LiveWorx 2023: Strategies for Improving Product Sustainability

Written by: Greg Kaminsky

Read Time: 4 min

The topic of sustainability was a new and welcome addition at LiveWorx 2023, a four-day event centered around the ways in which product lifecycle innovation is driving business value. With a dedicated content track featuring 27 breakout sessions, LiveWorx provided a detailed glimpse into why sustainability has become integral to PTC’s portfolio, touching on how to design, manufacture, and service physical products more sustainably, while highlighting tangible outcomes manufacturers can achieve through today’s technology.

The sustainability theme was prevalent across the Xtropolis show floor as well, with 28 exhibits from PTC and its ecosystem of partners and leading-edge customers. Among these customers was wind-turbine manufacturer, Vestas, who provided a powerful showcase for the value of an end-to-end digital thread with daily demos showing how PTC software is helping them maintain their position as a global leader in sustainable energy solutions. Other manufacturers, such as Cummins and Harpak Ulma, shared insights into their own sustainability initiatives and the progress they’ve been making through their products and processes. PTC’s employee champion network, Green at PTC, even had an interactive booth that polled passersby to help decide which of three environmental organizations would receive a donation from PTC of $15,000. Over 250 LiveWorx attendees voted, with Conservational International winning out. 

PTC's reduction commitment and expanded technology partnerships

As is tradition at LiveWorx, the opening keynote featured several notable announcements regarding the future direction of PTC, including new greenhouse gas reduction commitments and expanded partnerships with Ansys and aPriori. Sharing the stage with PTC’s CEO, Catherine Kniker, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, announced that PTC has committed to reducing its emissions through the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi), joining a growing list of companies that are aiming to prevent the worst effects of climate change by committing to specific reduction timelines while working towards net-zero emissions.

In addition to the SBTi commitment, PTC announced two enhanced technology progressions that will help customers drive more sustainable design decisions. One is an integration with Ansys’ materials information management solution, Ansys Granta MI, that will make it easier for engineers using Creo and Windchill to assess how using certain materials will impact a product’s performance, embodied carbon, and recyclability.

In addition to integrating Ansys’ Granta solution, PTC also plans to integrate capabilities from aPriori into Windchill to let users review designs by generating reports on part costs, manufacturability, and environmental footprint. When designers need to improve certain aspects of a product, aPriori’s integrated technology will generate instant recommendations within Windchill, before design commitments with excessive costs or footprint are made.

Opportunities for manufacturers to drive sustainability improvements

The sustainability content track at LiveWorx 2023 featured a variety of solo presentations and panel-style discussions, all of which stressed the urgent need for manufacturing organizations to get serious about sustainability. Why? As Dave Duncan, VP of Sustainability, noted in his track spotlight session alongside Kniker, “for the Earth to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Towards this, industrialized nations need to lead the charge, generally reducing emissions 50% by 2030 and then 50% every decade after that.”

To accomplish this, they explained, manufacturers must drive meaningful product sustainability improvements across three areas:

  • Using better and less material in products
  • Using energy efficient methods in the production, logistics, operations, and servicing of products and goods
  • Reducing the amount of waste incurred through the production, servicing, and end of life processing of physical products


As environmental regulations continue to evolve in the coming years, each of these areas will become increasingly important for manufacturers. The biggest opportunity to create impact, however, will be within the design phase, where up to 80% of a product’s lifetime footprint gets determined.

“Design does have the biggest impact,” explained Duncan. “80% is the industry-benchmarked percentage, but our customers have told us anywhere from 65% to 85%. Most commonly, the embodied carbon within a physical product is its biggest impact. So, material supplier and component supplier selections are critical. So is using only the amount of material needed to meet performance and appearance constraints, as well as selecting the right manufacturing processes for the selected materials and components, and factory location.”

Technologies like CAD and PLM will be critical for engineering teams looking to develop greener products. Companies like Cummins are already utilizing solutions like Creo’s AI-driven generative design to cut back on material use and the associated costs. Beyond designing for sustainability, Duncan outlined several other avenues for reducing emissions, including data-driven energy management and an asset-centric approach to field service.

“We have evaluated several partner ThingWorx-based applications for energy management that are succeeding in the market,” he said. “Customers are seeing 10% to 15% energy efficiency improvements driven by the measures and insights of these applications. The level of data visibility also makes it feasible to get accurate product-level footprint data, which is increasingly becoming a sales driver for the more efficient manufacturers.”

For organizations that dispatch field service technicians, PTC’s service lifecycle management technology can better prepare technicians for the job at hand and combine reactive trips with appropriate preventative maintenance while on-site.

“ServiceMax not only optimizes technician routes, but through an asset-centric approach will only send technicians as a last resort. Much of the service may be done remotely,” said Duncan. “That’s a lot of embodied carbon saved on parts and Scope 1 tailpipe emissions avoided from technician trucks.”

Approaches to sustainability that will scale next

As manufacturers put their product lifecycle under a microscope and look for ways to improve sustainability, PTC’s portfolio of solutions can play an important role by driving dematerialization, energy efficiency, and waste reduction.

“There is so much more we can do on materials,” Kniker explained in the track spotlight session. “Which materials we use, how much we use, where we source, and how we can reuse at the end of life. Our new partnerships will greatly enhance this capability.”

“We can also improve on how we reduce our energy requirements in manufacturing,” she said. “Which means making design choices that require less energy when manufacturing and leveraging IoT sensors and other information to ensure that we are manufacturing as efficiently as possible. The same is true for waste.”

While LiveWorx 2023 has come to a close, the majority of manufacturers are only just getting started on their sustainability initiatives. As many of the sessions, exhibitors, and attendees at LiveWorx showed, there is strong interest in the opportunities ahead of us.

LiveWorx On Demand

Explore recorded content from LiveWorx 2023 with presentations featuring the latest in ALM, AR, Agile Product Development, CAD, Sustainability, IIoT, PLM, Service, and more. liveworx-on-demand
Tags: Sustainability Sustainability Initiatives CAD Creo Windchill Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Digital Transformation

About the Author

Greg Kaminsky Greg Kaminsky is a Senior Brand Marketing Manager at PTC based in Boston, Massachusetts. He focuses on sharing customer innovation stories and exploring how digital transformation helps product companies become more sustainable and efficient. With a background in marketing, video, and content creation, Greg is inspired by examples of people and technology that are pushing the boundaries of cutting edge. Outside of the office, Greg also enjoys volunteering and finding ways to positively impact the community as part of PTC's global ambassador group, Green at PTC.

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