Ease of repair is one prerequisite to ensure a long service life. For this purpose it is necessary to realize a self-explanatory structure for disassembly. This will contribute to correct and simple disassembly. If necessary, an instruction providing information on the sequence of disassembly steps will be helpful. The main objective is to describe disassembly involved in repair work as clearly and as simply as possible.
Ease of repair with a view to prolonging product life requires easy access to components for repair and replacement. In many cases, designers concentrate on simple assembly – disassembly as reverse procedure is often neglected. This results in excessive expenditure if a component has to be replaced. Easy access to all components (see example washing machine) facilitates removal and replacement of worn parts.
Successful repair work presupposes that spare parts are readily available. Special parts that are difficult to procure make basically simple repair work impossible. Therefore, it is important to provide for a sufficient stock of spare parts for the product.
In order to simplify sorting of parts of the product after disassembly these parts should be standardized. Parts, components, and assemblies with a similar function should be equivalent as to their structure, measurements, and material. Standardization of fitting dimensions and connecting systems contributes to easy handling (reduction of the number of different tools) in assembly and disassembly work. This also applies to components used for different variants of a product (availability of spare parts and reuse of parts).
With a view to refurbishing and reusing the product or parts of it design should provide for sufficient overmeasure and means that facilitate clamping, measuring and adjustment. A similar approach is known from combustion engines, which are refurbished by honing the cylinders, a process that also requires an overmeasure of material. This facilitates repair work but also reuse of products (see example retreaded car tires).
Reuse of parts in a product either as spare parts needed for of repair work (quite common) or as refurbished parts in the manufacture of new products is an important measure with a view to closing cycles and optimizing the efficiency of resources. Structural parts designed for a long service life can survive two or three product life cycles and contribute to a reduction of the overall environmental impact of a product.
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