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CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology 64 (2015) 29–32

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CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology
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Proposal of a design method for semi-destructive disassembly
with split lines
Yasushi Umeda (1)a,*, Naoya Miyaji b, Yumi Shiraishi b, Shinichi Fukushige b
a
b

Department of Precision Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, Japan
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

A R T I C L E I N F O

A B S T R A C T

Keywords:
Disassembly
Design method
Split line

This paper proposes a computer-aided design method for semi-destructive disassembly with split lines.
This method aims at extracting reusable, recyclable, or hazardous components more efficiently than
manual disassembly with higher quality than shredding. The split line is a shape feature of a product that
enables to destruct the product into desired shape, like pull tabs of cans. The proposed method aids a
designer in adding proper split lines to extract target components. A case study showed that the semidestructive disassembly sequence of an air conditioner with the split lines reduces the number of steps
needed for extracting a target component.
ß 2015 CIRP.

1. Introduction
Disassembly, often incorporated with dismantling, is a fundamental process for component reuse, remanufacturing, and
material recycling in all assembled products. The cost of end-oflife (EoL) treatment heavily depends on the amount of time
required to disassemble a product [1].
Especially, manual
operation in disassembly is often a labor intensive and costly
process. Especially, the time to localize and identify fasteners
covers approximately 30% of the total disassembly time [2].
However, the automation of the process has many difficulties
due to the diversity of returned products in terms of their size,
structure, and condition [3,4]. Although the shredding or smashing
of products is a reasonable method of extracting recyclable
materials, it usually results in lower quality material mixtures in
the current recycling activities [5].
Over the past decades, therefore, numerous efforts have been
made on design for disassembly (DfD) (e.g., [1,6,7]), since the
efficiency of disassembly is deeply coupled with the product
structure, fasteners, and the shape of components [8]. The prior
studies have shown that the economic feasibility of disassembly
can be guaranteed if such manual disassembling operations are
drastically simplified [1,5]. In this direction, active disassembly
[2,9] is a developing technology, in which specific external triggers
deform fasteners simultaneously and disassemble a product
efficiently by using the characteristic of smart materials (e.g.,
shape memory alloys).
Generally speaking, a product can be disassembled in the
reverse order of assembly sequence, assuming all fasteners are

* Corresponding author.
E-mail address: umeda@pe.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp (Y. Umeda).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cirp.2015.04.045
0007-8506/ß 2015 CIRP.

removed individually. However, we do not need to maintain the
original shape of the components to be recycled or discarded in the
EoL processes. This implies that we can separate valuable and/or
hazardous components more rapidly by deforming or breaking the
components to be recycled or discarded. This leads to the idea of
‘semi-destructive’ disassembly, in which designated components
(i.e., hazardous or to be reused) are disassembled without any
injury while other components (i.e., to be recycled or discarded)
can be broken in order to increase the efficiency of a disassembly
process. In other words, semi-destructive disassembly is positioned in the middle of disassembly and dismantling and combines
strong points of both of them.
This paper proposes a design support method for the semidestructive disassembly of products with ‘split lines.’ The split line
enables to destruct a product into desired shape, like labels and
caps of PET bottles as shown in Fig. 1. This method aims at

Fig. 1. Example of split lines (PET bottle).

