Environmental Overall Equipment Effectiveness: a tool to contrast operational and environmental efficiency

Linked Sessions:

Poster Number:  41 

Main Presenter:    José Daniel Cruz Ugalde 

Co-Authors:   Jose Jorge Espí Gallart                                               

Grounded in the principles of Industrial Ecology, this research studies the relationship between operational efficiency and the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, introducing the Environmental Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE+E) methodology. Traditionally, the assessment of operational efficiency has relied on time-based indicators such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), which quantify the degree to which machines produce their intended output. However, limited research has been done on the direct relation between operational losses – categorized into Availability, Performance, and Quality – and their environmental impacts. By adopting a life-cycle approach, this study pioneers an innovative methodology that seeks to systematically integrate these previously disparate variables, laying the foundation for an enhanced understanding of environmental impact indicators within the industrial sector.

The proposed OEE+E methodology was developed through a four-step process. The study first identifies the causal relationships between the three operational loss categories (OLCs) and the relevant environmental aspects of a manufacturing process. This implies exploring the loss typologies that might arise from each OLC, subsequently identifying the main environmental consequences in terms of the life-cycle impacts. Secondly, the relevant operational data to be gathered is determined. Such data requirement must match the available manufacturing data with the existing environmental assessment databases. After bridging operational and environmental variables, cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessments are performed to account for the environmental impacts of each OLC. Finally, the results are interpreted in the light of a practical case study, ensuring the applicability and effectiveness of the proposed methodology in diverse industrial settings.

The proposed approach reveals relevant insights on the environmental implications of different OLCs. Availability losses, for instance, not only impact operational efficiency through idle time but also induce indirect environmental impacts related to the manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and end-of-life treatment of the additional infrastructure that is required for a given level of demand, due to the mentioned inefficiencies. Performance losses, often subtle and overlooked, significantly contribute to the underutilization of assets and the residual consumption of utilities (such as electricity, water, refrigeration, heat, compressed air, among others), requiring additional resources and thus exacerbating environmental impacts. Finally, quality losses exhibit a duality, leading to environmental impacts through product rejection and environmental benefits through waste avoidance with repair operations.

Overall, this research not only contributes to the theoretical understanding of the relationship between operational efficiency and environmental impact but also offers a practical framework with the potential to guide decision-makers towards more sustainable and resource-efficient manufacturing practices.

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