Design for Disassembly

Substantial research during the 20th Century resulted in effective Design for Assembly (DFA), but only in more recent decades has the reverse been considered – Design for Disassembly (DFD). DFA concepts substantially increased production output and efficiency, with little thought to how the product would be disposed of at end of life.

Robert Bogue explores the current state of DFD in his 2007 article “Design for Disassembly: a critical twenty-first century discipline”. Focusing primarily on electronics, consumer goods and vehicles, he explores the methods of designing for disassembly, through use of structure, type of materials, and methods of fastening items together. He concludes that DFD guidelines can be implemented with careful planning, and often result in reduced costs through optimized design process using fewer parts and materials.

Of course, Architecture could also benefit substantially from DFD methods. In 2011, Nikhil Sasidharan and P S Chani explored this in a joint article “Design for Disassembly: A step towards Zero-Waste Buildings”. They explore the issues in traditional building methods especially over-use of adhesives and fixing methods that are difficult to separate during deconstruction. Through examination of successful case studies, and traditional cultural building methods, such as those used by American Indians in their Teepees, they demonstrate DFD can more easily be achieve by employing simplification of design, separation of utilities from the main structure, and use of more easily detachable joints and fixatives, among other methods.

Both articles promote sharing of information, techniques and discoveries through education and industry awareness programs, giving two different perspectives on DFD application in architecture and industry, with the aim of promoting the sustainability benefits of this design methodology.

Bogue, R. (2007). Design for disassembly: A critical twenty-first century discipline. Assembly Automation, 27(4), 285-289.
Sasidharan, N. a., & Chani, P. p. (2011). Design for Disassembly: A Step Towards Zero-Waste Buildings. IUP Journal Of Architecture, 2011, 34-48.

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