Author Topic: Sustainable Electronic Product Development  (Read 627 times)

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Offline rweiser

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Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« on: November 26, 2017, 12:59:57 AM »
Hello guys,

I am interested in knowing if people (engineers or entrepreneurs) are aware of the method and process it takes to develop a new electronic product from scratch and if they consider sustainability aspects in the design process. Please spare me 3 min of your time to fill the attached poll, also by completing it you have the chance of winning a 50 EUR Amazon voucher by the beginning of December :)

https://goo.gl/forms/2yTcWEYJMkFmHPmy1

Thank you all!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 02:01:07 AM by rweiser »
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2017, 07:17:54 AM »
I'm surprised there haven't been any replies yet...

Looking at your survey questions, it looks as though it's targeted very much toward students or very junior engineers; is that deliberate?

A more experienced engineer will struggle to answer some of your questions in the space provided. For example, I could write a book on the "hardest part of taking a product from scratch and implementing it". Being able to do this is how I make a living, it's not a one-liner!

Also, some of the answers you offer to choose from are poorly chosen. For example, there are steps in the development process which relate to things like software architecture, part numbering, test coverage and UI design, and these have little or nothing to do with the physical hardware and the resources needed to manufacture it.

On that basis, no experienced engineer could ever answer "yes, in every step" to your question about whether sustainability was taken into account - but to say "somewhat considered" implies negativity or disregard which is entirely unjustified.

You are, I presume, already fully versed in the relevant laws which apply, eg. RoHS, WEEE, the Batteries Directive, REACH, COSHH, and the SEC reporting requirements on conflict minerals. Are you looking for evidence of specific considerations over and above these?
 
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Offline phil from seattle

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 07:52:19 AM »
I guess I react negatively to the word "Sustainable". Typically these days it is used to mean "green" or "ecologically aware" or, worse, doing it "right" (what ever that means at the moment). It's all gotten political. But then the dictionary meaning is simply that you can keep on doing it. In that sense, to be sustainable, a product just needs to sell well and return a profit to the maker because then they can keep on doing it. Not very green there. I see the whole "Sustainable" thing as political and won't get involved.

Rather than that, let's talk about reducing the pollution footprint of the industry. Let's focus on the specific areas rather than a feel-good umbrella term. There are lots of examples from the past - RoHS as an example. Recycling of eWaste is another area. Certainly the whole industry move from lead solder is a great one. Fix your focus on those kind of things and I think most engineers will respond positively.

I had to laugh the other day - saw an article about "Sustainable Government" - it was just a political screed pushing a specific agenda. I think any government absolutely has no problem sustaining itself.
 

Offline rweiser

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 01:44:28 AM »
Thanks for the answers provided and sorry for taking so long to reply!

@AndyC_772: it is not particularly aimed at students or senior engineers. I am looking for very general indications about the knowledge engineers have regarding product development. I love your example of writing a book about the topic, so, what would be the title of that book or the index? That's the kind of answers I am looking for, just headlines to be developed later. As you can understand I cannot make it that specific, otherwise no one will be able to reply. Also I know I am missing a whole bunch of other aspects of product design, mainly software and mechanical, however at the moment I am more interested in the hardware perspective. I won't say I am fully versed in the laws and compliance you mentioned below, I am familiar with some, and with my questions regarding sustainability what I am looking for is if people actually knows about these and take them into account when they design. For some industries are mandatory, but for others you might be ignorant about them and when you try to sell your product you have to go back to the drawing table or change components because you did not consider it from the beginning.

@phil from seattle: I agree that the term "green" and so on are most of the times marketing and gimmicks, therefore I have used the term sustainable which has an actual definition as you have said below. Thank you for your great feedback! I thought I could also add designing circuits with low power design goals and efficiency in mind and when valid and coherent, use renewable sources to power/charge them.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2017, 03:59:41 AM »
Well, gee... if this subject should be open to first principles, and shouldn't necessarily fit an established thought process, methodology, philosophy or political agenda...

Which, to be fair: any of those things will save you a lot of time figuring out what the thing is, and gives you a base of people, ideas, material and budgets to work from.  You just have to not mind that it's for some agenda.

