Will Sustainability Usher In the Next “Golden Era of Design?”

By Guest contributors on March 14, 2011

Guest contributor Amy Rowell is the founder and principal analyst at Four Winds Research, an independent market research and analysis firm dedicated to sustainable product design and manufacturing. Four Winds’ research efforts are focused on identifying the key issues and challenges facing designers and engineers today as they attempt to create sustainable products; understanding how organizations can effectively apply sustainability principles in product design and development both internally and across the supply chain; and the critical role that sustainability metrics, tools, and technologies promise to play in product design and manufacturing in the coming decade. Amy also authors a blog on this topic, Sustainable Product Design Tools and Strategies.

Webcast #4: MCAD Smackdown! Going head to head: direct vs. parametric modeling (Replay)

By Sustainable Minds on February 28, 2011

Originally recorded on February 24, 2011, some of the mechanical CAD industry's most knowledgeable (and opinionated) voices assembled to debate one of today's existential technology questions: When, why and how do you use direct and/or parametric modeling to best support your business? And, is there too much emphasis on the tools and not enough on the resulting design, i.e., is it difficult and expensive to manufacture, service, repair, use, transport and recycle or reuse?

Moderated by Cadalyst contributing editor and CAD guru Bill Fane, an all-star panel began to cut through the marketing hype to deliver some practical, expert insight about these two very different approaches to 3D modeling. Attendees posed their own questions to the panel throughout the discussion. The panel includes avid users and proponents as well as creators of the technologies:

Autodesk's Sustainability Workshop for engineering faculty and students

By Guest contributors on December 3, 2010

Guest contributor Jeremy Faludi (LEED AP) is a sustainable design strategist and researcher. He teaches green design at Stanford University, where he created the graduate/undergraduate class ME221: Green Design Tools and Metrics, and at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

I recently had the pleasure of helping Autodesk develop some sustainable design tutorials. It's called the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop, and is aimed at college engineering students and teachers. Along with Autodesk's fantastic Sustainability Initiative team members Dawn Danby and Adam Menter, and the video production wizards at Free Range Studios, we launched a set of five short videos on sustainable design theory that introduce essential concepts of sustainable design, such as whole systems thinking, life-cycle thinking, and lightweighting. The Autodesk folks also put together twenty tutorial videos on how to implement the concepts in Autodesk software, along with datasheets and other resources. More great content is in the works, on other topics.

Webcast #3: The Truth About Environmental Performance Software (Replay)

By Sustainable Minds on November 24, 2010

Originally recorded on November 18, 2010, this webcast features Nancy Johnson, editor-in-chief, Cadalyst magazine as moderator, with key representatives from the LCA and PLM worlds discussing the issues honestly and openly:

  • Terry Swack, CEO & Founder, Sustainable Minds
  • Jørgen Vos, Product Management Director, Life Cycle Analytics, PTC InSight Product Analytics
  • Lise Laurin, founder, EarthShift
  • Amy A. Rowell, founder and principal analyst, Four Winds Research

In the effort to create greener products, environmental performance software is but one piece of the puzzle. Sustainable product development requires new knowledge, skills, and processes - supported by technology and applied across the product lifecycle.

Webcast #2: Why Hasn't PLM Taken Over the World? (Replay)

By Sustainable Minds on November 16, 2010

This discussion, originally recorded on November 4, 2010 is everything we hoped to create in this new podcast series: intelligent, challenging, fun…and utterly devoid of marketing hype. Listen in as Nancy Johnson of Cadalyst moderates a panel including Ben Eadie, Chad Jackson, Oleg Shilovitsky and Chris Williams discuss PLM as you have never heard it discussed before.
We hope you enjoy the replay >