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Model for the design of sustainable machine tools

Model for the design of sustainable machine tools

For some time now, machine tool manufacturing companies have been forced to make and assimilate important organisational changes caused, among other reasons, by the globalisation of markets, the relocation of production centres, the uncertainty of the availability of raw materials and the threat of Chinese and other Asian manufacturers, with lower manufacturing costs and high technological absorption capacity.

This has had a major impact on small and medium-sized machine tool manufacturers, which represent the majority of manufacturers in the sector. They must rethink their business models in order to survive the avalanche of new products from low-cost markets. According to the Spanish Association of Machine Tool Manufacturers, the competitiveness axes of companies must be redefined so that they can remain in the market and offer competitive production system solutions.

Given this changing situation, we can venture that the key to the machine tool sector in the coming years will focus on differentiation by innovation, as in many other industrial subsectors. Technological innovation will be key in the coming period. Differentiation is the basis of competitiveness, since it seems that it is not feasible to achieve a sustainable advantage over time, considering only quality, cost and time.

This doctoral thesis proposes an integrated model for the design of sustainable machine tools that is developed with the intention of meeting the pressing need of national and European manufacturers of machine tools to boost product innovation policies which should result in machine tools based on sustainability. The proposed model is based on a methodology and supported by several tools that incorporate economic, environmental and social aspects into the design process of new machine tools.

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