Discussing Sustainability with Sustaira

The PLM Green Global Alliance recently hosted its fourth interview and panel discussion exploring how PLM-enabling technologies support the sustainability imperative. These interviews expand upon our earlier articles on the Intersection of PLM and Sustainability by examining the progress towards sustainability being made by solution providers, their consulting partners and industry customers.

This time, PLM Green co-founder Jos Voskuil and Climate Change Moderator Klaus Brettschneider met with the founder and CEO of Sustaira, Vincent de la Mar. Sustaira provides the infrastructure and expertise for building sustainability apps based on the low-code development platform Mendix. Through its use of and relationship with Mendix, a 2018 acquisition by Siemens, Sustaira is a Siemens Digital Industries ecosystem partner as announced earlier this year.

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PLM & Sustainability August 2022

Experienced Product Lifecycle Management professionals, consultants, and solution providers all know that the biggest obstacle to implementing a PLM strategy is not in technology or software, but in business organizational cultures that resist critical self-examination and change, despite being confronted by inconvenient facts which threaten their performance or even survival.

Sound familiar to the hesitation and denial surrounding climate change that slows our global transition to a net-zero economy?

PLM consultants also tell their clients that every product manufacturer or process producer executes some form of PLM, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. The lack of a PLM business strategy, implementation plan, or supporting software solution is in fact one, albeit negligent, form of PLM.

Even when the “M” in this case is also for mismanagement.

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News on the Intersection of PLM and Sustainability June 2022

Welcome to the first edition of a monthly news digest from the PLM Green Global Alliance exploring the role of Product Lifecycle Management technologies in transitioning to a low-carbon sustainable circular economy. Our goal is to foster a global network that shares information between professionals who use, develop, research, market, consult, teach, or support PLM-enabling business strategies, technologies, and software solutions that can contribute to a more sustainable economy.

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Siemens Engineer Innovation for a Sustainable World

(May, 2022) PLM solution provider Siemens Digital Industries Software announces a new edition of Engineer Innovation focused exclusively on sustainability with the publication of “Engineer Innovation for a Sustainable World.” The authors write:

“Our civilization is quite literally built on oil, coal, and gas. Since the Industrial Revolution humans have become entirely dependent on a cheap and plentiful supply of fossil fuels.”

Image Credit Siemens Digital Industries Software

“They feed us, light our evenings, fuel our movements, keep us warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and provide endless piles of disposable “things” that we use every day. In the past 250 years, we have released over 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (and oceans). During 2021, atmospheric CO2 concentrations reached a record-level increase of 50% relative to pre-industrial CO2 levels.

“In the next years to come, we certainly are going to have to engineer a future without fossil fuels. That transition is the biggest engineering challenge that we have ever faced and will only be possible through the use of simulation and test.”

Learn more by downloading the e-book directly from Siemens HERE.

Sustainability Focused PLM From DeSL

In this new white paper on the role of PLM in creating a more sustainable retail and apparel industry, the digital transformation Fashion PLM experts at DeSL write that sustainability is no loner an option because:

“The bitter truth about the fashion industry is that it is one of world’s most significant
contributors to carbon emissions and waste. Analysts have estimated that the global
fashion industry emits more carbon than the combined economies of France, Germany,
and UK [McKinsey]. Valued at close to 3 trillion dollars, the textile and garment industries represent an immense global system [Fashion United]. And with the booming growth, draws greater attention to the negative impacts it is responsible for.”

Image Credit DeSL

“When examining the challenges that fashion companies must face today, we cannot
separate the joint requirements for sustainable products and ethically produced
products. Both areas must be addressed simultaneously to minimize the negative
impact on our climate and environment while protecting the rights and safety of
those people involved in producing the products. A common method of representing
these ideas is using ESG or environmental, social, and governance criteria.”

Learn more how PLM solutions for the retail and apparel industry can contribute to sustainability by downloading directly from DeSL the white paper “Sustainability – The Future of Fashion.”

Discussing Sustainability with PLM Solution Provider Dassault Systèmes

The PLM Green Global Alliance recently hosted its third panel discussion to explore how PLM-enabling technologies are supporting the sustainability imperative. These interviews expand upon our earlier article on the Intersection of PLM and Sustainability by examining the progress in sustainability being made by PLM solution providers, their partners and customers.

This time PLM Green co-founders Jos Voskuil and Klaus Brettschneider met virtually with executives from Dassault Systèmes (3DS), considered by many to be the market leader in enterprise PLM. Their discussion was with Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President of Industry Marketing and Sustainability and Xavier Adam, Senior Manager of Worldwide Sustainability.

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Sustaira Announces Beta Version of Enterprise Sustainability Application

(April, 2022) Just months after formalizing partnerships with Siemens Digital Industries Software and low-code application platform Mendix, Sustaira proudly announces the launch of the beta version of the Sustaira Sustainability and ESG Application Platform.

