Craig Melson, a program manager at techUK, penned an article for New Electronics, a U.K. trade publication for electronics engineers, where he discussed the emerging repairability and recyclability expectations facing the electronics industry. Melson also addressed the important key role that electronics engineers play in ensuring that devices are repairable and recyclable.
“Whilst innovation and functionality should guide design, it is probably fair to say that worldwide regulations have had a significant impact on how electronics are designed,” Melson said. “Designing a product so it can be taken apart more readily may sound counter-intuitive, but it helps to reduce costs by rationalising the number and cost of materials, shows compliance with regulations and makes it easier to extract value from broken or ent of life goods.”
Design for disassembly not only appeals to environmentally-conscious consumers, but also prepares devices for safe and smart disposal. With design for disassembly, a slew of new possibilities become available to extend the life of a product, allowing a device to be repaired, upgraded, reused in new products, or recycled to save natural resources.
In the article, Melson mentions improvements that electronics engineers can take to improve the repairability of their products, such as ensuring components that are most likely to fail are accessible are aren’t so integrated with other components that they can’t be swapped out. He also lists a few improvements towards the disassembly of products in order to streamline the process, such as avoiding the use of glue, labeling ports and panels with opening instructions and providing access to disassembly and repair instructions online.
The degree to which a product can be disassembled easily often determines how the product will end its life. For example, the fewer parts you use, the fewer parts there are to take apart. Design for disassembly is intended to maximize value and minimize the environmental impact through reusing, recycling, repairing and remanufacturing the whole or part of the product.
HOBI International Inc. not only focuses on maximum value for our clients but also the best choice of action for the environment. Visit our Environmental Services webpage to learn about the design for disassembly course, workshop, and consulting resources we provide for industry professionals.