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Product

The product that is taken into consideration here in this particular case study is a computer mouse. Based on this product, the LCA, which is more commonly referred to as the life cycle assessment is carried out throughout the course of the study. To put it in simple perspective it can be stated that a computer mouse is actually a movable device that is attached with the personal computer. It gives the user a plethora of control in the context of the computer. In general, there are two categories of computer mouse (1). The first one being wireless and the next one is a wire attached computer mouse, which is also called a USB mouse. Since it is a hardware input device, it allows the user to click with the help of the cursor that is present in the screen. Generally, it is placed on a flat surface so that it can be utilized at its optimum performance. In wireless mouse, the mouse is charged with the help of a battery (2). On the contrary, in a USB mouse, it is connected with the machine with the help of the USB pin and it does not require charge like the wireless mouse. The use pattern of a computer mouse is mentioned as follows:

  • First of all, a mouse in a computer is primarily used to click on files and folders; so that it can be opened. Once the user receives the product it can be conveniently attached with the USB portal, if it is a USB mouse. Otherwise, in case of wireless, it can be directly implemented provided the wireless mouse is sufficiently charged.
  • Aside from that it is also used to manipulate immovable aspects in the monitor such as scrolling and dragging files or folders. For instance, if a file is dragged from one place to another it is also carried out with the help of a mouse.
  • Moving the cursor from one place to another is the fundamental aspect of the computer mouse.
  • Generally, the battery of a wireless mouse is changed once its functionalities deteriorate with time. On the contrary, in a USB mouse, it is directly connected with the machine and its functionalities depend on the USB pin (3).

All of the aforementioned aspects revolve around describing the use pattern of a computer mouse

The fundamental objectives of the life cycle assessment are as follows:

  • To evaluate the environmental impact associated with sourcing of raw materials of PC mouse
  • To understand the overall manufacturing process relevant with computer mouse in the context of environmental impact
  • To investigate the usage and disposal mechanism associated with computer mouse which are relevant with environmental impact
  • To examine the recycle process that is applicable in case of a computer mouse and its impact on the environment (4).

As far as the functional unit is concerned, in the case of a computer mouse, the product alone is sufficient enough in terms of executing its intended purpose. In other words, there is no other material required for a computer mouse, so that it can operate. Its functionalities are solely dependent on the hardware input device alone. The function unit of a computer mouse revolves around the left click button, right click button, the light emitting diode located inside the mouse, the photodiode, horizontal wheel, slot, vertical wheel and the roller ball. All of these elements constitute the computer mouse. The role played by individual elements inside the computer mouse is the direct representation of the integral functional unit of a computer mouse. The only difference between the USB mouse and wireless mouse is that the functional unit of the USB device mouse has a cable attached to it, which is absent in the wireless mouse (5).

The raw materials required for manufacturing of computer mouse are hereby listed below:

  • Injection molded acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic outer shell and mechanical part of the mouse casket.
  • The metal ball is coated in rubber.
  • Electrical micro switches that is designed with both plastic and metal combination
  • Light emitting diode
  • Photodiode
  • Cable wiring
  • The printed circuit board which is resin coated along with mechanical and electrical components that are pertinent with the PCB
  • Electrical resistors, oscillators, capacitors, integrated circuits which are designed by silicon, metal and plastic combination (6).

Goals and scope of the Life cycle assessment

The aforementioned components are the primary materials that are required to create a PC mouse. 

The strategy that is incorporated in terms of procuring these raw materials are as follows

