Research Papers

Varying Lifecycle Lengths Within a Product Take-Back Portfolio

[+] Author and Article Information
Yuan Zhao, Vijitashwa Pandey, Harrison Kim, Deborah Thurston

Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801

J. Mech. Des 132(9), 091012 (Sep 17, 2010) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002142 History: Received August 06, 2009; Revised September 07, 2010; Published September 17, 2010; Online September 17, 2010

Product take-back and reuse is sometimes at odds with the rapidly evolving desires of some customers. For other customers, the environmental benefits of reuse more than compensate for minor drawbacks. “Selling a service” (rather than a product) through leasing enables the manufacturer to control the timing and quality of product take-back but current methods assume a fixed leasing period. What is needed is a method for fine tuning the time span of customers’ life cycles in order to provide each market segment the combination of features it most desires. This paper presents a new method for performing long range product planning so that the manufacturer can determine optimal take-back times, end-of-life design decisions, and number of lifecycles. The method first determines a Pareto optimal frontier over price, environmental impact and reliability using a genetic algorithm. Then, a multiattribute utility function is employed to maximize utility across different segments of the market and also across different lifecycles within each segment. Post-optimal studies help determine feasibility of component redesign in addition to parts consolidation. The proposed method is illustrated through an example involving personal computers.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Product life cycle and end-of-life decisions

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Figure 2

Effect of partial and complete upgrade on performance within a specified planning horizon

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Figure 3

The Pareto frontier over price, environmental impact, and reliability and projections

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Figure 4

Multiattribute utility for nondominated solutions with respect to the number of lifecycles over 10 years for each market segment

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Figure 5

Isoutility curve for utilitarian customers

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Figure 6

Effect of changes in legislation for utilitarian market segment



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