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Recycle, reuse, repair and remanufacture: Design for Disassembly with Rompa

12 October 2020

In recent years the focus worldwide in our industry has become about reuse and recycling since resources are running out and consumption is at its highest. Hence, why we at Rompa think it's important to think ahead. It’s time products were made with a smart design for making disassembly possible using non-toxic and high-quality materials which are recyclable and make the product easy to repair. 

What is Design for Disassembly?

Let us explain a bit better what the definition is when a product is made in the concept of Design for Disassembly (DFD). When starting this type of design process, the end-of-life of a particular product, component or material is already being taken into consideration. What part will be the first to break due to ageing and usage? And how can you make it possible to replace this part? And what will happen to the old used part? Is there a possibility to repair or recycle this piece? The DFD process makes it possible that materials and parts of products, cars, electronics and buildings can be replaced and those old parts can be recycled. This way the products maintain longer durability and minimize the environmental impact. The main way to minimize environmental impact is to reuse, recycle, repair and remanufacture which is possible if these products are made with the core principles of Design for Disassembly.

To give you an idea

Some guidelines have been set up aligning with the principles for DFD. The idea is pretty straightforward and can be applied in many industries, from electronics to real estate! To give you an idea we list below some examples of designs for disassembly.

  • Electronic devices such as mobile phones, made from several easy to replace parts. When a particular part breaks, you are able to replace the part yourself instead of having to dispose of the whole device or needing an expensive repair carried out by an expert.
  • In clothing, collars and sleeves are often the first parts to wear out. Having been produced by the Design for Disassembly principles these clothing parts are easily replaceable and the clothing items are more durable. 
  • Buildings, housing and other real estate are made out of reusable columns, walls and beams. When construction or demolition takes place these components can be recycled.
Design for disassembly
A simple example of DFD to make it easier for the consumer to replace broken components

Number of parts and fasteners

Another example: take a simple iron that stops working. You decide to try to repair it yourself. With most products nowadays you will be screwing, cutting and forcing it to come apart. You will end up with a lot of parts and often still not be able to locate the problem or replace that one bit that is broken. But imagine if this iron was made out of only 5 parts and there is no usage of fasteners such as glue or epoxy to keep everything together. It would make it much easier to replace a faulty piece without having to replace the whole product. It would also have a positive impact on the environment when consumers would stop replacing the whole product just because a small section is broken, and start repairing it instead. 

Worldwide the guidelines have been set for DFD regarding fasteners, and these are easy to follow if you ask us. The first one is that you minimize the number of fasteners. Nobody wants to have a tray full of screws after dismantling a small product; imagine losing one screw! The second one is that you should minimize the number of tools required to disassemble. Your grandfather might have a shed full of tools, but not all households do. You don’t want to have to purchase an expensive toolset when it is cheaper and easier to just replace the product. So another important principle is that the fasteners should be easy to remove, which saves time and effort during disassembly. This means that in production there is no use of glue or epoxy, so that makes it possible to take something apart. And last but not least the fastening points should be easy to access, so you do not have to ask your small niece to reach for a screw simply because your hands would not fit.  

Make sure to remember the DFD guidelines:

  • Minimize the number of fasteners
  • Minimize the number of tools required to remove fasteners
  • Fasteners should be easy to remove
  • Fastening points should be easy to access

The case of Rompa

Cartridge design in accordance with DFA and DFD In collaboration with one of our partners, Rompa Group will soon introduce a cartridge on the market whose design is based on the principles of DFA and DFD. The cartridge is designed in such a way that it consists of just three components, which can all be recycled individually. Furthermore, the three components are made from a single type of plastic. The original design of the cartridge consisted of various small parts made from three different types of plastic, which were then attached together. This made it hard to impossible to recycle the cartridge. Besides manufacturing the entire cartridge out of a single type of plastic, we were also able to speed up the production processes and shorten the assembly time with this sustainable design. The result is a win-win situation for all parties!

Rompa’s service in Design for Disassembly

Everything starts with an idea! To make an idea a reality, we at Rompa are more than happy to guide you through the process, so our experts can advise where necessary and help improve on the idea. With our design and development team and our technical team, you are in good hands. We will guide you through the whole process, from idea to delivery.

The next step is making the design. With many years of experience in Design for Disassembly, we at Rompa know how to make a product easy to dismantle. Our subsidiary Verhoeven is involved in this process. When creating the design the goal is to formulate a detailed description of the requirements the product should meet. All projects we work on are monitored by a dedicated specialist team, with an account manager and a project manager for optimal communication and the best end product!

After taking everything into consideration and an agreement on the design has been reached, we go ahead and continue with prototyping, production, assembly and the final stage: delivery!

Would you like to know more about the steps from idea to delivery? Feel free to take a look at our service page!

Contact Rompa for more information

Would you like to know more about the process of Design for Disassembly, or do you want more information about other processes? Go ahead and visit our webpage where we have additional sustainable design examples and explain them a bit further. Make sure to download and read our whitepaper, called ‘What if plastic would disappear’. Are you interested in collaborating in a more environmentally friendly way? Would you like to consult with our specialists about this? Don’t hesitate, and contact us! We at Rompa are always happy to answer all your questions and give you additional advice.