Date of Award

Fall 1997

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Second Advisor

Edwin Hou

Third Advisor

John D. Carpinelli

Abstract

Design-For-Retirement is a concept that allows one to design a product such that its retirement time and post-life treatment are optimized to lead to the minimum environmental impact and maximum financial gain. Retired product parts or subassemblies face three primary multi-lifecycle engineering treatments. The first one is to recondition them for reuse in the next lifecycle. The second one is to convert their post life parts into a material form for recycling back into new parts. The last is to dump or landfill them. Each option has a significantly different environmental cost-benefit ratio. Another important concern is the dismantling process of a product, which disassembles a product into subassemblies (clumps) and/or individual parts. It is not simply the inverse of an assembly process. The decision of a disassembly plan depends on which treatment results in the least environmental cost of each subassembly or part and maximum financial gain. The disassembly paths and termination goal may vary. This thesis focuses on building a combined optimization method of disassembly path generation and retirement planning regarding to the different recycle choices of parts or clumps. A matrix based representation method of product assembly information is presented. A method to rate a design in respect of its environmental effects in its post life recycle is also developed. They are demonstrated through several examples including two personal computer designs: conventional one and Compaq's design based on the Design-For-Retirement concept.

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