...If we go back to the definition of "sustainable", then life itself is not sustainable.  Life exists as an expression of the universe's increase of entropy over time.

Shall we then exterminate life, so as to maintain the world in a heightened state of potential energy?

Shall we give up entirely, as the universe is projected to end in heat death?

Shall we modify the rule -- include a moral imperative so that we should not exterminate life, but improve it instead?

"Sustainable life", then, to such extent as it can make sense (given the above!), implies a minimum (but nonzero!) quantity of life, with a high quality of life.

Might that be a reasonable goal to work towards?  (As existing schemes go, there are several in this vein: the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement perhaps.  Or more actively, the kind of work the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is doing: improved healthcare resulting in reduced childbirth rates, potentially below replacement levels.)

Perhaps we should sustain something else, like the product itself; how can a product survive a thousand years, let's say?  Can it be self-regenerating?  (Ah, but now we're asking to create life the hard way, which is even more counterproductive...)

All this is just to reflect on -- and perhaps become paralyzed by -- the definition of the concept, not even to attempt it.

As for implementation: whatever the concept is, one should then take actions which effect change towards that conceptual goal.  This is similarly ill-defined, as one could run a program devoid of hardware at all -- a sufficiently well funded, long term, ad campaign could well do the job better than any hardware product could!

If instead, we are thinking on the smallest terms, of a simple product, the best we can do is to simply make the product, in the nearly cheapest way possible.  Low price means strong sales means more uptake of the product, and, presumably, more completion of the overall goal.  Low price means conventional production methods.  Attempting to invent an alternative production method from scratch, is a non-starter: the result will be more expensive, and fewer end users will adopt the product!

But that said, you could attack the means of production: get into the business of production machines, and figure out ways to improve their sustainability.  Now you have a knock-on benefit that multiplies your customers by their production figures!  Again, cost of adoption is a problem, so you should be working also towards ways to reducing that cost.

Which really just sounds like business as usual, but with extra steps.

...

This isn't really to say anything useful.  I could reflect upon what sustainability means to me, in the now, and what kinds of materials, products and methods should be used or developed to move things in that direction.

But as long as philosophy is on the table, I really just wanted to lay that nugget: that doing things the way they are usually done, is probably the best.

If the product itself is produced on a cleaner process, but is more expensive and therefore produced less, it's not really solving anything, is it?

The process might be messy, but the product can be clean, or helping to be cleaner anyway.

That's the general direction of things anyway.  We didn't invent induction furnaces when we discovered iron.  We invented the bloomery and the cupola first, and necessarily so.  These are dirty methods, but they led to a clean production method, later.

I guess another good question is this: how much dirt can we withstand, in order to reach the next node in technology?

To put this in modern context, how much CO2 can we burn, without permanently screwing up the climate, before "renewable" (or whatever the alternative turns out to be) takes over?

How many lives do we need to support, before true sustainability will take over?

Tim
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 04:03:35 AM by T3sl4co1l »
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Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 04:07:35 AM »
I'm surprised there haven't been any replies yet...

Looking at your survey questions, it looks as though it's targeted very much toward students or very junior engineers; is that deliberate?

A more experienced engineer will struggle to answer some of your questions in the space provided. For example, I could write a book on the "hardest part of taking a product from scratch and implementing it". Being able to do this is how I make a living, it's not a one-liner!

Also, some of the answers you offer to choose from are poorly chosen. For example, there are steps in the development process which relate to things like software architecture, part numbering, test coverage and UI design, and these have little or nothing to do with the physical hardware and the resources needed to manufacture it.

On that basis, no experienced engineer could ever answer "yes, in every step" to your question about whether sustainability was taken into account - but to say "somewhat considered" implies negativity or disregard which is entirely unjustified.

You are, I presume, already fully versed in the relevant laws which apply, eg. RoHS, WEEE, the Batteries Directive, REACH, COSHH, and the SEC reporting requirements on conflict minerals. Are you looking for evidence of specific considerations over and above these?
The hardest part of ANY product development is always the same:
The management.
 
