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Gate-to-Gate Sustainability Assessment for Small-Scale Manufacturing Businesses: Caddisfly Jewelry Production

[+] Author Affiliations
Jessica L. Armstrong, Ian C. Garretson, Karl R. Haapala

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Paper No. DETC2014-34559, pp. V004T06A042; 9 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 19th Design for Manufacturing and the Life Cycle Conference; 8th International Conference on Micro- and Nanosystems
  • Buffalo, New York, USA, August 17–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4635-3
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Recent manufacturing research has focused attention on methods for improving the sustainability performance of high-volume manufacturing. Most manufacturing businesses operate at the small to medium scale, however, and would benefit from the transfer of knowledge gained from this work to lower volume production. To demonstrate an example of this knowledge transfer, the sustainability performance of two manufacturing strategies is investigated for small-scale caddisfly jewelry production. Control over the aesthetics of the end product is an important feature of jewelry manufacturing. In this case, however, increasing product quality control can have life cycle impacts which are unaccounted for in typical decision making. To make a decision between two caddisfly jewelry manufacturing strategies, a comparative gate-to-gate sustainability assessment was performed. The method combines life cycle inventory analysis, life cycle costing, and worker injury risk assessment to develop a holistic comparison encompassing the three pillars of sustainability. The assessment revealed tradeoffs between environmental impacts, costs, and social impacts for the two scenarios. Thus, hierarchical importance of the three sustainability pillars is needed to make stakeholder decisions. In this small-scale manufacturing case, such decision-making is found to be primarily driven by the personal values of the business owners.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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