Data-based lifecycle management supports sustainable future

Lifecycle management helps to optimize performance requirements and the incurring costs over the asset life cycle, as well as to cope with uncertainty. Digitalization shifts the focus from data collection to data utilization. More than ever, we need knowledge – the ability to structure and interpret information. The new knowledge-based lifecycle management (LCM) book offers now guidance on the subject in Finnish.

According to Research Scientist Jyri Hanski from VTT, one of the writers of the new knowledge-based lifecycle management book, lifecycle management (LCM) is an important approach and philosophy for improving overall resource efficiency and performance of systems, products, and services. LCM considers the whole life cycle from idea and concept to manufacturing, use and disposal or recycling.

LCM as a catalyst to true circular economy

Can this approach help us to tackle the many practical problems related to advancing true circular economy and abandoning the linear “use and dispose” models?

“LCM has several roles in advancing true circular economy: On one hand, LCM fosters efficient management of products and production assets, and therefore advances the sustainability of organizations. On the other hand, LCM supports the implementation of technologies enabling circular economy by evaluating their potential risks and impacts and providing necessary information for product or production asset reuse in new applications”, Hanski emphasizes.

In addition, LCM supports practical circular economy strategies such as life cycle extension and resource efficiency with LCM activities such a maintenance, refurbishment, and upgrade investment.

“Life cycle assessment is still an important tool in the LCM toolbox as it reveals the environmental impacts a product, production system, company or company network has over its lifecycle. This is crucial information for developing LCM activities from the perspective of environmental performance”, he adds.

Comprehensive LCM data is also a necessary enabler for re-use of assets in a new application.

New understanding for business managers

Knowledge-based lifecycle management book presents and discusses models, methods, and practical examples of Life Cycle Management (LCM) activities in capital intensive industries. LCM refers to a business management approach for managing the entire life cycle of goods and services to improve their performance and sustainability. But what does it take to get our business decision-makers interested in such methods and to adopt the methods into use?

“These methods really could benefit LCM in organizations. Products and production infrastructure are assets that should be managed to maximize their value. Megatrends such as digitalization, climate change and sustainability require reconsidering the principles by which assets are managed. This book aims to give managers new understanding and methods to envision the full variety of opportunities that LCM creates and fulfil the potential of their asset base”, Hanski says.

There are already some books available on different topics of LCM and asset management covered in this book. However, in comparison to previous books, this one takes a multidisciplinary and comprehensive perspective on the topic with a focus on:
• LCM activities and stakeholder perspective
• importance of dependability, safety, and risk management
• setting requirements for physical assets based on success factors derived from business and technology environments
• determining maintenance strategies as part of LCM
• diversity of information and competence required in LCM
• understanding the rising importance of information, information refinement and utilization in business
• principles and techniques for data refinement
• principles of data modelling and statistics.

LCM needed in sustainable management of critical raw materials

The sustainable use of natural resources and the looming shortage of many important raw materials raise the importance of life cycle management. If we take an example like critical minerals used in mobile phones, for instance tantalum or tungsten, how could knowledge-based lifecycle management be used to manage the whole value chain related to these minerals of which mining is done in very dubious circumstances although all the companies producing mobile phones claim to be responsible?
“LCM supports the sustainable management of critical raw materials by identifying the critical raw material content in the products and production systems that are in its scope. After this, there are many alternatives to manage the supply chains. The most effective would be to design the products and systems in a way that minimizes the sustainability impacts and critical raw material usage by e.g., substitution with non-critical raw materials. In addition, measures for reusing and recycling the existing critical raw materials and products containing them should be pursued”, Hanski points out.
Further, LCM supports the social responsibility by providing increased visibility to the value chain by e.g., adopting material or product passports or certificates.
The book is an output of Smart Otaniemi pilot “Operational reliability in smart energy systems” which aimed at supporting smart energy systems by
• ensuring reliable operation by enhancing lifecycle management with novel technologies
• defining Asset Life Cycle management framework and methods to assess affordability of solutions improving operational reliability and
• identifying key technologies for improving operational reliability.

The book is available for free reading or loading from
Text: Sirpa Mustonen, Motiva Oy