RESEARCH PAPERS: Design for Manufacturability

Designing for Material Separation: Lessons From Automotive Recycling

[+] Author and Article Information
S. Coulter, B. Bras

Systems Realization Laboratory, G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0405

G. Winslow, S. Yester

Chrysler Corporation, Auburn Hills, Michigan

J. Mech. Des 120(3), 501-509 (Sep 01, 1998) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2829179 History: Received February 01, 1998; Online December 11, 2007


Virtually all of the material in today’s automobiles can technically be recycled. The challenge facing engineers is making this recycling process economical, especially for materials in such components as seats and instrument panels. Recycling these components requires the different materials to be separated so that each can be recycled individually. This separation can be accomplished either manually, where workers disassembly and sort the vehicle components by hand, or mechanically, where the vehicle is shredded and the materials sorted by properties such as conductivity and density. In this paper, the usefulness of including likely separation techniques in DFR guidelines is discussed. Three vehicles were dismantled at the VRDC as part of an effort to establish a baseline of current vehicle recyclability. Concurrently, this allowed examination of the effectiveness of the early design for recycling (DFR) efforts. The applicability of common design guidelines to the two types of separation is discussed, and a simple method for determining the appropriate separation process in the early stages of design is presented.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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