Among the first customers of Sustaira are organizations of all sizes, in different regions, and within a variety of industries, such as conglomerate Siemens Canada, renewable energy solutions provider Inovateus Solar, Xavier University of Louisiana, and manufacturer Logistick, Inc.

This beta version of the platform allows users to explore and demo the various Sustaira applications, such as ESG and Sustainability Goals and KPI Tracking, Emission Calculators, Carbon Accounting including Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, reporting and disclosures. For organizations interested in learning more, they can request early access to a trial and demo account.

Read the full press release at https://www.sustaira.com/news/sustaira-launches-beta-version-of-sustainability-and-esg-app-platform.

Discussing Sustainability with Autodesk

The PLM Green Global Alliance recently hosted its second panel discussion exploring sustainability topics with PLM-enabling technology and solution software providers. These forums expand upon our recent article on the Intersection of PLM and Sustainability by examining the progress in sustainability being made by solution providers, their partners, and customers.

This time, PLM Green co-founders Jos Voskuil and Klaus Brettschneider spoke with representatives from Autodesk, a well known leader of software solutions for the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing industries. Their interview was with Zoé Bezpalko, Autodesk’s Sustainability Strategy Manager for Design & Manufacturing Industries, and Jon den Hartog, Product Manager for Autodesk’s PDM and PLM solutions.

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Dassault Systèmes Introduces Life Cycle Assessment Solution

VELIZY-VILLACOUBLAY, France — February 24, 2022 — Dassault Systèmes (Euronext Paris: FR0014003TT8, DSY.PA) today announced the launch of “Sustainable Innovation Intelligence,” its life cycle assessment solution that enables companies to minimize the environmental impacts of the products, materials and processes they create and help drive the circular economy. Fully embedded in Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform and covering the entire value chain, the cloud-based solution uniquely integrates the ecoinvent database on the impacts of more than 18,000 industrial and agricultural processes, into virtual design, product development, manufacturing engineering, operations and logistics.

Image courtesy of Dassault Systèmes at https://www.3ds.com/newsroom/

“Collectively building a sustainable economy requires transforming the sustainable innovation process, from extracting raw materials to usage, reuse and recycling,” said Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice President, Industry, Marketing and Sustainability, Dassault Systèmes.  “Whether in manufacturing, infrastructure and cities or life sciences, data science experiences that combine LCA capabilities with virtual twin technology offer companies new ways to innovate by understanding how their decisions affect natural resources, ecosystems and health.  Through our 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we aim to help companies contribute to the United Nations’ ‘Decade of Action’ and thrive while doing so.”

Many businesses are working to reduce emissions in line with climate science and are aiming to develop more circular business models by 2030 by redesigning their product lines and manufacturing systems. However, most business solutions on the market today are still focused on measuring the footprint of yesterday’s economy, retroactively. To drive disruptive sustainable innovation, companies need to integrate ecodesign principles in the upstream thinking about their future products and processes before there is any environmental impact in the real world. Virtual universes provide this opportunity.

By combining LCA data with virtual twin technology, “Sustainable Innovation Intelligence” will empower LCA specialists, industrial designers, product engineers and manufacturing engineers to create circular life cycles by setting up sustainability requirements early on and collaboratively driving them throughout the design, product development and manufacturing engineering phases.  It integrates supply of materials, design, manufacturing, operations, logistics, sales, marketing, and end-of-life management, providing real-time insights that allow teams to identify problems or improvements virtually before acting on them, and ensure traceability and reliability.

“Sustainable Innovation Intelligence” relies on the life cycle inventory database of the not-for-profit ecoinvent Association, whose datasets measure and provide information on the natural resources withdrawn from the environment, the pollution released into water and soil, the emissions released into air, the products demanded from other processes, and the products, co-products and waste produced in diverse sectors on global and regional levels.

“Our partnership with Dassault Systèmes is the first one with a software company in which our database is used at the very beginning of the product and manufacturing engineering processes for sustainability assessments,” said Emilia Moreno Ruiz, Interim Director, ecoinvent Association. “LCA brings the metrics needed to evaluate environmental impacts across the product lifecycle.  Integrating that with virtual twin technology opens new possibilities to address these impacts early on.”

Read the original press release HERE.

Discussing Sustainability with PLM Solution Provider SAP

The PLM Green Global Alliance recently hosted its first in a series of panel discussions and interviews that will explore sustainability topics with enterprise PLM solution providers. These forums will extend our recent article on the Intersection of PLM and Sustainability where we next hope to learn about examples of progress in sustainability being made by solution providers, their partners and customers.

Our inaugural interview was with Darren West, Product Manager Lead for SAP’s Circular Economy Solutions, who is based in the United Kingdom. We were excited to speak with SAP after reading their numerous recent announcements about the importance of sustainability and hear how they “walk the talk.”

