Reducing material inputs

Improvement <- A: raw material intensive <-

Prefer the use of recycled materials (secondary materials)

The use of recycled materials reduces the demand of primary materials and also minimizes the amount of waste in the production process. The total materials flow needed for the product can thus be reduced. In addition, the overall consumption of resources for the production of recycled material is usually considerably lower than in the production of the same quantity of primary material (e.g. copper, aluminum...). In order to ensure the required materials characteristics an appropriate proportion of new material may be added, if need be.

Preferably use single material components and/or reduce number of different types of material

If one succeeds to manufacture each of the individual components of a product of one single material this constitutes an essential contribution to closed materials cycles (recycling). This goal can certainly not be realized in all cases for reasons of function, strength, etc. Nevertheless, single material components should be preferred wherever possible.

Reduce material input by design aiming at optimum strength

The less material has to be used in a product the less resources will have to be consumed in the production process. Therefore, the objective must be to use as little material as possible. Of course, the requirements of strength and stability and service life have to be taken into account, too. A design aiming at optimum strength of individual parts and components contributes to a targeted utilization of materials.

Reduce material input by integration of functions

A critical review of the structural design with a view to the functions needed may result in a considerable simplification by integration of functions. Combining several functions in one component does not only reduce material input but also facilitates assembly and disassembly as there are fewer connecting parts.

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