Low impact Manufacturing- The Circular Economy
Tasks to be undertaken:
You are the sustainability manager for a manufacturer of electrically powered garden tools (hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, wood
chippers, lawn mowers, etc.) for home and small business users. At present, your material and energy flows are entirely linear (no
reuse or recycling). Your CEO has seen a presentation on ‘The Circular Economy’ and has asked you to investigate the extent to which
this concept could be applied to the company and its products. You are primarily responsible for the sustainability of the
manufacturing activities of the company, but your role also involves you in the planning of future products and the business model of
the organisation, since all these also affect industrial sustainability.
1. Describethemanufacturingprocessesusedforthethreemaintypesof component in your products, which are:
• Structural parts (handle, body, housings, etc.)
• Electrical parts (motors, switches, wires, circuit boards) and • Functional parts (blades, fans, etc.)
Note: Some of the components are manufactured by your suppliers and simply assembled in your factory. This includes most of the
2. Describeafuturesustainableindustrialsystemintermsofthestagesinthe lifecycle of a typical product after the company’s material and
energy flows have been made as ‘circular’ as possible.
3. Foreachofthetypesofcomponentabove,describetheshorttermandlonger term steps that the company should take to get to the sustainable
system you described above. Where possible, illustrate your arguments from case studies in the literature and indicate briefly any
relevant policy implications.
??Deliverables to be submitted for assessment:
Your report should be no more than 3000 words. Use appendices to include additional charts, illustrations and data as necessary.
Appendices should be no longer than 5 pages in total. The document should be produced in the style of a technical report (formal,
factual and to the point). You should use a font of size no less than 10 points.
????????How the work will be marked:
Assessment will be based on the extent to which the learning outcomes listed above have been met, and the extent to which the above
instructions, notes and guidance are complied with (for example regarding word limit, style, structure, referencing and citation,
etc.). The criteria below relate to the current pass mark of 50%.
• To achieve a marginal pass of 50% to 54%, you should list the main processing steps for the three types of components, outline a
future circular scenario and list a set of initiatives that the company should undertake to make the transition from a linear to
circular operations, indicating the timescales over which they might be practically applied.
• To achieve a pass of 55% to 59%, in addition to the above you should suggest a bold and innovative approach to the supply,
maintenance and disposal of electrically powered garden tools, indicating how this affects the product design, manufacturing processes
and business model of the company. You should also indicate the extent to which your changes are feasible in the short and longer
term, highlighting any trade-offs between different approaches to industrial sustainability, for example the trade-off between
longevity and ease of disassembly.
• To achieve a good pass of 60% to 69%, you should demonstrate the ability to critically compare different approaches to manufacturing
in order to make a transition from a linear to a circular economy. You should demonstrate an ability to synthesise knowledge from
relevant literature to construct responses which reveal good skills of critical analysis and insight.
• To achieve an excellent pass of 70% or greater you must demonstrate an authoritative grasp of the conceptual context of the
assignment and show insights into current debates around this subject. You should demonstrate the ability to express your arguments
clearly, concisely and accurately, with a high degree of technical competence.
Work that is deficient in most of the respects outlined above, showing no evidence of critical analysis will be awarded an outright
fail of 44% or less. A marginal fail of 45% to 49% may be awarded to work which demonstrates some understanding of the problem but
where the understanding, accuracy, organisation and critical analysis fail to justify a marginal pass.
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