158: Thinking Sustainability in Hardware Product Design

158: Thinking Sustainability in Hardware Product Design

January 11, 2023

With Dave Duncan, VP Sustainability at PTC

Hosted by Kevin Mako, President of MAKO Design + Invent

158: Thinking Sustainability in Hardware Product Design
158: Thinking Sustainability in Hardware Product Design

Dave Duncan is the Vice President Sustainability at PTC Corp, the company behind multiple product design software solutions including OnShape and CREO. He has spent over 20 years in the product design software world, and has his Bachelor of Engineering from Princeton University. Today Dave is going to share some valuable knowledge for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers on what it means to develop a sustainable product, what the 3 different types of product sustainability are, and how to use modern best practices in ensuring your product is most marketable by including sustainability as one of your key product development priorities.

Today you will hear us talk about:

  • Designing for sustainability
  • Manufacturing for sustainability
  • Servicing and Lifecycle management of the product
  • Design for sustainability early
  • The main impacts are around carbon emissions
  • Products can be designed for sustainability
  • What do you have to do to adhere to sustainability, and what can you do to improve sustainability beyond what the regulations are.
  • Don’t wait too late in the product design lifecycle to start building sustainability into the product design.
  • Software can help analyze the options.
  • Build in sustainability to your early design.
  • Even in B2B product sales, now there are metrics to promote the purchasing of sustainable products. It gives your product an edge.
  • This is an advantage as a startup
  • 80% of a product’s carbon and waste footprint is determined at design time.
  • 20% can be done in the factory to reduce that further.
  • Bottleneck analysis
  • Energy management
  • The circular economy / circular product
  • In design, simply put, think about how your product will end, and how it can be re-used, recycled, or re-configured.
  • Think about your commercial relationships with your customers regarding end of useful life.
  • Generative design in OnShape can actually remove materials through AI. This is called lightweighting.
  • With Arena, you can manage the bill of materials, and analyze


  1. 3:17 – Our planet and society now wants to leave the planet better than what we started with
  2. 3:35 – Sustainability in manufacturing is primarily in reducing the carbon footprint, and reducing the amount of material waste along the way
  3. 4:51 – Figure out what you have to do regarding sustainability (what are the regulations), but furthermore, what should you do.
  4. 5:35 – Historically, hardware companies eventually do sustainability late in development or even manufacturing.  Better to start much earlier in the actual design process.
  5. 6:30 – You can use design software much earlier in the process to identify sustainability efficiencies
  6. 10:27 – Companies more and more are reporting on sustainability as a metric in their purchasing decisions for buying hardware products
  7. 11:00 – Green products are more and more desired by corporate buyers
  8. 11:48 – Sustainability is an advantage for a hardware startup because you can move faster on making sustainable decisions than big corporate.
  9. 13:43 – 80% of a product’s footprint overall is determined in the actual design phase.
  10. 14:20 – Manufacturing bottleneck analysis.
  11. 15:18 – Manufacturing energy management.
  12. 15:45 – There is software that can analyse manufacturing sustainability even at the factory level
  13. 19:05 – The circular economy, circular product, lifecycle management.
  14. 19:20 – Sustainability at the product’s end of life
  15. 20:10 – Your commercial arrangements for sustainability


Dave Duncan Links:
LinkedIn | Try OnShape for Free | Creo

The Product Startup Podcast Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

PTC Links:
OnShape | Creo

Mako Design Links:
YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Kevin Mako Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!