Wednesday, April 30, 2014

IDSA: Design for Disassembly

IDSA: Design for Disassembly

Original Post:

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:

Design for Disassembly

Design for disassembly (DfD) is a technical topic that often misunderstood. Designers and engineers often assume that design for disassembly means design for manual disassembly (disassembly with hand tools). Some products will be entirely manually disassembled at end of life. Some will be entirely shred in material shredders (like automobile shredders), after which the materials will be sorted by sorting equipment. Many products will be partially manually disassembled (to remove valuable, toxic or large mono-material parts). Some DfD design guidelines apply to all products and subassemblies, regardless of whether they will be shred or manually disassembled. Assemblies that will be manually disassembled are subject to manual DfD guidelines.
Alex Diener addresses some of the problems and strategies designers can consider when designing for disassembly.
This technical paper outlines considerations of design for manual disassembly.
Darinka Aguirre discusses design for repurposing: reusing components in new functions.
Design news describes DfD considerations in this article.

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nathan Shedroff: Design for Disassembly

Nathan Shedroff's: Design for Disassembly

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:

Original post:

Design for Disassembly

Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from “Design Is the Problem,” the latest book by Nathan Shedroff, chair of the MBA in Design Strategy program at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Contrary to the book’s title, Shedroff presents practical, specific and executable solutions to designing for sustainability, covering topics from biomimicry and life cycle analysis to dematerialization.
Recycling is an important tenant of sustainability, but in order to be effective, products need to be easily disassembled into component parts and separated by material. If this is difficult, these products simply end up in the landfill instead.
The worst parts, in terms of recycling, are those made from two different materials bonded together, because they can’t be easily separated. The Cradle to Cradle framework designates these as “monstrous hybrids.” A good example of this type of hybrid would be milk and juice cartons that come with circular pour spouts and caps built into the side. The plastic cap and spout can’t be recycled with the waxed cardboard, and yet there are no easy ways for recyclers to separate these quickly. While this design is particularly convenient for some users, it makes recycling nearly impossible (a good example of opposing goals). The only way to recycle these is for users to cut the plastic spout from the rest of the container before placing them both in a recycling bin.
Likewise, most modern clothing presents a particular challenge since so much of it is blended from natural and artificial fibers. That shirt with 80 percent cotton and 20 percent rayon can’t be recycled in either compost or recycling bins. Currently, it can only go into the trash bin (and, thus, the landfill) since we have no economical way of separating the two materials.
The next most difficult materials to recycle are products that can’t be taken apart easily (therefore, they go into the trash instead of being recycled). Any product with parts that are bonded together or sealed so that they can’t be disassembled at all are not going to be recycled. Likewise, products assembled with complex assemblies or requiring custom or multiple tools aren’t likely to be recycled either. If it takes too long for workers to disassemble, they just won’t do it. In addition, these same products likely won’t get repaired often (or ever) for the same reason, which makes them difficult to endure or reuse. Design for disassembly is often the same as design for assembly. Improvements that designers and engineers make toward the end goal of ease of disassembling a product often take into account – and improve – how that product is assembled in the first place.
It’s not too difficult to design more easily disassembled products when it’s part of the initial phase of the design specification and goals. However, once engineering, design and production are already checked, it’s nearly impossible to redesign for easy disassembly.
To whatever extent possible, designers and developers can increase the likelihood of their products being recycled by using the following techniques:
Pure-material parts: These are parts made from only one material that doesn’t need to be separated. For most products, it’s unlikely that the whole product can be made from the same material, but if a product’s parts are at least uni-material, then each can be recycled easily.
Fewer parts: Where possible and applicable, reducing the number of parts can reduce the time and cost of disassembly and also affect the overall environmental impact of potentially reducing the amount of materials used.
Batteries and other electronics that are easy to remove: These components are often the most hazardous in terms of toxic chemicals, and they should be separated from the rest of the waste stream as early as possible. Ideally, they should be recycled separately, which isn’t possible if users can’t pull them out of the product easily.
Standardized fasteners: Have you ever tried to assemble a piece of furniture or tried to repair an electronic product only to find that there were many different fasteners used through the product? It sometimes feels like each bolt or screw has a unique length, size, and head configuration needing a unique tool to deal with each. While this is often a deterrent on the part of the manufacturer to prevent users from repairing their own products, it also increases the complexity (and likelihood to mistakes) in terms of assembly and repair for the manufacturer too. This is just one of the many other benefits that standardization can create.
Accessible fasteners: Anyone who has ever tried to change the oil filter on a typical small car, or a fuse in just about any car, knows the pain involved when parts aren’t easily accessible. There’s no reason why this is the case except that their developers simply didn’t consider putting these parts in more accessible places. The same is true of fasteners. Even if you’ve standardized and reduced the number of fasteners in a product, if you don’t make them accessible, the parts will likely not be separated or recycled. Making any metal fasteners magnetic can both ease disassembly and increase the likelihood that the fasteners themselves will be recovered for reuse or recycling.
Standardized components: Standardization can make components easier to replace and repair. It can help products be more easily used and understood, as well as upgraded. Most electronics would not be possible without a vast number of standards for everything from hard-drive sizes to file formats to transistor connectors and power outlets. Modular components can extend this technique to make products more easily understood, used, serviced, repaired, and ultimately recycled.
No fasteners: Sometimes, cases and components can be designed to clip together without the need for fasteners like screws. For example, many mobile phone cases (like those for the Nokia 6200) do this to allow a plethora of third-party custom case designs. The Macintosh IIcx and IIci family excelled in this respect as well. Hard drives, fans, power supply, motherboard, and other components simply snapped into place with plastic tabs molded into the case itself. These bent just enough to allow them to be held aside for the components to be removed. Parts can be glued or bonded, but only where they are recyclable together because they are identical materials.
Part material labels: No matter how the parts are assembled or how easily disassembled, if the materials for each aren’t immediately identifiable, they won’t be recycled. Recyclers can’t take many chances in contaminating their material streams. If they don’t know that the part is a specific type of plastic or alloy of aluminum, for example, they won’t throw it in the right bin. Instead, they’ll usually divert it to the trash or to the shredder (where it may get contaminated even more, requiring it to be further downcycled). Each part should be clearly marked with an internationally understood label or icon declaring what it is. If some parts are just to tiny (like screws), they should all be made of the same material (so someone could safely assume that they’re all the same material). If a part is made from an unexpected material or a material that looks like something else, this is even more critical. Metals that use alloys (like aluminum cases) should also be labeled by the alloy. It’s not enough to just say “glass” or “aluminum” if it’s a special kind that shouldn’t be mixed with others. There are several commonly understood labels and indicators for just these purposes. For example, the most commonly occurring plastics use a series of seven numbers within a recycling symbol (how’s that for clear?). This system, though less common, extends to glass, metals, batteries and other materials.
15% discount on Shedroff’s book is available from the publisher at , using the code ATISSUE.

