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  • Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" design?

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by GarethW, Jul 6, 2011.

    ?

    Which one is best?

    1. Lightweight's definitely the best

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    2. Green's the best, actually

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    3. An equal "lightweight-to-green" ratio would be a healthy compromise

      66.7%
    4. Mainly lightweight but slightly green

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    5. Mainly green but slightly lightweight

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    6. Prefer heavy and environmentally unfriendly anyway

      0 vote(s)
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    7. Rhubarb! Rhubarb!

      0 vote(s)
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    8. None of the above.

      33.3%
    1. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      Strange question of the month. Discuss.
       
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    3. KevinC

      KevinC Well-Known Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      If cost, weight, size doesn't matter. I'll choose the green design. I think as a mechanical engineer, I always want to design with "green" in my head as much as possible, but if the product tries to be "green" and it doesn't sell, it doesn't help the industry at all to be green.
       
    4. OllieT

      OllieT Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      Can I choose both? If a green design weighed the same as a non-green design, then I would say the green design would be more popular. But that's only based on the fact that weight is the issue or only issue. What about performance or size or other parameters? I think the goal is to equal all non-green factors and parameters in designing a green design.
       
    5. MikahB

      MikahB Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      For the products I develop (motorsports and automotive aftermarket related), lightweight is often the overriding concern. Many components are low volume pieces produced using traditional (subtractive) manufacturing techniques. So, making them lighter produces more waste, requires more time and energy, and is generally the antithesis of "green." What can cost-effectively be achieved by the production means I have available drives design more than anything, and unfortunately these factors are often at odds with more sustainable designs.

      Now, as additive manufacturing continues to mature and component densities and mechanical characteristics approach those of traditional manufacturing, the opposite may become true - at least for me. For a recent "hands-on" prototype I reduced cost of the SLS "printed" part by removing the core material from components. Easy enough to do with my CAD software, but something that I could never actually produce with machining or even casting. But, doing so reduced the material required for the part by 60%! Had I a line of additive manufacturing machines ready to churn out aluminum, steel, or titanium parts dense and strong enough to work on a racecar, what a huge change that would be! I could reduce material costs (and associated waste, transport costs, etc.) by a huge margin. My parts could then be green AND lightweight AND strong.

      I'm very excited to be on the cusp of this technology becoming viable for mass production - it will be good for all of us and for Mother Nature as well.
       
    6. Mgine

      Mgine Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      Mikah,
      You are absolutely right about your conclusions for the future of SLS/FFF.
      But you dont have to wait longer, Arcam have already cheaper and more productive machines on sale compared to the competitors, and the material properties are as of it was from subtractive manufacturing!
      http://www.arcam.com/
      I have met the inventor, he is a genious, and this will only grow and grow.
      Now when I think of it, I want to buy one myself...!
       
    7. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      what abt particles emissions and wear ?
       
    8. MikahB

      MikahB Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      Yes, ARCAM is on the forefront of the movement. As impressive as the technology is, however, it's hardly practical - on per part cost basis - for items other than in a very few specialized applications (complex shapes, expensive raw materials, etc.). I do expect, however, that will not be the case for too long. I would love to have one to play with... Or five! :mrgreen:
       
    9. danielgetahun34

      danielgetahun34 New Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      Wat matters most is ur design concideration.
       
    10. hayden.j.lewis

      hayden.j.lewis Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      I like green it's my favourite colour, a green coloured design would be awesome :) A light weight design might not have enough balls to do the job properly so you might need a heavy weight design to step up and do the job properly.

      Lightweight design can be a function of green design as a lighter car would use less fuel hence greener. However if that involved a process of cutting material out of a part and creating more waste like Mikah mentioned, then this would have to be weighed up between the benefit it provides in say using less fuel if it's for a car part and the waste it creates.

      I haven't looked it up but would an electric car be heavier than a petrol car of the same size (and power) with its' heavy batteries? Would that mean that an electric car is not the lightest weight design but is still perceived as a greener design...
       
    11. Pete

      Pete Well-Known Member

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      Re: Which is better: a "lightweight" design or a "green" des

      If I had a choice of making something lighter and saving money on transport and material costs, or making the same product from recycled/recyclable locally sourced materials with a local work force using standard and modular components... I'd go with Green. In my idealistic little world, saving the world is better than saving my directors money!

      That said, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" would suggest that the 1st aim of Sustainable (and/or green) design would be to reduce the amount of components / fasteners / material in a product...

      Could it be fair to say that Green design includes reducing weight, but reducing weight doesn't always imply a green design?

      Therefore, I'd happily go hug a tree in the Green camp!
       

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