Heating Engineering

Software tool for evaluation of reused, technically complex products

The project partners research conditions that allow extending the periods of use of technically complex products and their components. The prototype software developed in this context facilitates economic and ecological evaluation of various alternatives for continued use of heating pumps after the end of their service life. The project results thus contribute significantly to product lifecycle management as well as to the concepts and objectives of sustainable management.


The primary service life of heating pumps frequently ends after only two years. It was thus the collaborative project's aim to develop and implement concepts that extend the service life of the pumps in order to save resources and reduce the amount of waste produced. The key element here was to provide ecologically and economically significant data for industrial environmental protection as well as to assess the existing data correspondingly.  To evaluate the various disassembly and reconditioning alternatives for heating pumps, the eco-controlling tool "OeCoTool" was developed. The research focuses on the selection of an optimal, component/assembly-related end-of-life strategy for high-quality durable goods.


  • OeCoTool helps decision-makers evaluate economically and ecologically a variety of reuse alternatives for end-of-life products from the most significant product classes. Each product class is represented by a suitable reference product.
  • The production costs and environmental impact of a new article are compared to those of products manufactured using reconditioned parts.
  • For non-recyclable used parts, different alternatives for reuse are taken into account (recycling of materials, sorted after disassembly or mixed fractions after shredding, for example).
  • Two versions were created. One is suitable for mobile use or rapid evaluation and the other is intranet-compatible, product-neutral and cross-platform.
  • The tool indicates consequences, results and conflicts caused by the selected assembly and disassembly, making it the first operational virtual-lifecycle-design tool.
  • The drafted design manual assists decision-makers in the development of product design in regard to the extended lifecycle of the pumps and their components.


Promoting Institutions

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Promotional Program

Betriebliche Instrumente für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften

More Project Information

Project title: Verbundprojekt: Life-Cycle-Extension durch Konzeption und Implementierung neuer Nutzungsstrategien zur nachhaltigen Wiederverwendung technisch komplexer Produkte

Project number: 01RU0019, 01RU0020, 01RU0021, 01RU0022, 01RU0023, 01RU0024, 01RU0025

Project period: 2001 - 2004

Project region: Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Bremen, North Rhine-Westphalia)

Project contact:

Herr Bender

Herr Erhardt

Herr Gerlach

Herr Reif

Herr Dr. Grieger

Frau Wittek

Herr Dr. Tatzel

Herr Fetting

Frau Dr. sc. Jasper

View Publication

Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)