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Distributed manufacturing applied to product-service systems

Product-Service Systems (PSS) business model combines products and services into an offering that addresses specific customer needs, enables ownership-free consumption and shows the potential to enable circular economy.

However, it is well known that the implementation of PSS business models is sometimes hindered by a number of organisational, cultural, and regulatory barriers. The hypothesis of this PhD research, carried out as a part of the EU-funded (ERASMUS+) research project LeNSin, was that the application of localised small-scale and personalised production, so called Distributed Manufacturing (DM), can help companies and designers to overcome some of the barriers and improve the development of PSS offerings.

The overall aim of this research project was to investigate the potential applications of DM to improve PSS by coupling existing PSS implementation barriers with favourable DM opportunities into a set of near-future scenarios. Scenarios were then integrated into the idea generation tool which was tested with students, PSS and/or DM experts, manufacturing companies and design practitioners through three rounds of workshops in order to evaluate its completeness, effectiveness and usability and define recommendations for improvements. The improved final version of the "PSS+DM Design Tool" presents the potential to support idea generation to improve sustainable PSS development through the application of DM.

Meet the Principal Investigator(s) for the project

Dr Fabrizio Ceschin
Dr Fabrizio Ceschin - I am a Reader in Design for Sustainability, coordinator of the Design for Sustainability research group and member of the Design for Sustainable Manufacturing research theme. I worked in the Design and Innovation for Sustainability research unit at Politecnico di Milano for six years before joining Brunel University London in 2012. I carry out research in the area of: - Design for Sustainability and Circular Economy, and in particular in developing principles, strategies and tools to innovate and design products, services, product-service systems and business models integrating environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability; - Co-design, and in particular on how to support multi-stakeholder and participatory design processes. Over the past years I have been involved in several international and national research projects, funded by the European Commission, EPSRC, Innovate UK, the British Council, SMEs and multinational enterprises. My research projects have resulted in more than 80 journal and conference publications and 4 books. I have been teaching in the area of design for sustainability over the past 15 years. I am currently teaching modules on Fundamentals of Design for Sustainability and Advanced Design for Sustainability (BA and BSc), and I am director of the MSc Integrated Product Design. I am member of the EPSRC Peer Review College, the Design Research Society and the British Industrial Design Association, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Education I obtained a BSc and MSc equivalent degrees in Industrial Design awarded by Politecnico di Milano in Italy. In 2009 I started my doctoral research in design for sustainability at Politecnico di Milano, which was completed in 2012.

Related Research Group(s)


Design for Sustainability - We focus on developing the theory and practice required to design solutions that foster environmental, socio-ethical and economic sustainability in areas ranging from materials and manufacturing to products, services, business models, bottom-up initiatives and socio-technical systems.

Partnering with confidence

Organisations interested in our research can partner with us with confidence backed by an external and independent benchmark: The Knowledge Exchange Framework. Read more.

Project last modified 21/11/2023