Keywords: industrial ecology, life cycle assessment, LCA, supply chain management, castings, automotive industry, environmental impacts, materials recycling, energy conservation
Reducing the environmental impacts of metal castings through life-cycle management
A reduction in casting weight, through material property enhancement and improved design, positively impacts the whole life cycle. Reducing a casting's weight not only reduces the foundry's environmental impacts but also, the demands for raw materials and energy inputs and, if that lighter casting is used in a transport application, fuel consumption and carbon dioxide output associated with the use phase. The context of the paper is established by considering the issues from the perspectives of industrial ecology and supply chain management. It then refers to the use of LCA to identify the environmental costs, benefits and opportunities associated with research to develop an improved ferrous material for automotive castings. The preliminary LCA has suggested that ferrous alloys can compete with aluminium alloys to provide life-cycle energy saving benefits for a component used in an automobile.