DEPUIS - Design of Environmentally-friendly Products Using Information Standards
Promotion and training of Standards to support environmentally friendly design.
The production and processing of digital technical information is now the second business of every industrial enterprise. The need for an industrial enterprise to store and exchange and archive product data in a reliable digital form has increased considerably for several reasons, including: • compliance with customer requirements for digital transfer of product data; • maintenance and life cycle support of complex products designed with computer software; • compliance with requirements for records on health and safety; • compliance with requirements for records of environmental impact; • product liability requirements; • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and eco-design; • recycling or disposal of products at their end-of-life.
It is important, and financially beneficial, to manage these information activities by the use of standard specifications for the computer representation of this information, just as the use of specifications is essential for the management of the products that are the main business of the enterprise.
The objectives of the DEPUIS project, part of the Europe INNOVA Network for Innnovation and Standards, were to enable members of industrial manufacturing companies, particularly SMEs, to learn about the benefits of some International Standards for the digital representation of technical data and for the analysis of life cycle factors that can support the whole-life approach of the Integrated Product Policy of the European Commission to product design, product manufacture and product utilisation.
The main activities in the DEPUIS project were to develop e-learning courses, accessible by the Internet, to provide the awareness and knowledge of a selection of these International Standards that are relevant to the whole-life approach and to support this selection with the development of courses on life-cycle assessment and other relevant professional skills. The courses and other supporting information are published in the Multi-media Handbook which is available from the DEPUIS project website at www.depuis.enea.it .
These courses would support the continuous professional development of a suitably qualified person and the requirements for the certification of competence in these knowledge domains were identified in the project. However, currently, there are barriers to the introduction of certification for new technical competences because of the complex organisational structures and fragmented delivery organisations that have been created in some of the Member States of the EU for the approval and certification of technical knowledge and skills. It is hoped that the new Directive on a European Qualifications Framework for Life-long Learning (EQF) will improve this situation and the experiences in the DEPUIS project could help to establish and validate this Framework.
The experience of the product data technology experts in the DEPUIS project has lead directly to changes in the product data standards to be able to represent environmental data and to the demonstration of a synthesis between these standards and LCA.
The DEPUIS project was financed by the European Commission as part of the Europe INNOVA network for Innovation and Standards with Contract number 031149.