1997-04-08

Improving Recyclability Through Planned Product Revisions 971204

Whether propelled by a concern for the environment, increasingly stiff legislation, or higher disposal costs, companies are trying to reduce the environmental impacts of their products. At the same time, designers are forced to balance the need to get a product out the door with the desire to improve the product's functionality. Candidate designs are often so constrained that addressing environmental goals proves impossible. In this paper, we discuss the improvement of recyclability for vehicle assemblies through a process of planned design changes over multiple revisions of the product. Specifically, we present the results of a case study describing the creation of a strategy for focusing the recyclability improvement effort to a generic instrument panel (I/P). The possible improvement in recyclability is examined as well as the impact on other design characteristics as the limiting factors for the instrument panel are chosen. Based on this analysis, a plan for focusing the design effort to improve vehicle recyclability is provided.

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