Low impact Manufacturing- The Circular Economy
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 electrical parts.
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
????????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
• 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
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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