the remaining part can be removed toward the direction of D. the obstacle region OP(T. respectively. After the discussion of the case study in Section 4. 2). Let B1 and B2 denote two rigid bodies in a three-dimensional space (see Fig. by splitting this region from OB1 ðB1 . components included in the 1st shell S1 of a product P are defined as follows (see Fig. which enable to break the shell into fragments by applying force to designated points of the shell surfaces. The method supports a designer in determining the location of split lines on the geometric model of the product at the detailed design stage. which can be made by splitting the shells and removing the divided shell fragments. we evaluated the number of elemental operations in a disassembly sequence in the case study in Section 3. the components located in the outermost layer except for the 1st shell are classified into the 2nd shell. At the outset of the method. OB1 ðB1 . without disassembling the shells. sorting. 2. The method consists of the following four steps: 1. Section 3 illustrates the results of a case study on an air conditioner. Section 5 concludes the paper. 2. such a target component is covered by other components. we define ‘removability’ of a rigid body.Y. Example of shell classification. If this region is the empty set. remanufacturing. In step 1. 2. and 3 in detail. And we call the outermost layer the 1st shell. 3. The process of the semi-destructive disassembly can be formalized as the sequence of removing each obstacle region by breaking and peeling the shells. split lines are added to each shell in order to split and peel the shell from the 1st to the last.4. DÞ is the shadow of B2 projected on B1 in the backward direction of D. To support the designer’s decision in this step. Therefore. Fig. Classifying components into shells s p q r 1st shell C T 2nd shell Target Fig. OB2 ðB1 . DÞ is composed of two sub-regions OB2 ðB1 . OB1 B2 ðB1 . Since this step is not the main focus of this paper.2. Let D be the direction of relative movement of B1 from B2. DÞ is the shadow of B1 projected on B2 in the direction of D. Finally. The rest of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 outlines the theory and procedure of the method.1. the designer interactively searches for a feasible direction minimizing the obstacle regions. 2. 2. DÞ. all components are classified into shells from the 1st to the last shell. Adding split lines to each shell 3. Selecting a disassembly sequence We assume that the target component is surrounded by multiple-layered shells. DÞ. smelting. OB1 ðB1 . Where r \ C and r \ P denote intersection segments between the ray and C and P. Generating disassembly sequences with split lines 4. Design for semi-destructive disassembly with split lines 2. Setting an extraction direction to the target After the shell classification. By using this feature.2. Outline of the method The proposed method assumes that a three-dimensional solid model and an EoL scenario of a product are provided. Adding split lines to each shell 2. 2.Manufacturing Technology 64 (2015) 29–32 30 supporting a designer to add split lines to a product in order to extract reusable or hazardous components more efficiently. the method classifies all components except for the target into the layers of the shells. In step 3. the designer combines the candidates of split lines of each shell derived in step 2 to make a disassembly sequence from the 1st shell to the last. and so on. Fig. DÞ must be cut apart from B1. We view this structure as an analogy to ‘a kernel and its shells’ constitution. if a point p in r \ C exists such that any point q(6¼ p) in r \ P is closer to s than p. This region moves within the product model when the designer changes the direction. B1 is defined as ‘removable’ from B2 with respect to D. material recycling. the designer identifies a target component to be extracted before shredding or smashing the product based on the scenario for recovering the component’s value preferentially by reuse. the designer selects a sequence by evaluating the efficiency of the candidate sequences. The scenario describes EoL processes for each component of the product including manual disassembly. 3): given a ray r emanating from any point s in a target component T and intersecting with a component C. the following sections describe steps 1. the designer sets an extraction direction DT to the target component T. Classifying components into shells Formally. then C is a member of S1. 3 depicts a 2-dimentional example of the shell classification. Note that shells do not always enclose a target entirely in this method (see the 2nd shell in this example). In the same way. With this direction. To remove B1 from B2 without breaking B2. However. remanufacturing. Each split line divides a shell into two fragments and the peeled one makes a window. the target can be retrieved from gaps or holes of the shells (we call such a space a ‘window’). or removing hazardous materials included. the method suggests a candidate of split line (we call it ‘baseline’) on each shell. For example. with a help of the method’s indication of the obstacle regions. final treatment. 2. On the other hand. By applying the same classification algorithm to other components.1. OB2 ðB1 . OB1 ðB1 . / CIRP Annals . DÞ and OB1 ðB1 . a part of B2 and B1 respectively. In many cases. The surrounding components (shells) obstruct the extraction of the target (kernel) from the product.4. Calculating removable and obstacle regions Let us here focus on the relationship between a shell Si and its inner-layer shells (the outer-layer shells are ignored here). DÞ must be cut apart and removed from B2. the method arranges the split line candidates in a tree structure to manage the sequences. We look this deficiency space as a window of the shell. DÞ \ B1 is defined as the ‘removable region’ of B1 in which. machine shredding. Theory of removability between rigid bodies First. this article considers parallel translation of the bodies without rotation. Umeda et al. In step 2. In order to remove B1 from B2 toward the direction of D without breaking B1.3. When B1 moves in the direction of D. DT) of the target is calculated by using geometrical intersection between T and the product P. Removability between two rigid bodies. DÞ. Since .4. 2. The split lines are shape features added to each shell. For supporting this step. For the sake of simplicity. the cumulative set of intersection between B1 and B2 is defined as an obstacle region OB1 B2 ðB1 . and to pick the target from the windows of the shells.

