Circular Product Design : Developing (dis/re)assembly oriented methodology towards product end-of-life

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för skog och träteknik (SOT)

Abstract: This thesis aims at developing a (dis/re)assembly oriented methodology towards product end-of-life. Particular focus in this thesis is on the circularity of furniture via design for (dis/re)assembly. The main motivation behind this study was the need for a method to evaluate the (dis/re)assembly options of furniture designs to be able to facilitate repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, or recycling. The study draws upon relevant theories and prior research on Circular product Design, Design for EoL, Design for Environment, and Design for (Dis)assembly of vehicles, electrical and elocronic equipments, whitegoods, as well as office furniture, though relatively limited. The proposed methodology determines major aspects of design for (dis/re)assembly to be taken in to consideration in the early stages of product development. It further provides a set of parameters that are relevant to cabinet type and upholstery furniture group. The study involves a variety of qualitative research methods that are embedded in an interactive research conduct with the engagement of different stakeholders that are charged with the task of product development at Ikea of Sweden (IoS), the collaborator of this study.  The proposed methodology is implemented on three selected furniture designs in a pilot study. The results of the study, above all, suggest that (dis/re)assemblability of a product is a strategic choice that needs to be made at early phases of product development, namely the design phase. Two particular features of the furniture groups, upon which this study focuses, emerges as factors having negative impact on the disassemblability of products: first, wooden frame sofas with respect to their complex structure and connectivity of componants and, second, permanent joints with respect to their destructive impact on the product. The study concludes that it is feasible to develop and implement a potentially comprehensible method to evaluate the ease of disassembly of furniture products and to design for disassembly. The proposed methodology in this study is a contribution to support product design for disassembly towards product circularity.

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