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Offline floobydust

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2017, 07:26:43 AM »
I looked at the survey and found the questions were quite far off for any product development perspective  :palm:

Look at an unsustainable product, such as large V8-engined SUV, available from several auto manufacturers today.

Engineers sweat a great deal over the recyclability and environmental friendliness of the auto's plastics, electronics etc. but management has decreed them to design and build a gas guzzling polluting dinosaur.

In it's lifetime, the SUV will consume many times the petroleum used in its construction.

Let's just put that on the shoulders of the engineers.

 
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Offline coppice

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2017, 10:21:30 AM »
Have you consider how many different things "Sustainable Electronic Product Development" could mean to different people? For example, there is currently another thread in this forum looking at how someone can ensure continued access to a working software development tool chain over a number of years of product support and enhancement. I guess this is probably not the kind of thing you were thinking about when asking about sustainable development, but it is nevertheless a question about Sustainable Electronic Product Development. Maybe your survey needs to ask more focussed questions.
 

Offline rweiser

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2017, 09:06:40 PM »
Have you consider how many different things "Sustainable Electronic Product Development" could mean to different people? For example, there is currently another thread in this forum looking at how someone can ensure continued access to a working software development tool chain over a number of years of product support and enhancement. I guess this is probably not the kind of thing you were thinking about when asking about sustainable development, but it is nevertheless a question about Sustainable Electronic Product Development. Maybe your survey needs to ask more focussed questions.

Of course! product development is a huge topic and it will be different depending on the function you have performed in this development according to your experience. However in this survey I am taking a more high level approach rather than going into every detailed step. In short, the real question about the survey will be: are you capable of taking an idea of an electronic product and transform it into an actual working prototype? and are you capable of designing it such it is qualified as a sustainable product? (again, a sustainable product is another topic in itself, from complying to regulations and reducing its carbon footprint through the optimisation of the life cycle, to making it efficient and low power and giving it a down-graded use after EOL)
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2017, 03:12:03 AM »
I'm still not sure it's possible to answer your question. We're all agreed that a "sustainable product" is a very wide, vague description which can mean entirely different things to different people, but you're asking whether or not someone is capable of designing a product which qualifies for that description.

Do you see the problem?

Take the example of the SUV. The product's function certainly isn't sustainable, because by design, it consumes a finite resource. But the vehicle itself must be compliant with the ELV (end-of-life vehicles) Directive, which sets out a whole host of mandatory rules for how it must be designed in order to be recyclable at the end of its life. You could therefore argue that it is sustainable in that respect, and the engineers responsible must design it to be so.

The hardest part of ANY product development is always the same:
The management.

I've always left jobs where that was the case.
 

Offline rweiser

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2017, 04:36:13 AM »
I'm still not sure it's possible to answer your question. We're all agreed that a "sustainable product" is a very wide, vague description which can mean entirely different things to different people, but you're asking whether or not someone is capable of designing a product which qualifies for that description.

Do you see the problem?

Take the example of the SUV. The product's function certainly isn't sustainable, because by design, it consumes a finite resource. But the vehicle itself must be compliant with the ELV (end-of-life vehicles) Directive, which sets out a whole host of mandatory rules for how it must be designed in order to be recyclable at the end of its life. You could therefore argue that it is sustainable in that respect, and the engineers responsible must design it to be so.


What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives. If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible, because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective. So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development :), of course you´ll get some people that will take the pessimistic approach and just say something like "don't build the product on the first place, that's as sustainable as you can get"
 

Offline coppice

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2017, 05:01:34 AM »
What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives. If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible, because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective. So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development :), of course you´ll get some people that will take the pessimistic approach and just say something like "don't build the product on the first place, that's as sustainable as you can get"
My interpretation of what you write is that your survey is probably a scam, designed to be able to reach a conclusion that was arrived at before you started. I could be completely wrong. You might just be doing a rather poor job, but that's what your survey reads like. There is no way to draw any meaningful information out of answers to such vague questions, so its not a survey designed to learn anything new.
 