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The Balancing Act of Sustainability from Digital Engineering

The January / February 2022 issue of Digital Engineering is a theme issue focused on the contributions of digital engineering technologies, like PLM and CAE, to addressing sustainability and climate change.

In the article “The Balancing Act of Sustainability” the author Tom Kevan writes about the role of PLM in sustainability:

“The key to understanding and mitigating a product’s environmental impact lies in data from the full product lifecycle. Unfortunately, traditional PLM systems are less able to serve as the single source of truth. For example, when looking at the increase in front-end data, these software platforms often fall short of companies’ aspirations to bring together all required data points. Most legacy PLM systems are just not built to effectively handle today’s volumes of data.

This situation, however, seems to be changing. PLM software vendors have started taking the necessary steps required to close the data gap. The latest generation of advanced PLM platforms is proving to be more capable of facilitating product optimization across dimensions such as user experience; ease of manufacturing; maintainability; and environmental, social and governance performance.”

This article and others on the role of PLM-enabling technologies in creating a more sustainable economy can be read at https://www.digitalengineering247.com/download/digital-engineering-january-february-2022.

The Intersection of PLM and Sustainability


First, A Few Misconceptions about PLM and Sustainability

After writing my recent post The Road to Model-Based and Connected PLM, the topic that emerged to interest me the most is the contribution that “Real Product Lifecycle Management” can have to global sustainability. But first, allow me to address two widely held misconceptions about PLM and Sustainability.

For myself, as well as most PLM consultants and market analysts, real PLM is a business strategy that envelops the whole product lifecycle through requirements, ideation, development, manufacturing, logistics, quality, usage, service, and even decommissioning. So I use the term “real PLM”, to refute the common misconception that PLM is an engineering technology, software product, or enterprise IT system.

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Sustainable Product Configuration from Configit

This timely post from Configit explores the role of Configuration Lifecycle Management solutions in creating a more sustainable future where customers will have the product data necessary to make low-carbon choices. The authors write:

“In a Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) solution, the software parameters are set as the customer makes selections in the configuration process, ensuring the software configuration matches the customer requirements. Configuration Lifecycle Management is about ensuring all functions in an organization have an aligned view on the product variants that can be sold and manufactured. In a CLM solution, the technical features of a product are linked with the commercial features using rules. Traditionally, this means that sales and marketing will introduce parameters that represent the customer requirements and link them to the technical capabilities of the product….Carbon footprint can be added as an additional commercial feature that needs to be linked to technical information on the carbon footprint impact of each component used in the product.”

Read the full post on the Configit website HERE.

Digital Twins Enable Sustainability from Addnode Group

The Addnode Group of European companies has keen focus on the use of PLM-enabling technologies, like Digital Twins, to address the challenge of sustainability. They reference numerous examples in a new report that explores the role of Digital Twins in sustainability.

In the report, the authors write:

“Digital Twins are gaining recognition and popularity as a solution for digitally representing a product, building or even a human being. This is enabling new
opportunities to improve performance, operations, productivity, or quality of life.

Digital Twin strategy to drive sustainability programs can be profoundly effective. Digital Twins offer significant benefits when planning, implementing, and realizing:

  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Reduced material consumption and the switch to more sustainable materials
  • Workforce activity optimization – travel, server usage, etc.
  • Automation and robotization of hazardous and/ or repetitive tasks to improve working conditions and health.

Furthermore, Digital Twins provide several advantages in the recycling of a product based on a comprehensive and digital description, allowing for strong traceability and the efficient and controlled dismantling and recycling of material.”

Learn more about their pioneering work HERE where you may download their Digital Twins Report

Achieving Sustainable Manufacturing Through PLM and CLM

Sustainability in manufacturing is a hot topic. Customers, shareholders and regulatory agencies are increasingly demanding manufacturing companies provide sustainable, carbon-neutral options for the products they design, manufacture, sell, and service.

For many of these companies, most of the tools they need to do this are already available in their enterprise tech stack. These solutions include PLM and CLM. But how and where should they begin?

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Designing for Sustainability with CAE Simulation from NAFEMS

This timely article in NAFEMS Benchmark, authored by MSC Software Vice President Keith Hanna, explores the role of CAE simulation in the conceptualization, design, prototyping, operational use, and recycling of greener products that contribute to a more sustainable economy and planet.

Specific examples of the use of simulation referenced in the article include:

  • Designing new renewable energy projects (wind, wave, tidal, solar…)
  • Delivering smart, energy efficient buildings and built environment landscapes
  • Enabling optimal 3d printing for lightweighting of transportation vehicles
  • Designing and manufacturing of next generation eMobility solutions
  • Acoustic pollution abatement in urban and transport environments
  • Minimizing product waste at conceptual ideation and in manufacturing processes
  • Understanding materials inside products & their full sustainability impact including ‘reduce, re-use & recycle’ impacts, and
  • Ensuring legislative environmental compliance at the conceptual design stage.