First of all, the demand forecast of the materials that is mentioned in the previous part is carried out by the organization that is going to manufacture the computer mouse; followed by meticulously analyzing the accuracy of the forecast. This is a crucial phase in the process; in view of the fact that once the materials are appropriately procured, it is non refundable to the distributors. Hence, understanding the exact demand and making an estimate of raw material is therefore required in order to produce the intended number of functional units of PC Mouse. This is a crucial phase after the precision of the forecast is analyzed meticulously, the distributors are contacted. Depending on the quality of the product that the distributor is going to supply and the vicinity of the distributor to the manufacturing unit, the rate of production in a manufacturing unit is calculated. The reason being that if the distributor is not located in the vicinity of the manufacturing plant, then the probability of the cost in terms of supply chain management and distribution network would increase; which would definitely reduce the profitability of the product (7). On a similar note, if the distributor is not supplying quality material, then the brand equity of the organization responsible for manufacturing the personal computer mouse would also deteriorate in a drastic manner. Hence, both of these two aspects are an important part and parcel of procurement strategies. Implementation of the sourcing option that is already approved is extremely crucial in terms of procurement. Updating the bills of material on a continual basis is an essential part which helps the manufacturing plant to keep a note of the number of materials being delivered and the materials that are yet to be delivered. It also reflects the current status of the inventory of the manufacturing plant (8).

The following tabular representation revolves around reflecting the number of raw materials that is going to be procured in order to manufacture 1000 PC Mouse:

  • Plastic casket body of the mouse: 1200 pieces
  • Rolling ball: 1100 pieces
  • LED: 1500 pieces
  • Photodiode: 1500 pieces
  • PCB: 1200 pieces
  • Electrical resistors: 2000 pieces
  • Oscillators: 2000 pieces
  • Capacitors: 1100 pieces
  • Integrated circuits: 1500 pieces
  • Micro switches: 2000 pieces
  • Cable wirings: 1000 pieces

Once this material is procured, the crucial part is to appropriately store these materials in the inventory. The manners in which these materials are stored are briefly elaborated in the following part:

In the aforementioned list, there are several materials which are quite fragile in nature such as oscillators, integrated circuits and capacitors. These materials are quite light in weight and should be stored in the uppermost shelves in the warehouse (9). The next most important part is to ensure that the electrical registers are not placed in such locations which are in close proximity to water or other electrical wirings. The cable wiring should also follow a similar protocol in terms of storage. In case of the rolling balls, it should be placed in such locations where the rolling balls are compactly placed. One of the most fragile parts of this entire procurement list is plastic casket bodies, which are going to be used in the production. These products are so fragile that they can break with minimum pressure. Therefore, appropriate safety precautions should be inculcated in the initial phase in order to avoid such circumstances (10). 

The impact analysis associated with the production procedure is hereby mentioned as follows: 

  • Procurement Phase: Even in the course of procurement, almost all of the materials are packaged with polystyrene. Once it is unpacked, the warehouse floor is covered up in polystyrene. This is quite challenging for disposal. Since it is non biodegradable, its incineration can directly lead to environmental pollution.
  • Manufacturing Phase: During the course of manufacturing, the majority of the materials are required to be molded into the plastic body of the mouse (11). This process requires heating the plastic material in high temperatures. In certain instances, it is observed that molding plastic materials at high temperature gives a substantial amount of carbon footprint as soon as the plastic molecules are exposed to high temperature and the carbon emission process takes place, which is not at all managed appropriately in the manufacturing plant. The excess plastic mold which is not all utilized is then subjected to drainage (12).
  • Disposal and Recycling Phase: The fumes that are produced in the due process are directly exposed to the environment with the help of the chimney. There are no appropriate filter layers incorporated inside the chimney. Similarly, the drainage mechanism associated with the manufacturing plant is also not all appropriate in nature. There is a huge probability that the toxic chemicals which are released in the due process of manufacturing the mouse revolve around releasing toxic chemicals directly to the nearby water body (13).

The course of action that is required in order to resolve the aforementioned shortcomings are meticulously elaborated in the following section: 

The first course of action is to ensure that during the procurement phase, instead of using polystyrene; utilizing sustainable products such as jute or paper products is recommended. Not only is this cost effective in nature, but at the same time it does not have a negative impact on the environment. Accumulating jute materials or paper products after unpacking the material is not a challenging responsibility for the workforce in the warehouse (14).

