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Design News, May 2013

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Materials & Assembly Eight Ways to Design End-of-Life Into Your Products An analysis of what's needed to implement Design for Disassembly and Design for Recycling results in eight strategies engineers can use to design an intentional end-of-life stage into their products. By Clinton McDade, Schaefer Systems International A s the awareness and expense of environmental is- its own set of benefits and challenges. But regardless of the sues increase, and raw material costs march ever specific strategy, each must have a well-defined purpose.What higher, Designing for Disassembly is receiving is the end-goal of the disassembly strategy? Is it to repurpose a lot of airplay as a "green" and cost-savings ap- components, reclaim usable parts for refurbishment, or make proach that responsible companies are adopting to better con- materials recycling easier? Repurposing, taking an existing component and using it trol their products' end-of-life stage. In a sense, this step completes what has mainly been an in- unchanged in another product, can be the most straightforcomplete process. In general, traditional in-house product de- ward approach. A good example of this is GM's goal of findsign has concentrated on getting products into a customer's ing non-automotive uses for the Chevrolet Volt's lithium hands. The important factors were the aesthetics function, batteries when their performance drops below the car's cost, manufacturing, packagProduct EndComments Key Strategies for Design for Disassembly ing, shipping, and display of the of-Life Goal product. What happened to the Repurpose – Most straight forward – Plan internal layout of components for easy – Markets exists for some components and visibility, access and removal product in its afterlife was left to unchanged – Minimize use of fasteners and commonize on others: the waste collectors, mate- components in – sub-assemblies be easy to access and another product Components must one standard and head type remove – Minimize the use of permanent fastening rial recyclers, antique dealers, and methods garage tinkerers. Reclaim – Usually more complicated than repurposing – Plan internal layout of components for easy However, with the current reusable in labor and organization required: products visibility, access, and removal economic conditions and level of parts for must be disassembled, components and sub- – Use modules or subassemblies to reduce be tested, sorted, and eco-awareness, the value and en- refurbishment – assemblies must functional and non- stored – assembly operations. Markets exist for Minimize use of fasteners and commonize on vironmental cost of these "dead" functional components and sub-assemblies one standard and head type – Components must be easy to access and – Minimize the use of permanent fastening products are now being recogremove methods nized, assessed, and quantified. So Ease materials – Products are disassembled and components – Choose recyclable materials rather than leave their products' recycling separated by material types – Minimize the use of permanent fastening – To be reprocessed into usable raw materials, methods ultimate demise to chance, some component materials must be easy to – Reduce the number of dissimilar materials, companies are designing an inseparate into pure streams especially within a category (e.g., plastics, metals) tentional end-of-life phase. Strategies to accomplish this Strategies to be used for Design for Disassembly and Design for Recycling differ based on which take multiple forms, each with end-of-life goal engineers intend for their products. Design News | MAY 2013 | w w w. d e s i g n n e w s . c o m –44– magenta cyan yellow black ES244372_DN1305_044.pgs 05.02.2013 05:22 UBM

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