Read and learn more about these examples at https://www.nafems.org/blog/posts/designing-for-sustainability-with-cae-simulation/.

Green and Digital Transformation

In the recent Engineering.com article “Green and Digital Transformation: PLM, ERP, Industry 4.0 toward Sustainable Innovation” PLM Green Global Alliance participant Lionel Grealou examines how enterprise platforms can contribute to sustainability goals.

Sustainability is on the agenda of every organization. Most OEMs and their supply chains have embraced the mantra of sustainability. This includes digital enterprise platform vendors which, like any other organization, are committed to sustainability.

Enterprise platform editors, a.k.a. PLM and ERP vendors, are being more and more open with their position on sustainability, both for themselves in building greener operations and in positioning their solutions to help manufacturers and the wider society in managing sustainability goals. This covers data traceability to sustainable requirements throughout the product lifecycle, meeting associated legislative requirements and tracking compliance and non-compliance implications.

In this article, I highlight how mainstream PLM and ERP editors communicate about their sustainability commitment on their website in context of the United Nations’ 17 goals toward sustainable development, and the recently announced European Green Digital Coalition.”

Read the full article HERE including Lionel’s take on what PLM solution providers are and are not saying about sustainability.

Sustainable Aviation Requirements from ADSE

Aviation is reported to be responsible for up to 2% of all human-generated CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Reducing emissions from regional aircraft is especially important because they spend more of their flight time during short legs in less-efficient ascending power. As part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, the engineering consulting firm ADSE has published “Aircraft Requirements for Sustainable Regional Aviation’ in collaboration with Embraer and the University of Stuttgart.

In this recent news post from ADSE the authors wrote: “The full report presents the top-level requirements for a hybrid-electric regional aircraft for up to 50 passengers. It addresses environment, market, operations, performance and regulations. In addition, different reference missions are defined to check whether these requirements are fulfilled. It paves the runway towards more sustainable aviation within two decades.”

Read more and download the report directly from ADSE HERE.

An Approach to Sustainable Product Lifecycle Management (Green PLM)

The paper “An Approach to Sustainable Product Lifecycle Management (Green PLM)” is one of the earliest references to the concept of Green PLM. The paper was first presented at the 2015 Manufacturing Engineering Society International Conference (MESIC) and subsequently published in the journal Procedia Engineering.

The authors C. Vila, J.V. Abellán-Nebota, J.C. Albiñanaa, and G. Hernández write in the abstract “Sustainable development has been, is and will be one of the worldwide main issues. Many initiatives have been launched to drive global conscientiousness to the problem of the impact of manufactured products. In order to become a “green company”, eco-brands and recycling are well understood but many initiatives are in silos and the unintended wasteful impact to other activities in the company is not always noticed. The key of sustainability also covers all the in-between activities and it depends on a real commitment of society, research and manufacturing firms. The factory of the future must have a Green Product Lifecycle Management strategy sharing responsibilities within the whole supply chain that must be achieved through committed people. The present work describes an approach to green product lifecycle involving mainstay phases: design, manufacturing and service, including usability and renewal. The contribution suggests a framework for sustainable product development that takes the whole product lifecycle into account.”

The paper examines the mission, vision, and objectives that a green or sustainable PLM strategy should have. From this approach a framework model is developed for use in the assessment and implementation of green strategies. This includes discussion of the knowledge, architecture, methodologies, tools, and processes needed over the product lifecycle stages of design, manufacturing, and service.

Download and read the paper from Science Direct HERE.

Six Ways to Monitor Environmental Footprint from XLM Solutions

In this post the author and PLM Green Global Alliance contributor Ilan Madjar from XLM Solutions writes: “Today, the topic of climate change and environmental awareness is at the forefront of society’s thoughts and actions as well as affecting governmental policies. Every day there is growing awareness of the problems caused by pollution and greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions. The US Government has recently placed new bills before congress geared at funding climate change initiatives and sustainable innovation companies. Such companies can be both new businesses / startups as well as those looking to re-engineer their existing processes to be more environmentally friendly and less polluting (not an easy task by itself). These companies are looking for tools to maintain sustainable innovation. Some of you may have seen the recent videos by Dassault Systèmes explaining their vision and plans to contribute to this environmental-minded transformation.”

“Dassault is providing solutions to track negative environmental footprints, although this is still in the development phases in some respects. This short article will focus on six easy tools/solutions geared to engineering and manufacturing which can be implemented today in 3DEXPERIENCE to improve environmental awareness.”

Learn more about this example of sustainability monitoring tools from a leading PLM solution provider HERE.