Offline ballanux

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2017, 05:19:10 AM »

What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives. If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible, because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective. So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development :), of course you´ll get some people that will take the pessimistic approach and just say something like "don't build the product on the first place, that's as sustainable as you can get"

Can you give us an example of an unsustainable design vs a sustainable one?

If I'm not mistaken, probably the sustainable one would be:
  • Power efficient
  • As low part count as possible
  • As easy to manufacture as possible

So, basically any product designer will try to do all of the above... so unless you are designing with planned obsolescence, "one use electronics" or similar, any product you design would be as close to being "sustainable" as possible.

Usually a quality product will last longer than very cheap one, so it will be more sustainable, but also the designer usually doesn't decide the target price or target quality of the product.

When you design a real product you usually have to comply with several manufacturing, safety and efficiency standards. So any well designed product should implicitly have some good degree of sustainability
 

Online AndyC_772

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2017, 05:20:56 AM »
What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives.

This is an engineering forum. Clear, specific questions will get clear, specific answers.

Quote
If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible

OK, that's a fair definition to use for this purpose, thank you.

Quote
because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective.

...and there's the pre-existing conclusion that coppice alludes to. Shame.

Quote
So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development

Now we're getting somewhere.

Am I capable of developing an electronic product from concept to a working prototype? Yes, certainly, it's what I've been doing for a living for the last twenty years or so. Please bear in mind, it's more usual to consider an engineer's involvement way beyond the prototype stage, into mass production, technical support, and eventually EOL disposal.

Do I consider sustainability (per your earlier definition)? Sure, but only at the stages where it's a relevant consideration (and not at "every stage"). For example, I might decide to avoid tantalum capacitors, because of uncertainty about where the raw materials have come from. I might decide to spend the extra 10p to improve power supply efficiency by a few %. I might advocate designing a unit in modular form, so failed parts can be replaced without having to bin the whole thing. So much depends on the nature of the product, it's impossible to be more specific without picking an individual project.
 
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Offline jonovid

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2017, 05:27:38 AM »
sustainability is greeny code for stagnation = no growth.  ;D
an sustainable garden is weeds
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Offline ballanux

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2017, 05:46:46 AM »
sustainability is greeny code for stagnation = no growth.  ;D
an sustainable garden is weeds
I suppose your comment is a bit of a joke

A lot of technological advances are directed to get "greener" products... LED lighting, switching converters, high efficiency BLDC motors, low power microcontrollers, etc

Edit: maybe the main objective of these advances is not to make a greener alternative, but a side effect, anyway it seems that electronics have been always moving in the direction of getting  "greener" products
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 05:51:47 AM by ballanux »
 

Offline rweiser

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2017, 10:59:29 PM »
What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives. If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible, because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective. So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development :), of course you´ll get some people that will take the pessimistic approach and just say something like "don't build the product on the first place, that's as sustainable as you can get"
My interpretation of what you write is that your survey is probably a scam, designed to be able to reach a conclusion that was arrived at before you started. I could be completely wrong. You might just be doing a rather poor job, but that's what your survey reads like. There is no way to draw any meaningful information out of answers to such vague questions, so its not a survey designed to learn anything new.

@Coppice: My dear friend, I guarantee you that this is not a scam and I am a real person with real motives and objectives. Maybe for an expert like you it seems incomplete and vague, but I rather do a "generic" survey and get more answers which for me are useful than a long detailed survey that almost nobody will reply because they don't have the knowledge or the time. I can see that in this forum people do have the knowledge and the time, so, maybe in the future I can make a more detailed and less generalistic survey and get valuable answers from all the experts in this forum :-+
 

Offline rweiser

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2017, 11:13:08 PM »

What I see is that you are trying to make this question black and white. I am pondering into a subject that has many grayscales and I am interested in different opinions from different perspectives. If you get the jist of the survey then you can realize that with sustainable I mean designing products that will not deteriorate or jeopardise the well being and health of future generations, therefore sustain human life in this planet as long as possible, because I think we can agree that we need to change the way many industries work and how we design things so we can achieve this objective. So in this forum I would love to hear some ideas about how designing more "sustainable" circuits, while in the survey I'd like to know if you are capable of developing an electronic product from concept into a working prototype and if you consider any sustainability design guidelines during the development :), of course you´ll get some people that will take the pessimistic approach and just say something like "don't build the product on the first place, that's as sustainable as you can get"

Can you give us an example of an unsustainable design vs a sustainable one?

