For reducing environmental burden due to products and their production processes, it is essentially important to realize a pre-designed closed product life cycle, and to manage it for less products and energy flow without excessive overhead load. For improving this situation with respect to mass-produced consumers’ durable goods, it is mandatory to rationalize product design and to achieve a closed loop product life cycle by use of comprehensive parts reuse and recycling. It is difficult to introduce parts reuse based on conventional product structure, and appropriate product modularization is necessary to efficiently manage a closed loop product life cycle. A new product modularization strategy is proposed across a family of products and successive generation of products, based on product functionality, product commonality and life cycle similarity. Car air-conditioners are examined for the validity of the proposed method.
product modularization, product life cycle, inverse manufacturing