Products that are difficult to clean or that cannot be cleaned at all are prone to become waste after a very short time – including all resources used for its manufacture. They will be replaced for bad looks, not for malfunction. In this context, surface design is of great importance. Surfaces should be dirt repellent or easy to “polish up”, at any rate, easy to clean. An excellent example can be found in nature: The petals of the lotus flower have a surface structure virtually preventing dust particles from sticking to it.
If a certain degree of wear and tear is unavoidable it should be directed to those parts in the product that can easily be exchanged and replaced. Wear should be prevented in components that are difficult to replace as this would make repairs time consuming and therefore expensive. This measure aims at prolonged product life through adequate maintenance and repair.
For components exposed to wear and tear the question of when to replace them is of great importance; built-in wear sensors can help to observe servicing intervals and ensure that a worn part is replaced neither too early (loss of reserves) nor too late (consequential damage, safety). Wear sensors can be rather simple (see example car tire) or consist in rather complex warning systems.
Observing prescribed servicing intervals contributes to prolonging product life considerably. Cleaning and replacement of worn parts at appropriate intervals is a prerequisite for trouble-free operation. Indication of these intervals will inform the user about necessary servicing. Our example shows a rather complicated system, but simple indicators (e.g. warning light) will often be sufficient. Design should aim at uniform servicing intervals for the various assemblies and components.
It should be possible to perform maintenance and service work with standard tools. Special tools should be the exception to ensure that maintenance work can be done at any time.
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