As far as disposal and recycling mechanisms are concerned, there are various approaches that can be taken into consideration. According to a recent study published by the University of North Carolina in 2016, it is revealed that there are various coral plants which are effective in terms of purifying the gaseous by-product which are released to chimneys (15). Certain group of algae in Mexico is also found to be quite effective in terms of purifying the air that is released from the chimney. Japanese manufacturing plants are practicing utilizing layers of biodegradable filters, which are installed inside the chimney. The main objective of these filters is to prevent non-biodegradable particles to be released in the environment. Products which are drained directly into the nearby water bodies should be first subject to treatment plants, using various dechlorination chambers. The output of the manufacturing process should be treated appropriately prior to releasing them in an open environment. This reduces the probability of environmental pollution to a great extent (16).

References:

  • Usländer T, Schöppenthau F, Schnebel B, Heymann S, Stojanovic L, Watson K, Nam S, Morinaga S. Smart Factory Web—A Blueprint Architecture for Open Marketplaces for Industrial Production. Applied Sciences. 2021 Jan;11(14):6585.
  • Davidson CI. The Promise of a Circular Economy in Protecting the Environment.
  • Chen PC, Liu KH. Development of an interactive industrial symbiosis query system with structured industrial waste database in taiwan. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2021 May 15;297:126673.
  • Mohammadi E, Singh SJ, Habib K. How big is circular economy potential on Caribbean islands considering e-waste?. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2021 Oct 1;317:128457.
  • Lin H, Li C, Luo Y. Ecological Administration Contract Design for Enterprise and Local Government Based on Bottom-Line Thinking. InInternational Conference on Simulation Tools and Techniques 2020 Aug 28 (pp. 732-747). Springer, Cham.
  • Javied T. Totally integrated ecology management for resource efficient and eco-friendly production. FAU University Press; 2021.
  • Thiede S. Environmental sustainability of cyber physical production systems. Procedia CIRP. 2018 Jan 1;69:644-9.
  • Chau MQ, Nguyen XP, Huynh TT, Chu VD, Le TH, Nguyen TP, Nguyen DT. Prospects of application of IoT-based advanced technologies in remanufacturing process towards sustainable development and energy-efficient use. Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects. 2021 Nov 1:1-25.
  • Crocker R. From ‘Spaceship Earth’to the circular economy: The problem of consumption. InUnmaking waste in production and consumption: towards the circular economy 2018 Sep 13. Emerald Publishing Limited.
  • Kirby PW. Mangling and promiscuity: materialities of waste conversion in East Asia. electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies. 2018 Sep 8.
  • Numfu M, Riel A, Noel F. Virtual reality technology for maintenance training. Applied Science and Engineering Progress. 2020 Jul 21;13(3):274-82.
  • Sukumaran C, Viswanathan P, Chandrasekhar A. Triboelectric nanogenerators for scavenging biomechanical energy: fabrication process to its self-powered applications. InNano Tools and Devices for Enhanced Renewable Energy 2021 Jan 1 (pp. 145-169). Elsevier.
  • Bryson JR. Reading manufacturing firms and new research agendas: scalar-plasticity, valuerisk and the emergence of Jenga Capitalism. InA Research Agenda for Manufacturing Industries in the Global Economy 2022 Jan 11. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Pan J, Shachat J, Wei S. Cognitive stress and learning Economic Order Quantity (EOQ) inventory management: An experimental investigation.
  • Madakam S, Holmukhe RM, Jaiswal DK. The future digital work force: robotic process automation (RPA). JISTEM-Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management. 2019 Jan 10;16.
  • Ullah I, Tang D, Wang Q, Yin L, Hussain I. Managing engineering change requirements during the product development process. Concurrent Engineering. 2018 Jun;26(2):171-86.
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[Accessed 23 July 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'Life Cycle Assessment Of Computer Mouse' (My Assignment Help, 2022) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/envs3750-industrial-ecology-for-eohs/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene-file-A1DC8F6.html> accessed 23 July 2024.

My Assignment Help. Life Cycle Assessment Of Computer Mouse [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2022 [cited 23 July 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/envs3750-industrial-ecology-for-eohs/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene-file-A1DC8F6.html.

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