If I'm not mistaken, probably the sustainable one would be:
  • Power efficient
  • As low part count as possible
  • As easy to manufacture as possible

So, basically any product designer will try to do all of the above... so unless you are designing with planned obsolescence, "one use electronics" or similar, any product you design would be as close to being "sustainable" as possible.

Usually a quality product will last longer than very cheap one, so it will be more sustainable, but also the designer usually doesn't decide the target price or target quality of the product.

When you design a real product you usually have to comply with several manufacturing, safety and efficiency standards. So any well designed product should implicitly have some good degree of sustainability

@ballanux: those are good examples. The low part count and easy to manufacture are normally chosen because it yields a cheaper product, but that's OK, I believe sustainability and business profitability go hand in hand. About power efficiency it might not be as direct, maybe for an inverter you need to add extra components into the power electronics circuit to make it more efficient, thus sacrificing the low part count point.

It is true what you say about a well designed product by definition should have some degree of sustainability although it wasn't necessarily designed with that in mind. What if we design with sustainability in mind always? Can we list a series of "rules of thumbs" to be followed? Can this be backed up by legislation such as the CE? Do you think in the future electronics apart from passing EMC tests they will have to pass sustainability tests?
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2017, 11:17:17 PM »
The hardest part of ANY product development is always the same:
The management.

I've always left jobs where that was the case.
So I'm supposed to leave every single job, right? I had excellent bosses, where the upper management were disjointed from reality, and I had jobs were my immediate manager was a delusional person.
I had another job, where the CEO (and owner) of the company was a lying bastard, and his entire goal was to jack up the company's value, so he can sell it way over it's value. I was on meeting with potential clients, where he lied about my qualification, and the battery life of our product (by a factor of 5).
Now it is time for the clueless manager again. After multiple time telling him lead time and price, he still has trouble remembering any of it. Sure, I can just make stuff on a moment's notice. Sure 2 weeks is more than enough to design, order assemble and test an electronics assembly, when I told you that lead time is 16 weeks.
 

Offline dmills

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2017, 11:31:55 PM »
In my market power efficiency only matters because efficient products reduce the heat load that I have to dump, so it is within limits a non issue (Broadcast trucks all have **MASSIVE** power input connections, the difference between 10W and 50W in a box is completely unimportant except that the 50W box probably has an annoying fan that will fail), remember that broadcast is going out on many 100kW transmitters, so even a few tens of kW into the truck at the football stadium is an irrelevance (And compared to the energy cost of bringing 25'000 fans to the stadium it is utterly irrelevant).

We do however like a long product service life which is probably the single biggest thing you can do for sustainability, a box that is still in use twenty years down the line is always going to be more sustainable then one that needs replacing every few years, even if the twenty year one needs leaded solder, hexavalent chrome or cadmium plating, uses carbon tet or trike in the board washing and hits all the other environmental nonos.

Also, it pays to use the modern stuff, there is seldom a real need for a tant these days for example (PLL loop filters maybe, possibly precision voltage references), so they are usually not a problem to design out, and modern sand is usually lower power then the older stuff, class D power amps are a huge win as long as you filter properly, modern small geometry sand is usually lower power then the older stuff, which means less heat and less energy required to remove that heat. 
 
Of course there are vast markets where a 20 year design life is utterly pointless so you would probably wish to trade off differently there, but in my game we design for reliability and let the service life take care of the sustainability concerns for the most part. It would have really helped if we did not have ROHS (which actually hurts because it reduces the reliability and thus practical service life, which increases the amount of waste). 

At the end of the day, out product managers define the design priorities, the engineering shop then designs whatever we are asked for, if they want to go with some specific definition of sustainable then we can do that, but for me it is usually a side effect of doing the job right, not something we set out to design in. 
 
