Circular kitchen appliances: Designing an induction hob fit for repair and remanufacturing

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Abstract

Context
The amount of electronic waste keeps growing, half of which is white goods. In the meantime a transition from gas hobs to induction hobs is taking place. Induction hob have a shorter lifetime and contain more valuable materials. As a consequence, the induction hob e-waste will increase significantly.

To prevent a further increase of e-waste by this growing amount of induction hobs, a circular product is proposed. In this graduation project an induction hob is designed that is fit for the circular economy. Here the focus is on the inner three circles of the Rainbow Model.
For this project the Hood-in-Hob Elevate™ from ATAG Benelux was researched and redesigned.


Research
Research was done into the architecture of the current product, identifying the priority parts and how easily the product can be disassembled. It was concluded that most of the priority parts were located in the induction assembly, which is the part of the product that is hardest to reach. The main reason for it being hard to reach is because the product needs to be taken out of the countertop, which brings multiple complications with it.

Next research into consumer behaviour was done, to gain insight into the product care the consumer performs, the reason of product replacement and the user’s attitude towards refurbished products. It was found that the product was almost never replaced because of technical obsolescence, but because of psychological and functional obsolescence. In order to avoid this type of product replacement, it should be designed for upgradability and remanufacturing. To support this, the product should be easy to disassemble.
It was also found that the only product care the consumer performs is the cleaning of the product. Lastly it was found that the consumer is prepared to buy a refurbished product provided, if the expected lifetime is the same as a new one and if the product is thoroughly cleaned.

Concept
The result of the project is a concept of an induction hob that is fit for a circular economy. The main change compared to the current product is the architecture of the concept.
The induction assembly is changed into two separate modules, which can be disassembled without removing the glass plate from the countertop. The disassembly has been simplified so much, that the consumers are able to replace the induction module by themselves. They can send the module to ATAG for repair, making the repair process faster and using the time of the service engineer more efficient.
Finally, the user interface has been taken out of the product and made into a separate product. The user interface was one of the priority parts which were most difficult to disassemble. By making it separate, it is easier to reach. On top of that the upgradability has been improved this way, there is more upgrade flexibility and no changes to the rest of the product are required.
To conclude the design recommendations are made for detailing the concept even further.

This project set out to design a product that is fit for the circular economy. The outcome is a concept of a product that is easier to disassemble and thus easier to repair, upgrade and remanufacture.