3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.1 Introduction > 3.1.1 Dave drops new Fairphone
- Which is fantastic news because I feel kind of a little bit strange doing it, but it’s not the first time it’s been done.
- This is what we talk about when we say about a longer life product.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.2 Product life extension > 3.2.3 Why product life extension?
- If I repair a product instead of having it recycled, I’m saving a lot of resources and energy.
- So keeping a product at its highest value for as long as possible makes sense, both from an economic and an ecological perspective.
- The first is to keep them in use for longer, and the second is to give products a second life, a third life, fourth life, etcetera.
- If we want to give products a second or third life, which is the second option for product life extension, there are other strategies: repair, refurbishment and remanufacture.
- Refurbishment is a more extensive process, where products are repaired and components replaced, in order to bring it back to a satisfactory working condition.
- Here, products are totally disassembled into components, and those components are brought back to the original quality, and then used to manufacture new products that are identical to the original products.
- So you can see that if you look at repair, refurbishment and remanufacture, the process becomes increasingly complex, involving more and more product disassembly and reassembly.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.3 Case: Fairphone > 3.3.1 The Fairphone philosophy: product life extension (1/2)
- The overall philosophy of designing our new products was basically themed around extending the life of our products that we’re gonna be building.
- That goes from making sure we can maintain, repair and upgrade products, so that users can use them as long as possible.
- Because the most sustainable product is the one you’re already using.
- Then to try to build on to more sustainable, on more Circular Economy concepts, we try to make sure that we are reusing materials that are coming from for example recyclable materials and we try to also make sure the products are designed in a way that they will be easily reusable or recyclable in the future.
- So we are now in between Fairphone One and Fairphone Two, right? We are finishing the development of Fairphone Two.
- I think we’re trying to build a quality product that the user will be able to use for a long time and enjoy for a long time.
- I mean there is a lot of people requiring new phones, because they tend to have a not so long life because of the abuse that they sustain, and also because of the technology that evolves fairly rapidly.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.3 Case: Fairphone > 3.3.2 Fairphone: going circular (2/2)
- I think it is important to point out that Fairphone also has objectives that are not so much within circular economy, I would say so.
- When you talk about resources we also very much look at what are the social conditions? You know those resources are taken from the ground and that’s all our initiatives in mining.
- We need to think: what are the next steps, right? And even though if we could say okay, tomorrow we have a completely circular model, there would still be mining happening, right? So, we have to kind of level both.
- What we’ve done with Fairphone One for instance was to make sure if we think of the market as a system and we say, okay we are going to put in the market so many phones, can we also take out, you know, so many phones from the system even before we put them into the market? And that’s our project that we have done in Ghana with recovering electronic waste and shipping it back to Belgium to get recycled properly.
- So that was a little bit with that thinking of, okay we are putting, you know, thousands of devices in the market, let’s take, actually three times the amount of devices we have put in the market we’ve taken out from Ghana and we saved them from landfill.
- Are there any design principles from Circular that you think you apply in the development of the product.
- At the same time, being a start-up, I don’t think we do use like very well thought-through design methods, I could say.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.4 Designing longer lasting products > 3.4.1 Designing longer lasting products (1/3)
- Most of the products operate in a changing context and therefore have to change over time.
- Another important aspect is that products are not only designed for users but a product designer also works for a business and most businesses producing and marketing products nowadays operate according to the sell more, sell faster principle, which means produce a product at a low price and sell it at a higher price and repeat as often as possible in a certain amount of time.
- If you make money in that way, longer lasting products or products with a long lifetime are not really your ideal kind of product.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.4 Designing longer lasting products > 3.4.2 Six design strategies (2/3)
- You have identified six strategies for longer lasting products.
- If you want a product to last long, one of the things it actually needs to be able to do is withstand wear and tear.
- You see a lot of products that are actually quite flimsy but because people like them and take the trouble of keeping them safe they actually survive over time.
- Design for standardization and compatibility has to do with, whether you are able or not, if you use a product over a longer time, to for example, either expand or replace, expand the system or expand the product or replace parts.
- Design for standardization and compatibility in essence means designing a product in such a way that its parts do not only fit the product itself but also other products.
- So by making use of standardization and compatibility you can actually exchange parts between different products and that could be between products from your own company or from your own business or your own product range, but also between different brands.
- Almost trivial ways of ensuring that a product lasts a longer time, or a long time, is taking care of it and making sure it’s always in working condition.
- One way of making sure, or facilitating that people actually maintain their product is designing it in such a way that it is easy to maintain.
- Designing for upgradability and adaptability has to do with the fact that not only a product or a product context is changing but also the needs of a certain user.
- By being able to actually adapt the product to the changing needs of the user, you can also make sure that the user will keep it around for much longer.
- What’s even more important and more relevant to products with a longer lifetime is that being able to disassemble and reassemble them facilitates remanufacturing, basically creating new products that contain parts that have been used before.
- If you look carefully from product attachment as the first one, to dis- and reassembly as the last one, you can actually see that what we have called product integrity along the scale is sort of diminishing.
- If you have a product that stays whole as close as to it was produced in the first place then you can apply product attachment.
- If you take it apart and operate at a parts level you actually go a long way from the state in which the product was originally produced.
- All the different strategies along that scale have a diminishing level of product integrity.
- So more things change in the product in order to make it last longer.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.4 Designing longer lasting products > 3.4.3 Fairphone demonstration
- I can drop it, yeah, it’s designed to be dropped.
- It’s been designed to survive a six feet drop, which is basically this, extensively.
- For the user it’s just a very standard phone actually.
- So most people just put it in an additional case because the phone is just badly designed.
- Because it needs additional protection the moment you take it out of the box.
- The other thing that we’re doing is basically ensuring that the user can repair his phone as easily as possible, so basically I just swapped the display, which is the part that breaks the most.
- The user could upgrade his camera module, later when there’s new upgraded versions available, or new functionality.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.4 Designing longer lasting products > 3.4.4 3D-printing in the Circular Economy (3/3)
- Because you can actually manufacture a part on demand and on location.
- You don’t have to keep spare parts, 5000 spare parts for all different kinds of appliances in stock.
- You only need to have the digital file, and you only print the spare part as it is needed.
- So keeping parts in stock for repair and making parts available for repair becomes much easier and much more cost effective and efficient.
3. Longer Lasting Products > 3.9 In-depth: Planned Obsolescence > 3.9.2 Planned obsolescence in a circular economy?
- Planned obsolesce is the design of a product with an intentionally limited life.
- Another example is fashion or style in clothing and products where seasonal clothing or the latest tech gadget becomes a must.
- We would like to discuss with you if and how planned obsolescence could be a positive driver in a circular economy.
- The worst trigger is failure of a product, but products could be designed so that, at a certain point, they begin to degrade in performance.