Research Papers: Design for Manufacture and the Life Cycle

Environmental Evaluation of Product Design Alternatives: The Role of Consumer's Repair Behavior and Deterioration of Critical Components

[+] Author and Article Information
Mostafa Sabbaghi

Department of Industrial and
Systems Engineering,
The State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: mostafas@buffalo.edu

Sara Behdad

Department of Industrial and
Systems Engineering,
The State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260;
Department of Mechanical and
Aerospace Engineering,
The State University of New York at Buffalo,
Buffalo, NY 14260
e-mail: sarabehd@buffalo.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Design Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received May 19, 2016; final manuscript received May 2, 2017; published online June 15, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Gul E. Okudan Kremer.

J. Mech. Des 139(8), 081701 (Jun 15, 2017) (10 pages) Paper No: MD-16-1373; doi: 10.1115/1.4036777 History: Received May 19, 2016; Revised May 02, 2017

Consumers might be willing to repair their broken devices as long as the associated repair costs do not exceed an undesirable threshold. However, in many cases, the technological obsolescence actuates consumers to retire old devices and replace them with new ones rather than extending the product lifecycle through repair. In this paper, we aim to investigate the impact of components' deterioration profiles and consumers' repair decisions on the lifespan of devices, and then assesse the anticipated life cycle environmental impacts. A Monte Carlo simulation is developed to estimate the life cycle characteristics such as the average lifespan, the number of failed components' replacement, and the total repair cost per cycle for a laptop computer. The lifecycle characteristics estimated from simulation model further have been used in a life cycle assessment (LCA) study to quantify the environmental impact associated with different design scenarios. The results reveal the impact of product design as well as consumers' repair decisions on the product lifespan and the corresponding environmental impacts.

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Fig. 1

The schematic representation of the life cycle model

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Fig. 2

The usage time of the retired laptops and the cumulative repair cost ratio (CRCR). The status of laptops is shown at the moment of retirement decision.

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Fig. 3

The average cumulative repair cost ratio (μCRCR) representing consumers' repair behavior is demonstrated based on the change in the mean threshold (μA) representing consumers' propensity for repair. The baseline for mean threshold is 20%.

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Fig. 4

The usage time of laptops is estimated based on the change in the consumers' propensity for repair (mean threshold, μA). The baseline for mean threshold is 20%.

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Fig. 5

The usage time of laptops is estimated based on the change in the cost of spare parts (repair cost ratios). The baseline values for repair cost ratios can be found in Table 1.

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Fig. 6

The 95% confidence interval of the usage time for designs 1 and 2

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Fig. 7

The 95% confidence interval of the number of replacement during warranty time for designs 1 and 2

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Fig. 8

The 95% confidence interval of the number of replacements after warranty time for designs 1 and 2

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Fig. 9

Environmental impacts for the production stage of design 1, D1 scenario

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Fig. 10

Single score of sustainability for the production stage of design 1, D1 scenario

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Fig. 11

A comparison between the environmental impacts associated with the entire life cycle of designs 1 and 2, D1 and D2 scenarios—including the production, usage, and waste treatment stages




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