Component level repair

William Donzelli wdonzelli at
Wed Jan 24 09:00:06 CST 2007

> I suspect that component-level repair will come back again, maybe ten to
> twenty years from now, as environmental issues of having to dispose of so much
> old equipment makes an impact.

No, not a chance - at least for this reason, anyway. As stuff breaks,
and can be moved into the recycling stream without any hitches, all
the better. The recycling methods used today are incredibly efficient
at turning this junk back into raw resources, and will only just get

> At some point we'll probably see manufacturers made to dispose of broken
> consumer equipment at their own cost (similar to what's going to happen for
> car manufacturers and end of life vehicles, at least in Europe). For a few
> years they'll probably carry on just absorbing the cost of disposal, but at
> some point it's likely going to be more cost-effective to design the products
> to be more field-repairable in the first place.

I think that they will be wise to make the equipment more recyclable,
not repairable. There is money to be made in scrap, and once the big
manufacturers figure this out (some have already started), the
disposal costs will be less than the disposal earnings.

> Of course it could take another route and board/module/system swapping will be
> done in the field, with repairs then carried out at base before re-issue, but
> I certainly don't think manufacturers will be as inclined to build such
> wasteful systems in a couple of decades' time.

This depot-level model is essentially how things have been working in
the business and industrial sector for a long, long, long time.

> Environmental issues aside, certain far-east countries will not want to take
> western junk forever, and I can't imagine the sources of all this junk being
> too keen to process it on their own soil. Sooner or later there will
> (thankfully) be pressure on manufacturers to make their products be more
> maintainable and last for longer.

Oh, the Far East countries will be taking scrap for as long as their
economy holds up. It is a resource. A very rich, plentiful resource.
No country turns a rich, plentiful resource away.


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