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Environmental Performance Evaluation of Printed Electronics in Parallel with a Prototype Development
Keywords: Printable electronics, Ecodesign, Environmental performance indicator
Additive manufacturing process for electronics offers significant reduction of environmental burden compared to conventional subtractive process. Only the required materials are added leaving no need for corrosive chemicals. However, to commercialize this emerging technology it is vital to perform a comprehensive environmental evaluation throughout the materials, components, manufacturing processes and product life cycles. Transparent environmental information reporting is critical for successful products. Therefore the environmental study of ink-jet printable electronics started simultaneously with process and material development in a project researching printable electronics under the Vicinics consortium. Vicinics is an international industrial- academic consortium including participants from ICT and paper industry. Environmental demands are becoming more and more product life cycle oriented and so we have taken a wristband, a technology demonstrator manufactured using ink-jet printing, as a test subject for the study. The study started with the gathering of environmental information on the compiled band life cycle scenario. The information was structured by MET- matrix (material, energy, toxicity) for the preliminary assessment of the band life cycle with the combination of complementary ecodesign tools. In fact, the assessment is a continuous iterative process, as the quality of information improves in parallel with the development of the band, and since the applicability of different ecodesign tools is evaluated concurrently. Finally, the results of the assessment were used to form environmental performance indicators which can help designers make sustainable decisions without complete knowledge about environmental terms, and this is why indicators were selected as the ecodesign approach. In order to construct indicators, environmental impacts and requirements must first be identified and evaluated, and then assigned to the properties of the product. As a result, the most significant environmental aspects of the product were evaluated and translated to the first list of corresponding ecodesign indicators with adequate use and update instructions.
Esa Kunnari, Research Student
Tampere University of Technology, Institute of Electronics
Tampere 33720,

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