Research Papers

Product Resynthesis: Knowledge Discovery of the Value of End-of-Life Assemblies and Subassemblies

[+] Author and Article Information
Sung Woo Kang

e-mail: swkangIE@psu.edu

Chinmay Sane

e-mail: cgs5142@psu.edu

Nitish Vasudevan

e-mail: nuv115@psu.edu
Industrial Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802

Conrad S. Tucker

Assistant Professor
Engineering Design and Industrial Engineering,
The Pennsylvania State University,
University Park, PA 16802
e-mail: ctucker4@psu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received September 9, 2012; final manuscript received September 13, 2013; published online November 7, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Karthik Ramani.

J. Mech. Des 136(1), 011004 (Nov 07, 2013) (14 pages) Paper No: MD-12-1442; doi: 10.1115/1.4025526 History: Received September 09, 2012; Revised September 13, 2013

The trends of increasing waste and comparatively low growth of waste treatment methodologies have created the need for better utilization of the products we deem unfit for use. The options available for utilizing end-of-life (EOL) products are currently restricted to reusing, recycling, remanufacturing, and permanent disposal. In this work, the authors propose a new EOL option called resynthesis that utilizes existing waste from EOL products in a novel way through the synthesis of assemblies/subassemblies across multiple domains (i.e., consumer electronics, health care, automotive, etc.). The resynthesis of assemblies/subassemblies is achieved by quantifying their similarities (form and function) across multiple domains. A mixed-integer linear model is developed to determine the optimal EOL strategy for each component/subassembly. As a means of verifying the EOL decision, the value of the “new” resynthesized product is compared with the value that would be derived if the individual subassemblies were reused, remanufactured, recycled, or disposed. A case study involving an electronic mouse is used to validate the proposed methodology and to demonstrate its practicality as an alternate enterprise level EOL option.

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Fig. 1

Overall EOL methodology incorporating product resynthesis in sustainable product design

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Fig. 2

Sample product database consisting of form and function data

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Fig. 3

(a) Assembly of ABC, (b) correlation triangle, (c) subassembly possibilities for ABC, and (d) transition matrix for ABC

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Fig. 4

Reeb graph sample visualization [58]

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Fig. 5

Reeb graph computation for estimation of form similarity between combinations of assemblies and subassemblies

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Fig. 6

Reeb graph comparison on increasing level set values (z-axis) for different configurations

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Fig. 7

Form–function similarity graph

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Fig. 8

Example of a candidate for resynthesis

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Fig. 9

Example of low form, low function similarity

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Fig. 10

Example of low form, high function

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Fig. 11

Example of high form, high function

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Fig. 12

Electronic computer mouse and white board eraser

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Fig. 13

(a) 3D mesh of base and microchip and (b) 3D model of the outer casing

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Fig. 14

Illustration of reeb graph overlaid in mouse component AC and eraser head A′

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Fig. 15

Plot of function versus form from Table 9

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Fig. 16

Schematic and possible final assembly based on product resynthesis




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