Fig. Next. geometrically engaged by each other. such as an aluminum fin comb and copper tubes. the method identifies the removable region of each shell. The method at this step tries to shorten the baseline by incorporating the boundaries of components as shown in Fig. The designer modifies the detailed location of split lines from the baselines.1. no unscrewing is not always possible. 1 2 −1 2 −1 3 3 Direcons th shell split-lines ( − 1) th shell split-lines A disassembly sequence Fig.3. we examined five candidates of extraction direction on the 3D model. we selected the right side direction that minimizes the obstacle region of the target. Di Þ \ Si is the removable region of Si toward an extraction direction Di. Since shells are. where the red and green colored areas on the 1st shell are the obstacle regions of the target and the peeled fragments F2 of the 2nd shell. the designer modifies the baselines by considering the balance between the efficiency of splitting. the louver. the front grill. 31 Preferably. and the number of screws included in the fragment to be peeled. 5. Moreover. 4. They are the two conditions that each split line shall satisfy as shown in Fig. This calculation is applied to each shell from the most inner one to the 1st in a stepwise manner.2. a gap between components in a shell can be regarded as a part of a split line. Based on the current EoL treatment of air conditioners in Japan. Generating disassembly sequences with split lines After determining the candidates of split lines on individual shells for one extraction direction. and each candidate of split line Lln (l = 1. the window enclosed by the split line does not include any screw. 2. In such a case. in most cases. . because it consists of large mass components of recyclable materials. the number of screws in the window.Y. Here. 5. and the electrical unit (see Fig. repeatedly. and the main chassis were assigned to the 1st shell. The prototype system based on the proposed method imported the geometric model of the product and classified all components other than the target into shells. the method indicates the split line. it is guaranteed that the fragment divided by the line can be removed. where Fj is the peeled fragment of the inner shell Sj(j > i) and Dj is the direction of removing Fj as shown in Fig. 2 1 −1 1 Fig.) in turn has multiple children of split lines Ll1 m on the outer-layer shell. for instance. and lower faces of the 1st shell. the designer may set another direction on the product and search other candidates. For supporting this modification. the motor. the shell can be peeled only after splitting. D j Þ as well as OSi ðT. and other design aspects described above. The red broken line is the baseline of the 1st shell. 2. which are perpendicular to the front. To avoid such intershell engagement. should be removed through the window of Si. right. and the deep blue area is the removable region of the 1st shell.. The main focus of this study is not on such detailed shape analysis but on support for designers in deriving feasible candidates of split lines. 7 shows the segmentation result of the 1st shell with respect to this extraction direction. a split line should be added to the shell so as to encircle obstacle regions [ j > i OSi ðF j . Therefore.3. the heat exchanger is set as the target to be extracted before shredding. The front cover.3. Deriving baselines for determining split lines Next the method derives a baseline on each shell as a hopeful candidate of a split line. . As described in Section 2. which encloses the obstacle regions with minimum length incorporating with the boundary (blue broken line) of the front cover and the main chassis. because of mechanical or esthetic reasons. DT Þ. while the direction Di for removing each shell is arranged individually. The baseline is generated to encircle the obstacle regions with minimum length in the removable region. Disassembly sequence tree. 6. 7). a path from a direction node to a split line node at the bottom is a disassembly sequence. Among them. left. OSi ðSi .4. material properties.2. 4. These boundaries of components should be utilized for shortening the length of breaking the shell. Here. The method deals with other laborious operations in the same manner. Baseline. upper. 6.) has multiple candidates of split lines on the most inner shell as its children. In this tree structure.5. However. which will be peeled. we assume that shorter lines are preferable owing to the cutting cost of the shell.Manufacturing Technology 64 (2015) 29–32 the fragments of the inner shells. and esthetic design. shell fragments cannot always be peeled off due to the interdependent constraints between shells. When a split line is added to the inside of this region. Fig. because the location of split lines depends on that of the inner-layer shells as described in Section 2. we applied the proposed method to an indoor unit of a split-type air conditioner.. The method structures the split line candidates in the form of a tree as shown in Fig. and the target was located just under the 2nd shell composed of the fan. The method visualizes the obstacle regions of the target and the inner shell fragments and the designer arranges the removable region of Si so as to include all the obstacle regions by changing the direction Di. Case study As a case study. . considering. Umeda et al. obstacle regions.4. . removable regions. 5. This figure indicates that each extraction direction DkT (k = 1. as shown in Fig. The extraction direction DT of the target is unchanged during this calculation for all shells. . the shape and function of components including their mechanical characteristics. We modified this baseline so as to simplify the line shape for easy breaking. Obstacle and removable regions. ‘unscrewing’ is a representative example of a laborious disassembly operation. 4. / CIRP Annals . 3.

