Embracing the Circular Economy with Fusion

Nick Lieven Nick Lieven February 27, 2024

3 min read

Explore how Autodesk Fusion enables businesses to reduce waste and optimize resources during product development, giving them a competitive edge in today’s sustainability-conscious market.

Consumer products sustainability

Current estimates project that Earth’s population will reach as many as 10 billion people by 2050. As we barrel towards this future, the need for sustainable production and consumption has never been more pressing. 

Today, the manufacturing industry accounts for approximately 19% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. However, what will happen when the global population increases by billions of people? Many experts believe that to accommodate a larger population, the demand for materials and energy will double.

Creating a future that can sustain a larger population without exacerbating environmental impact requires us to reimagine the way we approach manufacturing and the economy as a whole. With the emerging need for a more circular economy, Autodesk Fusion is poised to be a pivotal tool to enable the transition.

What is the circular economy?

As global resources become increasingly scarce and environmental concerns grow, the circular economy offers a viable and necessary alternative to the unsustainable practices of the past. At its core, the circular economy aims to eliminate waste and pollution by keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible. As a result, the circular economy creates a closed-loop system that minimizes the need for extracting new resources.

In a circular economy, products are designed on the principles of durability, reuse, and recyclability. A circular economy emphasizes the importance of ensuring that products can endure prolonged functionality and can be repurposed or recycled at the end of their life cycle. It also encourages new products to be manufactured using reused materials, thus creating a full cycle. 

This approach contrasts sharply with the linear model — where products are often designed for single use and disposal, leading to waste and resource depletion. The circular economy model extends to all aspects of production and consumption, including design, manufacturing, distribution, and waste management.

Environmentally, a circular economy reduces the strain on natural resources and decreases pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Economically, it offers opportunities for growth and innovation, as businesses find new ways to create value from waste and closed-loop processes. Socially, a circular economy can lead to more sustainable consumption patterns and create new job opportunities in sectors like recycling and remanufacturing.

Empowering the circular economy with Autodesk Fusion

Autodesk Fusion is a powerful tool that helps designers create products that embrace circular economy ideals and incorporate these ideals directly into designs. 

Makersite add-on for Autodesk Fusion

Within Fusion’s comprehensive suite of tools and features, the Makersite Add-on for Fusion assists designers in creating the most sustainable version of their products while simultaneously focusing on cost savings. This add-on allows for real-time decision-making pertaining to CO2 emissions and costs, offers material replacement recommendations, and provides heat map visualization for understanding the environmental impact of design choices.

The Makersite Add-on for Fusion converts CAD models into a Bill of Materials (BOM), followed by calculating carbon emissions and cost estimates for each part. This functionality is crucial for analyzing the carbon impact of materials used in model components, thereby helping users identify alternatives that can minimize the overall carbon footprint. By evaluating material costs and presenting carbon impacts and costs in a heatmap format, the Makersite Add-on enhances designers’ ability to make informed, sustainable decisions in their design process​.

A greener future

As the world moves towards accommodating 10 billion people, the push for sustainable, efficient, and circular business models is inevitable. Fusion offers an array of tools and features that empower businesses to align with these global shifts. Integrating sustainability into design and manufacturing processes helps businesses reduce environmental impact, drive innovation, and gain a competitive edge in the emerging circular economy.

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