The Contribution of Ergonomic Analysis in the Product Design for Recycling

The Contribution of Ergonomic Analysis in the Product Design for Recycling

Eduardo Romeiro Filho (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil) and Rose Mary Rosa de Lima (Pitagoras Faculty of Belo Horizonte, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-617-9.ch019
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Abstract

This chapter presents a case study about approaches dealing with Design for “X” (DFX), with emphasis on Design for Environment (DFE), specifically Design for Recycling (DFR) and Design for Disassembly (DFD), in a particular social and economic situation, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. This approach is justified by the necessity of considering the environmental demands in the production process as well as the information about social demands needed by the designers in the product development process. This research shows that the products are designed only for adaptation on the production process and the demands of consumers. Having the environmental questions in mind, the designers need also consider how to disassembly these products to realize a possibility of recycling.
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Background

The interest for the environment questions has increased in the latest years. The environment demand in the production process looks for alternative ways to design products, which are “environmentally correct”. The pattern of consumption in the current society increasingly requires the manufacture of new products, which at the end of its useful life, results in millions of tons of discarded materials, most of which ends in “junk”. Only in Brazil are produced, daily, about 240.000 tons of garbage (Lima e Romeiro, 2001). Several approaches have been suggested towards solving problems related to this subject, with some pointing to changes in the stage of design of the products, trying to incorporate some characteristics in those, being able to make them less harmful to the environment, or more easily recyclable. Techniques are being designed to be inserted in the project development of the product. Those techniques, considered specialties of the project, known as DFX's (“Design for Anything,” when “X” represents the main objective in the design process, or simple “Design for Excellence” when the goal is the improvement of product design) and can be attributed to the assembly, manufacturing, environment etc. For the design back to the environment, the approaches are directed primarily to the products, suggesting that even in the design phase, are considered matters of the final stages of the life cycle (from the disposal) or specific to facilitate early a new life cycle For the project back to the environment, the approaches are directed primarily to the products, suggesting that even in the design phase, are considered matters of the final stages of the life cycle (from the disposal) or specificities to facilitate early a new life cycle. According to Bitencourt (2001), the Design for Environment (DFE) consists in developing environmentally sound products, without compromising the technical and economical viability of them. The DFE covers all the stages of the product life cycle, from design to final destination.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Design for “X”: Techniques are considered specialties of the design process, known as “Design for Anything,” when “X” represents the main objective in the design process, or simple “Design for Excellence” when the goal is the improvement of product design. The “X” approach and can be attributed to the assembly, manufacturing, environment, quality, testing etc.

Ergonomics Analysis of Work: is a specific methodology in ergonomics, which has techniques of observation and interviews whose objectives are the collection of empirical material sufficient to meet the dynamic organization of the activity and variability of the situation and detailing the procedure for workers.

Ergonomics: Defined as the science related to man and his work, embodying the anatomic, physiologic, and mechanical principles affecting the efficient use of human energy. As examples of ergonomics applications: Safe lifting techniques, proper posture, appropriate seating position, and adaptive equipment are only a few of the many examples of ergonomics in the workplace.

Design for Environment: An specific approach in design, directed primarily to the products, suggesting that even in the design phase, are considered matters of the final stages of the life cycle (from the disposal) or specific to facilitate early a new life cycle. The main part of the project proposals within the context of the DFE is: design for reuse of materials and components, design for manufacturing, design for greater energy efficiency, design for recycling, design for disassembly etc.

Polyethylene Terepthalate (PET): A polyester, thermoplastic polymer, used primarily in the textile industry. It had a progressive and strong expression in the packaging industry, mainly for soft drinks bottles.

Disassembly: The process of separation of components or materials of a product with the purpose of recovery or recycling of them. From an economic perspective, the dismantling of the product must be implemented with minimal cost, to facilitate recycling. Redesign: A process that can be used to make either complex or simple changes in the product, along it lifecycle. These changes will depend on the level of change to better fit on the requirements of redesign. The levels of redesign can be classified into: original, adaptive and parametric.

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