It is a well-recognized sustainability software package, with which the user can model and analyse complex life cycles in a systematic and transparent way, following ISO 14040 series recommendations (PRé Consultants, 2014). The package requires the user to build a life cycle of product and fill details in each stage of product life cycle such as material, process, transport, recycle, reuse and disposal; and then, the results of product life cycle network and ecological impact are presented.
In data collection stage, the user can input the amount of material, processes and relative data available in the huge databases built in the package (see Table 2), which are collected from a large number of sources related to variety of assessment methods as listed in Table 3. Furthermore, the database can be modified and extended based on customer's requirement. The user can add new material or process into the database and use it in his/her application. Function equations are also supported by SimaPro when the user adds new parameters or elements.
SimaPro 7.3 also has the clear and precise presentation of results. The breakdown network of processes and materials is shown in Fig.4. At the right side of each element of the presentation network, ecological impact indicator is illustrated as a red color bar. The size of the colour bar indicates the scale of the impact: the larger one represents larger ecological impact of this element. Figure 5 shows an example that the comparison between the initial design of gearbox (red colour) with its optimized eco-design (green colour). This function is helpful for designer to compare the LCIA of different products, which is particular useful for eco-design optimization.