3.2.6 Fairphone Case Study
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
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.
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/.