Basdere B. Umeda et al. The number of steps was reduced by 58% from the original. The new design reduces the number of unscrewing operations from 5 to 0 by destructing the shells along the split lines. the cooperation of design changes in the structure. joining. for example. and the extraction of the divided fragment with rotation. Shells should be divided only when designated amount of forces are applied to designated points of the This paper proposed a design support method for semidestructive disassembly with split lines. In other words. [6] Boothroyd G. For splitting the shells. a hammer. split lines weaken the stiffness and rigidity of components. Future works include the extension of the proposed method including multiple targets.Manufacturing Technology 64 (2015) 29–32 32 Fig. the method should be extended in order to deal with multiple targets. removing fragments. the efficiency of cutting the shell increased. Discussion The case study shows that the method succeeded in supporting a designer in adding split lines to the product. [9] Choido J. In this case study. The extension of the method for combining split lines of multiple shells is another future issue. if the boundary between the cover and the chassis was changed to follow the split line. [4] Seliger G. and shape of components with split lines is a promising approach to increase the efficiency drastically. Fig. Generally speaking. In this study. Annals of the CIRP 57(1):37–40. as well as tools used for splitting should be included in the time estimation formula of WF. Incorporating such design changes into the proposed method is one of our future issues. Annals of the CIRP 48(2):557–565. Assembly Automation 32(1):8–24. Such a combined dividing operation is critical for reducing dismantling time. The method aids a designer to determine the location of the split lines by clarifying the feasible regions of a product model to be split and by generating hopeful candidates of split lines. [2] Willems B. The designer should find out a well-balanced solution that keeps the functionality of the product in the use phase and makes split lines broken easily in the dismantling phase. Annals of the CIRP 62(1):35–38. Dewulf W. Seliger G (1999) Integrated Development of Assembly and Disassembly. For more accurate estimation of operation time and costs. Kara S. In this case. Pagnucco M (2013) Application of Cognitive Robotics in Disassembly of Products. References [1] Duflou JR. Failli F (2002) Computer Aided Disassembly Planning: State of the Art and Perspectives. et al (2013) Effects of Boundary Conditions on the End-of-life Treatment of LCD TVs. . In some cases. Annals of the CIRP 62(1):31–34. Alting L (1992) Design for Assembly and Disassembly. this unit was released simultaneously by breaking the 1st shell. To cope with various EoL scenarios including multiple EoL options such as reuse. the division of multiple shells at a time. / CIRP Annals . [10] Karger DW. [5] Peeters JR. In modifying the locations of split lines. mechanical analysis might be needed for ensuring the functional integrity of the product. and recycling. Table 1 Comparison of steps needed for the disassembly between the original design and the new design with split lines. Duflou JR (2005) Design for Active Disassembly (DfAD): An Outline for Future Research. In the case study. the method of the split line proposed in this article is general besides the realization methods. and the development of a design support system for the cooperation of design changes in the structure. and by unfastening the screws that connect fragments divided by split lines beforehand in the manufacturing phase. Feldmann K. and unfastening screws. employing the concept of the work factor (WF) method [10] is a plausible approach. Annals of the CIRP 57(2):583–600. 8 shows the result of the semi-destructive disassembly of the air conditioner with the split lines. Rebafka U (2002) Innovative Processes and Tools for Disassembly. This solution presumed that the shells can be split by applying impulsive force by using. 129–134. Table 1 compares the evaluation results between the disassembly of the original design and the semi-destructive disassembly of the new design with the split lines. [3] Vongbunyong S. for example.Y. shape of components with the split lines. While the proposed method did not assume the changes of product structure and fastener location. Annals of the CIRP 51(2):507–529. In the case of the semi-destructive disassembly proposed here. the materials and shapes of divided components. we evaluated the result with a simple method in which the number of elemental operations (steps) needed for extracting the heat exchanger was counted. Industrial Press. Keil T. Dini G. remanufacturing. various approaches can be applied besides by breaking the split lines added in the manufacturing phase: such as by determining and cutting the split lines by a circular saw in the EoL phase. the length of split lines. [8] Santochi M. this is not difficult. We found in the case study that the method provides a powerful scheme to derive the baselines by using geometric processing algorithms. 8. the shock of the impact is insignificant for the metal recycling. multiple shells can be divided and removed at a time. Reinhart G. which requires the disassembly of almost all components to reach the target. we used a simple measurement of counting the steps needed for the sequence. Segmentation of the 1st shell. Bayha FH (1987) Engineering Work Measurement. Annals of the CIRP 41(2):1–12. shells. For evaluating the semi-destructive disassembly sequences. Operation type Unscrewing Splitting shell Removing fragment Total Original design New design 5 0 7 0 2 3 12 5 4. et al (2008) Efficiency and Feasibility of Product Disassembly: A Case-based Study. [7] Westkamper E. as well as development of a method for the validation of the mechanical performance and functional integrity of designed products with split lines. Jones N (2012) Smart Materials Use in Active Disassembly. Proceedings of IEEE 2005 International Symposium on Electronics and the Environment. and removing the electrical unit as a peeled fragment of the 2nd shell. fastener. Result of dismantling with split lines. the target was assumed to be a single component or module. Conclusion Fig. 7. 5. where the target is extracted in the extraction direction after splitting the cover and chassis. The proposed system imported the 3D model of the product and generated removable and obstacle regions on each shell and derived baselines as a feasible candidate of split lines. In this case. such as breaking shells. The shells were divided and peeled individually in the case study. Theoretically.