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Design News, May 2013

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Materials & Assembly Implementing Df D doesn't have to be costly or difficult and can actually lead to improved products. In my position at Schaefer Systems International, I design injectionmolded, reusable containers and pallets for the materials handling industry. This is in support of the shift away from wood and corrugated paper products. The majority of our industry's products are manufactured out of recyclable polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). In theory, when a product's use cycle is complete, it can be ground up, mixed with virgin material, and remolded into replacement products. However, some plastic containers on the market include components made of dissimilar materials, like metal rod hinges, nylon pivot pins, or cardholders made of different plastics. If not removed before grinding, one small component made of these dissimilar materials can contaminate the recycled plastic supply. The DfD approach would eliminate the contamination concern by designing a product without using dissimilar materials. For example, when we designed our CF Collapsible Containers line, we intentionally replaced metal rod hinges and nylon pivot pins found in our competitor's products with polypropylene components. By doing this, at the end of its life any CF box can be tossed into our grinder in its entirety with no contamination concern. DfD for a complex assembly like a computer, television, or car can be just as straightforward.When applied at the earliest levels of design, the effect of DfD will be magnified as the scale of the product's complexity increases. There are three steps that one can take to increase the effectiveness of the eight ways for incorporating DfD mentioned previously: 1 Meet with the employees on the f loor who manufacture and assemble your product. They live with the installation problems every day and can probably suggest product and Because it has no components made of dissimilar materials, the CF Collapsible Container tote can be thrown into a grinder completely assembled. Using one material for all components prevents the need for labor to disassemble the box before grinding. process improvements. For example, by including the f loor workers in the design stages, GE was able to reduce parts in the GeoSpring water heater by 20 percent and cut assembly time by 80 percent. 2 Meet with staff at a recycling plant. Familiarize yourself with the plant's internal operations. Investigate its time studies on your products. Ask the people doing disassembly what issues they run into. Find out what problems they have with materials separation. 3 Get your suppliers involved in working with your design team. Their expertise may lead to innovations or new materials that you could miss on your own. Interestingly, most of the eight steps for incorporating Df D I suggest are identical to the ones that I already use to insure efficient assembly and ease of service/repair in my designs. Upon ref lection, this is not surprising since many of them are centered around the placement of, and ensuring access to, the internal components. Incorporating DfD into one's design process should not be a costly or difficult endeavor. Its successful implementation can affect more than the end-of-life stage of your product. Most likely, it will also improve the product's quality and reduce its costs through improved materials selection, reduced parts inventory, and ease and speed of assembly. Including the positive environmental impact on top of the business considerations means DfD is an all-around win. DN Clinton McDade is senior product designer of plastic products for Schaefer Systems International. For More Information: Schaefer Systems International: www.ssi-schafer.us Source: Schaefer Systems International r 3FEVDFT UIF OVNCFS PG UPPMT r 3FEVDFT UIF OVNCFS PG UJNFT UPPMT OFFE UP CF DIBOHFE PVU 5 Plan the internal layout of components to reduce layering r 2VJDLFS BDDFTT UP BMM DPNQPOFOUT r *ODSFBTFE WJTJCJMJUZ PG BMM DPNQPOFOUT 6 Choose recyclable materials r &MJNJOBUFT NBUFSJBMT UIBU XJMM FOE VQ JO MBOEGJMMT r 8JMM NPTU MJLFMZ NJOJNJ[F UPYJD NBUFSJBMT 7 Minimize the use of permanent fastening methods like adhesives or welding r "MMPXT GPS EJTBTTFNCMZ r "MMPXT GPS TFQBSBUJPO PG NBUFSJBMT 8 Reduce the number of dissimilar materials, especially within a category (e.g., plastics, metals) r .BLFT NBUFSJBMT TFQBSBUJPO FBTJFS r 3FEVDFT DIBODFT GPS DSPTT DPOUBNJOBUJPO Design News | MAY 2013 | w w w. d e s i g n n e w s . c o m –48– magenta cyan yellow black ES244386_DN1305_048.pgs 05.02.2013 05:23 UBM

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