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DfD example: Timberland

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:



Innovating Responsibly
Making quality boots and shoes is our business. Unfortunately, our business is not without its impacts . That’s why we focus on ways to create our products with processes and materials that cause less harm to the environment.
Use of Eco-conscious Materials (Footwear)Volume of SKUs (Footwear Products)3.30 %4.20 %76.70 %98.80 %95.10 %Use of Eco-conscious Materials (Footwear)RenewableMaterialsOrganicMaterialsRecycledMaterialsSilverorBetterRatedTanneryPVCFree050100
Cradle-to-Cradle is Coming
Making shoes with better materials—organic cotton, recycled PET, recycled rubber—is a great step towards reducing our carbon footprint as a business. But at Timberland, that’s exactly what we see it as—a step.
Our main goal as a responsible company is to create “Cradle-to-Cradle” products. But what exactly does that mean? A term created by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, cradle-to-cradle means that we’re striving to design, produce and sell products that are made with the smallest possible footprint and never get thrown away. Our shoes will be repairable and eventually, every material in all of our boots, shoes and sandals will—when they’ve reached the end of there useful lives—be able to be recycled.
Timberland’s Design for Disassembly (DFD) shoes are part of our Earthkeepers® line, which represents our best attempt at reducing environmental impacts through good design and pursuing our cradle-to-cradle goal.
Timberland’s DFD boot significantly improves on earlier all-leather Earthkeepers® boots by using fewer materials and more recycled content. In fact, comparing these boots with the same number of original Earthkeepers® boots, we save approximately 500 metric tons of carbon emissions. This reduction represents the same amount of energy and heating we use during a three-month time period at our global headquarters in New Hampshire.
For a sample size run of 40,000 boots, the original Earthkeepers®boots used about six metric tons of recycled content, whereas the second-generation DFD boot incorporates almost 12 metric tons of recycled or renewable material.
Our DFD boot has the potential to be recycled to a much greater degree than other footwear, based on its design, keeping even more materials out of landfills. And if the boots are returned to Timberland, we estimate being able to recycle at least 50% of the materials in our own factory in the Dominican Republic.
While we’re not where we want to be yet, every season our designers and value chain team get closer, discovering and developing new ways to design and build footwear in better, more sustainable ways.
One of the best parts is that consumers are on board. Earthkeepers® products have become a big part of our growth strategy, and consumers are buying responsible products, which is contributing to Timberland’s bottom line results.
This makes it that much easier for us to continue down this path. Every purchase is a vote by the consumers that says they want greener products. Our goal is to give them the most environmentally conscious products possible.

