Dassault Systèmes enables circular economy with 3DEXPERIENCE

Designers, manufacturers, supply chain operators must all consider the broader scope of circular economy and Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE shows them how

There’s a shift happening globally among organisations that will impact the overall response of their suppliers, customers, and consumers. The idea of circularity has become less of an initiative and more so a criteria for product businesses worldwide, many of them adopting a circular economy across design and product development, which inevitably impacts manufacturing. 

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the transformation to a circular system could provide opportunities amounting to trillions of dollars, and Dassault Systèmes recognises its ability to actively drive the adoption of circular economic principles. The company currently supports a variable industry client base from consumer and lifestyle products to industrial infrastructure, technologies, and the overarching manufacturers. 

It’s important to break down the circular economy to ensure successful implementation. Three key pillars come into consideration: 

  • Materials (sourcing and making sustainable materials or components)
  • Products (design and manufacturing processes and forward-looking principles)
  • Enterprise (actions involving the supply chain and the flow of sustainable materials at the end-of-life)

Recognising the need for a circular economy in manufacturing, design, and distribution, Dassault Systèmes developed 3DEXPERIENCE® as a platform that connects businesses to knowledge and insights to reinvent their processes. 

Circularity begins with material biodegradability or recyclability

Historically, businesses created products based on a premise of consumption, leading them to focus very rarely on the impacts of said products. As more businesses become aware of the benefits of a circular economy, they look for insight and inspiration that will set them on the right path.

Looking at the product supply chain from end-to-end, one of the key stages in the life cycle of a circular product is the production or sourcing of materials. The active choice of sustainable materials is the first step in breaking a wasteful production cycle, and sets a precedent for more responsible production. 

This process also allows companies to begin the circular process with another key sustainability factor in mind—carbon emissions. By working strategically in the early stages; pre-design and pre-production is a critical stage for analysing the footprint of individual components and materials to kickstart a circular strategy. 

Building a manufacturing process on circular principles 

With sustainable materials and components at the ready—sourced sustainably from reputable suppliers will full visibility—the next stage of this approach is to transform production. 

Strategic design thinking is how organisations can reduce or eliminate the amount of waste, but also ensure that products are recyclable, reusable, or can be dismantled in the future. The forward-looking approach in the interim is what allows companies to create a truly circular product

The next key stage to assess is operations, how you make the goods. Technology plays a key role in this and automation and robotics can help reduce waste and cut production emissions, while creating a leaner manufacturing process in terms of time. 

To navigate these technologies for a variety of production needs, 3DEXPERIENCE® holds insights into a number of industries—from consumer goods to higher-grade systems like heavy-goods machinery—to actively reduce the number of defects, eliminate waste by strategically allocating resources to each product, and ensure that design specifications are fulfilled.

Connectivity through the internet of things (IoT) can not only allow equipment to share data, but effectively communicate in an ecosystem to understand the status of production in real-time. 

Deliver products sustainably 

Shifting away from a linear supply chain is detrimental to the planet, and the pool of resources in industry. Approaching product development and production in the aforementioned ways will create new opportunities for reverse flows of goods and materials. Implementing sustainable principles into the early stages of the product supply chain promotes ripple effects downstream that will help return material through recycling. 

Understanding this requires visibility and active input into the end-of-life procedure. While a product can be made with the intention of mitigating its input, what happens to it in the later stages will determine its success as a sustainable product. 

Organisations that lack the insight to take those first steps can turn to Pascal Daloz, Deputy CEO and Chief Operating Officer, Philippine de T’Serclaes, Chief Sustainability Officer, and Philippe Laufer, Executive Vice President Global Brands, to figure out how to build their circular plans and put them into practice. This series of video conversations sheds a light on best practices and steps to take to strategically build a sustainable supply chain.


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