Easy access to connecting parts is a prerequisite for simple assembly and disassembly. Connecting parts should be arranged in such a way as to provide for good visibility and easy access with tools.
Reversibility of assembly procedure is a prerequisite for easy disassembly in case of manufacturing defects and for repair work during use stage, and, in particular, for disassembly after end of life.
Design product structure for easy disassembly (uniform directionality for assembly and disassembly work)
Disassembly accounts for a great part of recycling costs. A clear and easily understandable structure ensures easy disassembly and thus reduces work input and costs. Uniform directionality for assembly and disassembly will also provide for ease of sorting structural components and optimize assembly work.
As disassembly accounts for a great part of recycling costs it is imperative to minimize work input for this stage. Thus, minimizing time for disassembly is a prerequisite for the recyclability of parts and components. In most cases, this will also reduce assembly time for the product. Therefore, paths for (dis)assembly should be minimized, connections should be easily detachable, etc.
Easily detachable connections (also after end of life!) reduce time consuming disassembly work. In addition, nondestructive disassembly is a prerequisite for the recycling or reuse of structural parts. If parts are damaged during disassembly only the material can be recycled; however, on account of the destruction of the material’s structure this alternative yields less value than direct reuse of parts.
Connections can be detached only if they can be easily found and accessed. Long searches for connecting parts will impair fast and efficient disassembly.
Connecting parts that are not or not easily accessible greatly impair disassembly. Work requires either special tools (see example: long shank) or disassembly is cumbersome and time consuming because there is not enough room for using the tool.
Over time, external influences (aging, corrosion, soiling...) may impair the functionality of connecting parts. This makes it difficult or impossible to detach connections, thus complicating disassembly work considerably. Devices protecting connections from damage, such as covering caps over nuts and threads ensure detachability of connecting parts over the whole service life of the product.
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