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Offline dmills

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2017, 12:04:24 AM »
For a word like sustainability to mean anything you have to take a whole system and whole life cycle view, and when seen that way there is actually very little that a designer working one one component of the system can really do that makes very much odds one way or the other.

How would you write such things into a standard is a sensible way? If adding a pile of parts saves say 100W of power dissipation that is a good thing right? Well, only if I don't have a use for that warm air. If saving that 100W just means I now need to add a 100W heater to maintain a reasonable operating temperature in some other part of the system, then I have added a pile of parts to no good effect, somewhat contrived, but not by any means unheard of in large industrial systems.

Systems generally become more efficient with time, simply to reduce fuel costs, this has been true since the Newcomen atmospheric engine eventually gave rise to the modern steam engine, then the triple expanding steam engine, then the steam turbine. Computation went from mechanical to relays to valves to transistors to mosfets with generally a reduction in power requirements at each step, none of this was driven by sustainability it was all driven by efficiency and cost, but the sustainability of a modern small cpu is far better then that of a room full of valves.

I had a job years ago designing technical systems for a venue referb, the board wanted 'sustainability', I pointed out that solar was a poor choice as most of our productions were at night, but that we generally had a need for heating and hot water at the same time we had a need for power for the stage lighting and aircon (This predated LED being in any way satisfactory), so why did we not put a 300kVA or so of gas fired CHP plant in the basement? Turns out that there were grants available for solar but not for doing something actually useful! The CHP would have both saved operating costs and been sustainable, as it was they burnt gas for the heating and brought in electricity for the lighting, just stupid :palm:. The other thing that killed it was that a CHP plant was a noisy (we have ways of dealing with that) complicated turbomachine that does not look 'green'.

This failure to understand the big picture is why such things tend to get groans and face palms around here.

Regards, Dan.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2017, 01:37:05 AM »
So I'm supposed to leave every single job, right? I had excellent bosses, where the upper management were disjointed from reality, and I had jobs were my immediate manager was a delusional person.

Perhaps you've gotten unlucky.  (Or you're not that good at picking up the warning signs, or, you haven't had enough of a choice to act on it.)

I've seen both.  They do in fact exist, companies that know their heads from their asses!

Quote
I had another job, where the CEO (and owner) of the company was a lying bastard, and his entire goal was to jack up the company's value, so he can sell it way over it's value. I was on meeting with potential clients, where he lied about my qualification, and the battery life of our product (by a factor of 5).
Now it is time for the clueless manager again. After multiple time telling him lead time and price, he still has trouble remembering any of it. Sure, I can just make stuff on a moment's notice. Sure 2 weeks is more than enough to design, order assemble and test an electronics assembly, when I told you that lead time is 16 weeks.

I'm honest to a fault.  I have no problem telling him, to his face, the reality of the situation.  (In front of a client?  Even better...)

It's happened before.  Interesting dynamic I guess, in that he was smart enough to realize my value (I was never fired, despite such conduct), but too into his own self to do the right thing.  The most concentrated illustration goes like this: Calls me to his office to explain why the project timeline is slipping.  I explain.  I lay out that I'd given expected completion times.  Which were subsequently ignored.  I give direct examples of impact on the project: such-and-such is unfinished, this-and-that is a barely working prototype, only so-and-so is ready for production.  His expression goes from surprise (as if this were somehow new), to understanding, to denial, in just seconds.  No, the root cause could not be him, of course!  All his decisions are always right!  Fascinating (if infuriating) to see, in real time, someone smart enough to see reason -- but, only for a moment, before brushing it off with an internal rationalization.

Warning signs, recognize and avoid them if possible -- good luck. :)

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic Design, from Concept to Layout.
Need engineering assistance? Drop me a message!
 

Offline dmills

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Re: Sustainable Electronic Product Development
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2017, 02:07:21 AM »
I think I worked (briefly) for that guy.

Then there was mr "don't bother me with the details, just make this change", he was eternally surprised that that little change actually impacted delivery date and BOM cost in huge ways.....

There are usually warning signs, learn to recognise them.

Regards, Dan.
 


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