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Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13761-13776; doi:10.3390/su71013761

Life Cycle Assessment of Process Eco-Innovations in an SME Automotive Supply Network

1,†,* , 1,†
and
2,†
1
Department of Economic Studies, University “G. d’Annunzio”, Viale Pindaro 42, 65127 Pescara, Italy
2
Cometa Group, Zona Ind.le Est, Casoli, Chieti 66043, Italy
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Giuseppe Ioppolo and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 23 July 2015 / Revised: 23 September 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 12 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Abstract

The aim of the study presented in this article is to assess, from an environmental standpoint, a set of eco-innovations applied to the production process of an automotive component. The eco-innovations were developed by a supply network of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the framework of a project named “Hi-reach”. The component considered is a motorcycle rear wheel spindle. The conventional version is obtained by machining a single forged steel part. The Hi-reach version is indeed manufactured by joining a shaft to a flange; in addition, conventional surface treatments are replaced by a plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) treatment and other machining steps are improved. This process was conceived with the aim of maintaining (or enhancing) the technical performance of the spindle and reducing production costs. A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was carried out to compare the two scenarios described. Those eco-innovations resulted in significant improvements of the environmental performance of the analysed component, ranging, on average, between 50% and 70% for the impact indicators considered. Our results also highlight the role of SMEs in promoting process eco-innovations and the increasing relevance of LCA as a tool to support decision making in manufacturing. View Full-Text
Keywords: eco-innovation; automotive industry; SMEs; life cycle assessment; Hi-reach eco-innovation; automotive industry; SMEs; life cycle assessment; Hi-reach
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Simboli, A.; Raggi, A.; Rosica, P. Life Cycle Assessment of Process Eco-Innovations in an SME Automotive Supply Network. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13761-13776.

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