Automated analysis of product disassembly to determine environmental impact
Manufacturers are increasingly being held responsible for the fate of their products once they reach their end-of-life phase. This research uses a combination of total disassembly time and recyclability to gauge the environmental impact of a product at this stage of its use. Recyclability, or wasted weight, is a function of the material contained by a product’s subassemblies as it is taken apart. This project suggests a graph-based method of representing product assemblies. Unlike many existing representation methods which are used in the field of automated disassembly, the method proposed here takes component connection methods into account. This, combined with a library of disassembly defining graph grammars, ensures that the disassembly simulation performed on this assembly approximates real-life disassembly procedures as closely as possible. The results of this simulation are Pareto sets whose contents represent various points in the disassembly process. Each member of the set is evaluated using the two primary parameters of disassembly time and wasted weight. This Pareto set can be used to judge a particular product’s performance during end-of-life, from the perspective of recyclability, against that of another product.