Monday, April 7, 2014

PhoneBloks: in more detail

This post has been taken from here, DeZeen.

Stay tuned for the next post where we will investigate examples of this getting much closer to market than you think!

For related resources, Design for Disassembly, Eco-Design, Environment and AD Technology guidelines related to this can be downloaded for free at:

Phonebloks mobile phone concept
by Dave Hakkens


Dutch Design Week 2013: Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens' concept for a mobile phone made of detachable blocks has gone viral, attracting over 16 million views on YouTube and garnering almost a million supporters online (+ movie + interview).

Dave Hakkens - Phone Bloks on Vimeo
from Design Academy Eindhoven 
Phonebloks by Dave Hakkens
"I put the video online and in the first 24 hours I had like one million views on YouTube," Hakkens told Dezeen. "I got a lot of responses to it."
Phonebloks by Dave Hakkens
Dutch designer Hakkens, who graduated from Design Academy Eindhoventhis summer, presented his Phonebloks concept at the academy's graduation show in Eindhoven today at the start of Dutch Design Week.
Phonebloks by Dave Hakkens
Phonebloks is a concept for a phone made of swappable components that fit together like Lego, with each component containing a different function. This means that components can be replaced or upgraded without having to throw away the phone.
Phonebloks by Dave Hakkens
"Usually a phone is integrated into one solid block and if one part gets broken you have to throw away the entire phone," said Hakkens. "But this has different components, so if  your battery is broken you can replace the the battery or if you need a better camera you only upgrade the camera component. So you don't throw away the entire phone; you keep the good stuff."
Last month Hakkens uploaded a video explaining the concept to YouTube, where it went viral and has now been watched over 16 million times.
He then put the idea on "crowdspeaking" site Thunderclap, where instead of donating money, supporters donate their social reach. He now has over 900,000 supporters on the site, and when the campaign closes on 29 October a message about Phonebloks will automatically be sent to each supporters' social media contacts, giving Hakkens a total audience of over 360 million people.
Hakkens said: "That's the whole point of this idea; to generate lots of buzz so companies see there's a huge market and realise they really need to make a phone like this."
The Phonebloks concept features electronic blocks that snap onto a base board, which links all the components. Two small screws lock everything together. Users can choose components from their favourite brands or make their own modules.
"You can customise your phone, replacing the storage block with a larger battery if you store everything in the cloud, or replace advanced components you don't need with basic blocks like a bigger speaker," says the video explaining the concept.
Hakkens hopes Phonebloks will lead to fewer phones being thrown away, thereby reducing waste. "Electronic devices are not designed to last," the video says. "This makes electronic waste one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world and our phone is one of the biggest causes."
Here's the interview conducted at Design Academy Eindhoven today:

Marcus Fairs: What is Phonebloks?
Dave Hakkens: Phonebloks is a phone made to upgrade and repair; it's a phone worth keeping. Usually we throw it away after a couple of years. But this one is made to last.
Marcus Fairs: How is it made to last?
Dave Hakkens: Usually a phone is integrated into one solid block, and if one part gets broken you have to throw away the entire phone. But this has different components, so if for instance only your battery is broken you can replace the the battery, or if it's slow after a couple of years you can change just the speed component. If you need a better camera you only upgrade the camera component. So in this way you don't throw away the entire phone; you keep the good stuff.
Marcus Fairs: Tell us how it went viral.
Dave Hakkens: The idea with this whole project is I'm just one guy at the Design Academy; I can't make this phone by myself. I can go to a lot of companies and pitch, ask them if they'd like to make my phone, but I thought I'd do it the other way around; so I gathered a lot of people who told companies they really wanted this phone. So I put this video online and in the first 24 hours I had like one million views on YouTube. I also gathered supporters so currently I have 900,000 supporters, and they all just wanted this phone. So now I have all this attention and I get a lot of nice emails from companies who want to work on this.
Marcus Fairs: How did you spread the message?
Dave Hakkens: You have this site called Thunderclap. On Thunderclap instead of crowdfunding you crowdspeak people; people don't donate money but instead they donate their friends and family. You say you're interested in a project and want to support it, so you donate your friends - their Facebook followers and Twitter followers - and on the 29 October automatically a message is sent out by those people saying "We want Phonebloks". That spreads to all their friends and families. So currently I have like 900,000 supporters but on 29 October we will reach 300 million people. So that's the whole point of this idea; to generate lots of buzz so companies see there's a huge market and realise they really need to make a phone like this.
Marcus Fairs: What is the next step?
Dave Hakkens: My idea succeeded from day one; I got a lot of responses to it. I've got a lot of people interested in developing it: engineers, technicians and companies. So right now I'm thinking what would be a logical next step. Crowdsource it on the internet? Work together with a company? That's what I'm thinking about now; how to realise the phone the best way.