Next Article in Journal
Measurement and Sustainability of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area through an Employment Survey on Access to the Labour Market
Previous Article in Journal
Understanding Innovation for Sustainable Business Management Capabilities and Competencies under Uncertainty
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

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

1,*,†, 1,† and 2,†
Department of Economic Studies, University “G. d’Annunzio”, Viale Pindaro 42, 65127 Pescara, Italy
Cometa Group, Zona Ind.le Est, Casoli, Chieti 66043, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Giuseppe Ioppolo and Marc A. Rosen
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13761-13776;
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)
PDF [1270 KB, uploaded 12 October 2015]


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

Figure 1

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).

Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top