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Technical Papers

A Systematic Approach to Sustainable Design of Car Seat Assembly using the Modified Quality Function Deployment Method

Presented at: FISITA 2008 World Automotive Congress

Conference Organiser / Publisher: VDI-FVT more from this publisher

Language: English

Format: PDF download

Filesize: 801.0K

Paper Code: FISITA 2008/F2008-10-002


Subic, Aleksandar - RMIT University, Australia
Schiavone, Francesco* - RMIT University, Australia
Martin Leary - RMIT University, Australia
Jason Miller - Futuris Automotive Interiors (Australia) Pty Ltd


Keywords: QFD, sustainability, LCA, mass reduction

There are over 600 million vehicles on the world's roads with another 60 million vehicles produced annually worldwide. It is estimated that around two thirds of available oil production is used in transportation, whereby road vehicles alone consume around 40%. The automotive industry consumes approximately 15% of the world's steel, 40% of the world's rubber and 25% of the world's glass, with the consumption of raw materials and other resources further growing due to rapid development in China and India. In addition, transportation accounts for around 25% of greenhouse emissions worldwide, whereby 90% of transport related emissions come from road vehicles, predominantly cars. Clearly, current levels of consumption and emissions are unsustainable. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that sustainability considerations including environmental, economic and social are systematically addressed in vehicle design and development targeting all aspects of the vehicle system.

Car seats represent a critical vehicle sub-system, due to the wide range of functions and standards they are required to satisfy, including safety, ergonomics and aesthetics. In addition, there are increasing demands for higher product quality and increased performance with reduced cost and time to market. As well as stakeholder requirements derived from customer and market trends, there is an increasing need to satisfy automotive environmental legislation. These complex requirements cannot be met without a systematic knowledge-based engineering design approach supported by the implementation of effective design tools and methods. This paper applies a systematic approach to sustainable car seat design using the modified Quality Function Deployment (QFD) method as an integrating medium for customer requirements and technical characteristics.

The design methodology presented in this paper is derived from research and development projects on the sustainable design of a car seat assembly in collaboration with the relevant manufacturer. The customer requirements and technical characteristics associated with this project have been integrated within a modified QFD process. This has enabled identification of the key technical characteristics of a new sustainable product. Environmental assessment has been completed by reverse engineering an existing seat assembly and applying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to further understand the identified key technical characteristics and their impact on environmental performance of the product. Based on the outcomes of this approach, opportunities for competitive advantage have been identified, including mass reduction and function innovation, and applied in the design and development of new generation products.

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