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8 Ways to Design End-of-Life Into Your Products
5/16/2013

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All accessory components of Schaefer's CF Collapsible Containers line of totes are made of the same material as the box. This eliminates the possibility of material cross-contamination that can arise from using metal rod hinges or nylon pivot pins.   (Source: Schaefer Systems International)
All accessory components of Schaefer’s CF Collapsible Containers line of totes are made of the same material as the box. This eliminates the possibility of material cross-contamination that can arise from using metal rod hinges or nylon pivot pins.
(Source: Schaefer Systems International)

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2013 2:55:06 PM
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Good points, CLMcDade. I remember those reports. I wrote about five of them for Design News back when we had an environmental sub-site. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2013 2:46:23 PM
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Chuck, that's a big question mark hanging out there, since it affects the value of the car after the owner's use. That ultimately affects the value of the car in total.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
Rob Spiegel   6/4/2013 2:39:12 PM
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I agree, Warren, the used hybrid or EV is a mystery. And it seems late in the game for it to still be a mystery. The resale value of your car should not be such a mystery at the moment you buy the vehicle. Otherwise, how can you asses the value?

CLMcDade
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Re: END-OF-LIFE FOR YOUR PRODUCTS
CLMcDade   5/31/2013 10:30:03 AM
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Bobj - thanks for your feedback and I'm glad you found the information useful. 

And thank you for bringing up another consideration for DfD.

While I included a few examples of poor decisions that impact disassembly including using a mix of fastener standards (ask any auto mechanic - GM is famous for using both metric and English fasteners on the same component), I neglected to mention the exceptions.  DfD needs to be balanced with planned restricted access, and may have to be sacrificed in cases like the one you pointed out, when you don't want untrained hands accessing componentry.

Needing specialized tools can be frustrating when trying to disassemble a product, but preventing those people from inadvertently touching a charged capacitor or destroying an expensive component during the product's useful lifecycle sometimes outweighs other priorities.

bobjengr
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END-OF-LIFE FOR YOUR PRODUCTS
bobjengr   5/30/2013 5:59:02 PM
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Very informative post Clinton.  I worked several years in the appliance industry and the first indication DfD was necessary was when dealing with countries in the EU.  Our products were not "friendly" in the least when considering disassembly and possible reuse of components.  That industry long ago stopped using materials, primarily metals, that were hazardous health-wise but disassembly was not a primary concern.  They are getting better now but with a long way to go. The primary concern was damage done during shipment AND the use of specialty tools when components were NOT to be taken apart or to encourage a home owner to call a trained individual when needing repairs.   Your eight (8) comments are very timely.  Many thanks.  

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
Ann R. Thryft   5/29/2013 11:55:30 AM
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Clinton, thanks for that link. This basic problem must have occurred before--what happens to an old material when a new material replaces it? In the old, pre-recyling days, the old materials probably got landfilled. Because recycling gives more visibility to such problems, we're all made more aware of them. This is not to diminish the severity of the problem, but I think it does give some perspective. At least now we know the problem exists, instead of it being hidden under heaps of garbage, and can hopefully find ways of dealing with it.

CLMcDade
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
CLMcDade   5/29/2013 10:49:29 AM
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Ann,

The HP program was one of the first that I heard about also. I believe it was implemented after the rash of news reports on the toxic acres of dumped PC and accessory parts in Third World countries.  If I remember correctly, it was an unusually quick response for a large corporation to a topical issue.

Interestingly, I just read a N.Y. Times article about the problem they are having with recycling the old cathode ray tubes.  The recycling process for the leaded glass and infrastructure to implement it had been successfully running for years. 

However, with the switch from analog to digital broadcasting, and the related switch from CRTs to flat screens, the supply of disposed CRTs increased exponentially at the same time the demand disappeared.  Flat screens don't use leaded glass and there are not enough other products that do to offset the huge supply of waste.

So as the article points out, the disposed CRTs are not being recycled, but stored, and they are creating their own little toxic waste sites.

Here is the link to that article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/us/disposal-of-older-monitors-leaves-a-hazardous-trail.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 4:02:25 PM
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I think Clinton has a good point about where the focus on end-of-life has come from--it's the darn government, in this case European governments. The concept of corporate responsibility for product afterlife is pretty strong in Europe and Japan, but barely existent in the US. I don't know about everyone else, but I first heard of it here with printers, specifically HP's recycling program.

CLMcDade
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
CLMcDade   5/20/2013 2:42:16 PM
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Kenish,

This case study bears further analysis.  Do the touted eco-benefits of the hybrid and electrical vehicles realized while they are in use outweigh the almost certain obsolescence of the entire vehicle because of the cost of replacement batteries? 

Depending on overall quality of the design, engineering and manufacturing, a regular car's expected lifetime is somewhat open-ended as Warren pointed out.  If the cost of the replacement batteries for a hybrid/electric vehicle eclipse the market value of the rest of the car, it seems like the expected lifetime of these cars is tied directly to the battery and is close-ended.

If third party aftermarket parties don't figure out a cost-effective solution to this puzzle, at least DfD will make parting out the car easier...

 

kenish
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Re: Auto industry afterlife
kenish   5/20/2013 1:58:25 PM
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Good point...on the cost of ownership side, a friend is in auto financing and leasing.  She said they are preparing for a flood of 1st generation hybrids that will have low residual values.  The earliest ones are nearing end of life on batteries.  The replacement cost will exceed the value of the car, which will boil down to the value when they are parted-out.

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