The growing social concern about the environment makes the reverse logistics activities to become the focus of numerous businesses opportunities. The present study tries to identify which are the most important motivations and the profits obtained by the firms which implement reverse logistics activities. To corroborate this, an empirical study was carried out in the Spanish auxiliary automotive industry obtaining that the profits are possible to classify in two big groups: economical and ecological profits. A 'green' image has become an important marketing element. This development has stimulated a number of companies to explore options for take-back and recovery of their products. Overhauled products may be used as spares or sold on secondary markets while requiring only a small fraction of the original production costs for repair so this is and important economical profits. It has been used EQS as software tool in order to verify the considered hypothesis.
The automobile manufacturing industry plays a very important role in a country's economy. The importance of automobile manufacturing industry lies in its sheer size and complexity in terms of the direct and indirect influence it commands across many other industries. While millions of people are employed in the automobile manufacturing industry, it is estimated that more than two and half times that number are employed in the auxiliary companies that supply parts to the automobile manufacturing companies. The auxiliary companies represent a group of businesses of various sizes, types, and geographical locations, producing a vast variety of products ranging from the very simple to the extremely intricate. In this study, the current environmental practices of management in the core Spanish auxiliary companies that do business with the automobile manufacturing industry (and thus form a large part of the automobile manufacturing industry's supply chain) are investigated. We show that while automobile manufacturing companies are under scrutiny to become more and more environmentally friendly, not only at their manufacturing stage but also at their products' useful and EOL stages, there appears to be no such burden on the auxiliary companies. Our conclusion is based on an elaborate survey conducted during the fall of 2004 of Spanish auxiliary companies with questions about the characteristics, environmental practices and reverse logistics related activities carried out by the companies.
Finding an efficient way for determining a near-optimum disassembly sequence for complex products is becoming an important challenge for many industries, given the increasing environmental awareness of both governments and society. As a first approach, mathematically exact methods can be used to deal with this problem. But when disassembly
costs that are dependent on the sequence and the number of components inside the product structure are prohibitive, heuristics or artificial intelligence-based methods are normally much more suitable to fulfill industry requirements. Nevertheless, when the size of the instance is very large, sequential algorithms are too slow. In this paper, a multi-start, greedy heuristic is defined and tested on a sample of products previously developed to measure the performance of a Scatter Search metaheuristic dealing with the same problem. The performance of the new algorithm was demonstrated to be competitive when compared with the one done under Scatter Search. It is also notably faster especially as the number of components inside the product structure increases.
In recent decades, regulations and markets have been exerting pressure on designers and manufacturers to take more responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products throughout their life cycles. The problem of finding the disassembly sequence represents one of the major challenges when attempting to close product life cycles by carrying out reuse, recycling and remanufacturing practices. Many different techniques have been used to deal with this problem, varying from exact to heuristic solutions. So far, however, not much effort has gone into measuring and comparing the efficiency of this wide set of techniques. This is partly due to the difficulties of getting a wide population of real products, belonging to different industries and with different degree of complexity that might constitute a representative population for carrying out this kind of task. In this paper, a generator of complex products is presented that is able to build up products with hundreds of components joined by different kinds of joints in such a way that a theoretical “good” disassembly sequence is always known. The efficiency of different methods for general products can thus be easily compared. The performance of a Scatter Search algorithm is tested as an example of its application in this case.
European environmental legislation has significantly evolved over the last few years, forcing manufacturers to be more environmentally aware and to introduce ecological criteria in their traditional practices. One of the most important goals of this set of regulations is to reduce the amount of solid waste generated per unit of time by promoting recycling, repair, reuse and other recovery strategies at the product end of life (EOL). However, one of the most difficult steps for manufacturers is that of deciding which of these options or which combination of them should be implemented to get the maximum recovery value taking into account the specific characteristics of each product. In this paper, a recurrent algorithm is proposed to determine the optimal end-of-life strategy. On the basis of the product bill of materials and its graphical CAD/CAM representation, the model will determine to what extent the product should be disassembled and what the final end of each disassembled part should be (reuse, recycling or disposal). The paper starts by presenting an
overview of the model, to then focus on the CAD-integrated algorithm for determining the optimum disassembly sequence, a necessary step in EOL decision-making.
Life Cycle assessment is becoming a successful methodology for improving products and processes design from the environmental viewpoint. However, important difficulties can be already found when applying the methodology in SMEs. In this paper, a software application for simplifying LCA in SMEs is proposed. The streamlining takes place in the assessment phase, where qualitative and quantitative inputs are introduced in a fuzzy inference system, for assessing the level of impacts provoked by evaluating a set of predefined fuzzy rules. These rules have been developed by a group of experts in Chemical Engineering.