3.2.6 Fairphone Case Study

Course subject(s) Module 3: Repair

In the following two videos, Fairphone executives discuss with David the company and the design of the Fairphone regarding:

      • Basic idea and business model
      • Classification in the circular economy by applying the design for repair idea
      • Design solutions in detail, and practice
      • Background information about design decisions and differentiation of ordinary products

  • It is possible to design a sustainable smartphone combined with a transparent business model with a special product placement on the market.
  • Circularity is the aim. This is achieved by a product which can be repaired by customers very easily.
  • Easy repair by customers is the lowest level of repair and the simpliest and best way from a Circular Economy point of view.
  • Details of the design
    easy access
    easily removable battery
    no tools needed until the display is dismounted
    other functional parts are combined to modules, which can be placed with a screwdriver
    upgrading is possible
    documentation on the modules
  • Online tutorials were made together with ifixit.com.

  • Main aim of the product design: normal phone from the user’s perspective, but accessible, modular, fair supply chains, easy to open and fix.
  • For comparison: common phones should be thin as possible, full of functions and features and are very cost oriented designed.
  • Functional solutions for the aim: other opening solutions with other mechanical connectors than in common smartphones.
  • There is a difference between “Design for disassembling” and “Design for easy disassembling”.
  • Manufacturing companies are often afraid of customers repairing things for themselves and suppliers are as well. Reasons are the missing experiences with a design for repair done by customers and that they are not used to this way of thinking about solutions.
  • For solutions: look at role models for the many functions of the product!
  • Keep it in use for longer! Remember the availability of spare parts, the possibility of upgrade-modules and new software.
  • The durability of products which are easy to be repaired should be tougher than common products.
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Engineering Design for Circular Economy by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://online-learning.tudelft.nl/courses/engineering-design-circular-economy/.
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