September 16th, 2013 1:49 pm | Posted in Misc
What Kind of Life Cycle do Products Have?
Significant savings can be achieved by efficient product lifecycle management. Metropolia’s research center Electria, VTT, and a number of other business partners had a two-year cooperation project called Life Cycle Data Acquisition. The project investigated new ways to monitor and improve the life cycle management of products in electronics, machinery and metal products industries.
A product passes through many trails in its life cycle. Often such that are difficult to trace. The recently completed LCDA project aimed at finding new ways to take advantage of the identifiable information attached to individual products, as well as to gather information about the product’s life-cycle events in various stages, such as the manufacturing stage, logistics, maintenance procedures, operating conditions, as well as recycling.
“So far, the flow of information of the product life cycle has been broken at the point where the product is transferred from the manufacturer to the user, or at the latest, when a user submits the product for recycling. We have built a bridge, in order to continue the flow of information to the recycler and from a recycler back to the manufacturer,” summarizes project manager Antti Laurikainen from Metropolia.
Products can be marked with serial numbers, barcodes and RFID tags. The LCDA-project examined the compatibility of authentication methods for different types of products in various stages of their life cycle. The information collected from products is stored in a cloud-based database, not into the products or tags itself. This way the information is available and customizable in a database even when the product itself is not at hand, but the code is known. For this system to work globally, the identification number of each product has to be unique, and this requires the use of globally standardized notation.
Life cycle management creates significant savings and material efficiency
The project resulted in a clear understanding of the necessary systems and processes in order to implement a monitoring and data acquisition system that covers the entire lifecycle of products. The functionality of the system was piloted in various life cycle stages of the test products.
The results showed that with a carefully implemented monitoring and data collection system, it is possible to obtain significant savings and improving efficiency e.g. in manufacturing, logistics, condition monitoring, repair and recycling processes.
The project results are widely applicable in the Finnish industries, as well as in the processes of companies providing services. The entire value chain will benefit from unit -level identification, for example:
- the manufacturer receives accurate, up to date information on the product life cycle stages
- maintenance provider gets information about the maintenance history, as well as details of suitable spare parts and software updates
- company that provides recycling services receives information of the quantities of valuable materials used in the products, locations, and dis-assembly.
The large-scale deployment of the model requires structured approach and strategic decisions from companies, so that the entire value chain can be covered by the system. Technically, all of the system components needed already exist and are available to the public at an acceptable cost level. The project has already resulted in further development projects.
The project was funded by Tekes and the participants in addition to Metropolia and VTT were Teknologiateollisuus, Vantaan Innovaatioinstituutti, KONE, Tieto, Enics, Stera Technologies, Smartrac, ToP Tunniste, GS1 Finland, Thermo Fisher ja Akkuser.
The final report is available on the Tekes project gallery.
For more information please contact:
Project Manager , Antti Laurikainen
tel. 050 584 4867
e-mail: antti.laurikainen (ät) metropolia.fi