Course: ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING
Session: 2014/2015 – Term 2
Lecturer: Eur Ing Dr Alec D Coutroubis
Title: Redesigning the disposable BIC ballpoint pen.
You have been employed by Société Bic as the manager of ‘Environmentally Friendly Product Development for disposable ballpoint pens. Analyse the physical product (the standard BIC pen) and, having performed a ‘reverse’ Environmental Life Cycle Assessment, recommend changes in its design and manufacture in order to minimise its environmental impact without compromising on its function or reliability.
The following steps will be carried out during this assignment
1. Analyse the physical product that is the standard BIC pen 2. Perform a ‘reverse’ Environmental Life Cycle Assessment. (LCA) 3. Recommend changes in Design in order to minimise its environmental impact without compromising on its function or reliability. 4. Recommend changes in manufacturing in order to minimise its environmental impact without compromising on its function or reliability.
1. Analysing the BIC pen.
The cap, barrel, joint support, plug and cartridge container Bic pen’s cap, barrel, joint support, plug and cartridge container the plastic parts of the pen is made of polypropylene. The cap, barrel, joint support, plug and cartridge container are fabricated through a process called injection moulding. Plastic pellets are heated through a barrel and then the melted plastic is injected into a mould to make the different polypropylene parts. The ball bearing
The ball bearing is made of a textured tungsten carbide. The material is superior to other metal such as steel as it has the particular property of being resistant to deformation. The ball is designed to be a perfect sphere that can literally grip most any writing surface. Its surface is actually composed of over 50,000 polished surfaces and pits. The pits are connected by a series of channels that are continuous throughout the entire sphere. This design allows the ink to be present on both the surface and interior of the ball. Tungsten carbide powder is compressed, creating 1mm pellets. Then they are sanded with a diamond paste in a lapping machine and lubricant is added. This process in done over 5 days. The socket point or Brass insert
This socket point, made out of brass is punched out. The tungsten carbide is then mounted into the point. This process is called punching. The Ink is made up of dyes, resins and solvents to create the right viscosity. The ink is contained in a plastic tube, which is form by being heated and then extruded through a bath of water.
The different components are then assembled to make the BIC ball pen. The plastic cartridge container are filled with ink, then they are attached to the ball point which is itself attached with the joint support. At this stage, it is mounted into the barrel and other components such as the cap and ends are attached. Other finishing steps such as coating and cleaning are performed. Packaging
The finished pens are then packaged according to how they will be sold. Single pens can be put into packages with cardboard backings. Groups of pens are packed into bags or boxes. These sales units are then put into boxes, stacked on pallets, and shipped to distributors.
Figure 1. BIC ballpoint pen technical information. (bicworld.com) 2. Perform a ‘reverse’ Environmental Life Cycle Assessment. (LCA)
Figure 2. Environmental performance measurements of the BIC Cristal ballpoint pen along with BIC other products. (C02 %)
End of Life Cycle
According to BIC, their products including the BIC ballpoint pen has often been stigmatised as “disposable”. It is not the case as it has to be noted that the products is not recyclable and hence has a big environmental impact on the earth. The biggest issue faced by the company is that most of the raw materials used in the production is non-recyclable.
The usage of the BIC ballpoint...
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