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Role of smart technologies for implementing industry 4.0 environment in product lifetime extension towards circular economy: A qualitative research

Ertz Myriam et Gasteau Florian. (2023). Role of smart technologies for implementing industry 4.0 environment in product lifetime extension towards circular economy: A qualitative research. Heliyon, 9, (6), e16762.

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Since sustainability has grown in prominence over the past two decades, the impetus for improving the lifetime of durable and semi-durable manufactured goods has never been stronger. In order to decrease the level of natural resources extraction, as well as the increasing amounts of residuals and solid waste, product lifetime extension (PLE) strategies, such as improved design, maintenance, redistribution, access, and recovery, show great potential, especially if paired with smart technologies in the Industry 4.0 (I4.0) environment. Much research has investigated the contribution of I4.0 technologies to sustainability and the circular economy. Yet, only a few studies have focused on exploring the contribution of smart technologies to the specific area of PLE. This paper advances knowledge regarding the impact of four specific types of smart technologies on PLE strategies: Additive Manufacturing, the Internet of Things, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence. This study consists of exploratory qualitative research to explore the mechanism underlying the implementation of these I4.0 technologies in PLE for a circular economy. Qualitative data is collected through twenty semi-directed, in-depth interviews with business leaders and executives involved in product development and research and development (R&D) in Quebec, Canada. An analytical approach parented to grounded theory and consisting of open, axial, and selective coding led to identifying four emerging themes explaining how focal smart technologies contribute to PLE. These include (1) empowerment and acceleration of R&D (improvement of prototypes, prototype validation), (2) smarter production (tooling assistance, manufacturing assistance), (3) automation of managerial and operational processes (automation of management, automation of production), and (4) help with decision-making (anticipation, identification, and solving of problems). These findings have broad relevance for sustainability theory and practice by highlighting the specific mechanisms through which technology contributes to product sustainability.

Type de document:Article publié dans une revue avec comité d'évaluation
Version évaluée par les pairs:Oui
Date:Juin 2023
Sujets:Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences de la gestion > Marketing
Sciences sociales et humaines > Sciences sociales > Économie
Département, module, service et unité de recherche:Départements et modules > Département des sciences économiques et administratives
Mots-clés:smart technologies, industry 4.0, product lifetime extension, circular economy, qualitative research, interviews
Déposé le:03 juill. 2023 15:17
Dernière modification:03 juill. 2023 15:17
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