Design for Disassembly: An Essential Guide

(From Core77)

Creative Director and Sketchbook Fanatic at Pensar Development in Seattle, Alex Diener gets down and dirty with an in-depth look at Design for Disassembly. With the help of Senior Industrial Designer Kristin Will, his Core77 blog entry lays out the rationale and methodology for a design strategy that considers the future need to disassemble a product for repair, refurbish or recycle.

Fueled by his frustration with a iron that died after only 2 years of use, Deiner begins his story by tearing apart the product to discover that his autopsy takes 67 steps to separate it into 52 parts. What follows is a clearly laid out guide to integrating his methology into your design work. His article is a truly useful starting point for a new way of thinking about product design and is chock full of links to many more resources.


2 Responses to “Design for Disassembly: An Essential Guide”

  1. 1 Philip White February 11, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    This is a fairly thorough list of design for disassembly guidelines that has been around for almost two decades. Before such DfD guidelines are adopted, it is important to understand some of their practical and economic limitations.

    A challenge for designers is estimating the time required or manual disassembly, human identification of materials and transport of the parts to the correct recycling “bin”. In some cases this can happen quickly; in other casers is quite time consuming. In the latter cases, the cost of the labor can be much greater than the economic value of the materials and the process is not economically viable.

    There is a weight limit on parts over which such DfD rules apply – usually around 5 grams, more or less. Certainly less for precious metals – and more for commodity plastics. This is a crucial point that designers often misunderstand and that should be included in such DfD guidelines.

    Further, once valuable and toxic materials have been removed from an assembly using labor intensive methods, the remaining assembly is mechanically shred and machines sort the material fragments into respective streams, somewhat like mining processes. This is increasingly occurring in Europe under the WEEE.

    So on large monomaterial assemblies weighing more than 5 grams, YES, follow these guidelines to insure that valuable and toxic components can be quickly and easily removed. This is especially true for products that will be sold in Europe, Japan or Korea. Otherwise, use good judgement about how and when such guidelines should be applied.

    Philip White
    Assistant Professor, Industrial Design program, School of Design Innovation
    Affiliate Professor, School of Sustainability
    Arizona State University
    Co-Chair, IDSA Ecodesign Section
    Principal, Orb Analysis for Design

  1. 1 el DfM/A « la Sintaxis del Diseño Trackback on April 18, 2012 at 11:29 am

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