Design for maintainability or reparability prolongs product use, extending its useful lifetime. There are multiple elements that designers should consider in this case:
Parts standardization and replacement
Modular components and parts
Accessibility, safety and disassembly
Regular self-testing, error recognition and notification
Affordability, simplicity and expediency
Fairphone: Modular phone built to last
Mobile phone owners may find repair difficult and cost-prohibitive.
Most people do not discard old mobile phones properly.
Waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) such as computers, TV-sets, fridges and cell phones grew faster than most waste streams in the EU, from 9 million tons generated in 2005 to an expected 12 million tons by 2020.
Moreover, the production of modern electronics requires the use of scarce and expensive resources (e.g. around 10% of total gold worldwide used for their production).
Pairing an easily reparable phone with reliable performance.
Unlocking the value retained in old mobile phones.
Reliance on business model to differentiate from competitors, assuming engineers will discover design and manufacturing secrets.
Created in 2013 in the Netherlands, Fairphone designs and produces sustainable smartphones with reduced environmental and social negative externalities.
Mid 2014, the company started to elaborate Fairphone 2, a smartphone designed to last.
Fairphone designed the device for disassembly, repair and with parts that can be simply replaced.
The concept makes it possible for any user to do basic maintenance on his or her phone without the assistance of a professional.
In collaboration with iFixit, an American company founded in 2003, the start-up elaborated simple repair guides to allow for even easier repairs.
In 2015, Fairphone grew faster than any other European start-up.
During COP21, Fairphone received a prize from the United Nations attributed to innovative solutions addressing environmental, social and economic challenges linked to climate change.
As of March 2017, the company managed to sell more than 80,000 of its Fairphone 2, a considerable achievement considering the relatively high price.