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Engineer Michael Kiely, who led development of the Design for Sustainability process at Jabil Healthcare, explains the long-term benefits of  considering a product’s end of life at the inception of a project.

Norbert Sparrow

September 1, 2022

2 Min Read
design engineers examining part
Image courtesy of Cultura Creative RF/Alamy

In the 20-plus years that I’ve interviewed suppliers to OEMs, they have stressed, to a person, that one of the fundamental elements in delivering a successful product built to spec and on time is early involvement in a project. That can help prevent costly adjustments late in the process and crippling delays in time to market. Today, as brand owners and OEMs race to meet sustainability goals, that same advice holds — designing sustainability into a product at its inception is exponentially more effective than waiting to deal with it at the end of its life cycle. Michael Kiely, Principal Device Development Engineer at Jabil Healthcare, led the development of the Design for Sustainability process at his company. In this podcast, he describes his approach, shares what he has learned along the way, and explains how this organizational change helps deliver long-term cost savings.

Takeaways from this podcast include:

  • The importance of material selection. More and more biopolymers are available, and they can have a tremendous impact on a product’s carbon footprint, to the point where some resins can have a positive carbon footprint.

  • In high-volume production, you’re looking at automation and optimizing product design for assembly. But you should also be looking at design for disassembly at end of life, so that materials and parts can be segregated into the appropriate recycling stream.

  • Regulations, such as extended producer responsibility, are shifting the cost of managing the end of a product’s life cycle to the manufacturer. While sustainable design may entail some upfront costs, the investment will pay dividends in the long term.

These and other sustainable design principles are outlined by Kiely in the Plastic Possibilities podcast. Give it a listen.

 

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About Michael Kiely

Kiely earned a graduate degree in applied physics at Dublin City University. He joined Jabil Healthcare in 2013, where he has supported the design and development of a range of medical devices across diagnostics, pharmaceutical delivery systems, surgical devices, and medical packaging. He led the development of the Design for Sustainability process at Jabil Healthcare, which optimizes product design for sustainability and the circular economy at the early design stage to deliver more sustainable products for Jabil’s customers.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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