Research on premature obsolescence

On this page, you will find results from the PROMPT research on premature obsolescence. Please note, that some of the deliverables still have to undergo an external review as part of the Horizon 2020 process. However, since the topic of premature obsolescence is moving fast, the consortium decided to make the deliverables already available to the public. When citing the work, please also quote the version number of the deliverable.

Current State of Durability Assessment for Four Consumer Product Groups

Lead Partner: Fraunhofer IZM

Paper contribution at the Electronics Goes Green 2020 (01/09/2020)

Four consumer product groups (Vacuum cleaners, washing machines, mobile phones and television sets) have been analysed in regard to the current state of durability assessment. The dominant failures have been determined and compared to the current test programs. Gaps in current tests, as well as requirements for tests to close these gaps, have been identified.

Assessment of the influencing parameters of the tumble test for robustness testing of smartphones

Lead Partner: Fraunhofer IZM

Paper contribution at the Electronics Goes Green 2020 (01/09/2020)

In the wake of increasing attention being paid to robustness and durability of electronic products in general and smartphones in particular, the tumble test is gaining relevance when it comes to emulating real-life scenarios of falls and accidental drops. Unlike other drop tests, the tumble test is a fast way to simulate random falls close to real-life accidents. There is currently a standard (IEC 60068-2-31) for such testing that sets certain parameters (i.e. the spinning speed, the fall height…) depending on the size and weight of the device under test but leaves enough room for calibration.

This paper aims to take a closer look at the effect of a variation of those parameters in the experiment. For this purpose, several devices are tested under different conditions and indicators like the fall statistics are collected and then correlated with the test variables. A high-speed camera is used in order to see what happens during the impact.  The results provide a better understanding of how these parameters can lead to a more accurate simulation of real-life conditions as well as the current limitations of the procedure.

Market Trends in Smartphone Design and Reliability Testing

Lead Partner: Fraunhofer IZM

Paper contribution at the Electronics Goes Green 2020 (01/09/2020)

Over the past decade, smartphones have become ubiquitous. Annual shipments have increased from 305 million units in 2010 to 1.37 billion units in 2019. This makes smartphones a highly relevant product group from a sustainability point of view. This paper firstly investigates market trends in smartphone design features over the past decade, both in terms of the evolution of technical specifications and design aspects that are relevant for material efficiency, particularly reparability and dismantlability. Secondly, reliability testing carried out by ICRT on 108 smartphone models is analysed. Both analyses combined provide a factual data base on which the development of the product group in present, past, and future, can be evaluated in the framework of sustainable development.

D.2.6: State-of-the-art knowledge on user, market and legal issues related to premature obsolescence

Lead Partner: TU Delft

Date of the Deliverable: 30/04/2020

This deliverable provides an overview of the state-of-the-art knowledge on reasons to replace products addressing user, market and legal aspects. The data used for this report is from both scientific literature and reports from consumer associations. The report shows an overview of (scientific) literature and gives insights from consumer studies related to the user and market issues of premature obsolescence. The literature study consists of two parts. The first part covers a general overview of the different types of (premature) product obsolescence that exist and the general reasons why people replace their products. The second part provides information on the average lifetime, expected lifetime, replacement motivations, barriers towards repair activities, national differences in repair activities and possibilities for lifetime extension. The last chapter provides an analysis of existing legal provisions on guarantee and repair for elements that might be promoting or hampering products to be repaired.

Please note, that this is the first version of the deliverable and might be subject to changes after the periodical review as part of the H2020 project process.

D.2.5: Environmental evaluation of current and future design rules

Lead Partner: Fraunhofer IZM

Date of the Deliverable: 29/04/2020

Thie deliverable “Environmental evaluation of current and future design rules” has three main objectives. First, in the context of the global market situation, it identifies current and future design trends for selected product groups and discusses their environmental impact. Second, it shows a comparison of different existing life cycle analyses (LCA) in order to identify hot spots that are most relevant from an environmental point of view, with a focus on resource efficiency and possible lifetime extension. Third, it analyses environmental break-even points identified in the literature and discusses the advantage of possible lifetime extension.

Please note, that this is the first version of the deliverable and might be subject to changes after the periodical review as part of the H2020 project process.

D.2.4: State-of-the-art of design strategies and design principles in relation to obsolescence

Lead Partner: TU Delft

Date of the Deliverable: 29/02/2020

This deliverable presents an overview of design strategies, design principles and design features in relation to obsolescence based on literature and state-of-the-art in repair practice. The results presented are preliminary in the sense that they are the result of an initial exploration in a broad field to extract the information most promising for further research in future deliverables of PROMPT. It provides an overview of barriers, various scoring systems, and reports from partners in order to extract design features facilitating and hampering longevity of products. Finally, using these results, an inventory of design strategies and principles, and its relation to different design features are generated and analysed. This inventory will be elaborated and built upon for the development of tests on design aspects in future deliverables of PROMPT.

Please note, that this is the first version of the deliverable and might be subject to changes after the periodical review as part of the H2020 project process.

D.2.3: State-of-the-art existing testing, rating systems and standards

Lead Partner: OCU

Date of the Deliverable: 20/12/2019

The deliverable “State-of-the-art existing testing, rating systems and standards” summarizes existing information regarding tests, rating systems and standards in so far as they include relevant aspects concerning premature obsolescence for products within the scope of the PROMPT project. It points to existing features and issues that dominate product obsolescence (such as bearing failure, high repair cost and commonly used protocols). In addition, it provides examples, references and background information for future work, reports or dissemination campaigns.

Please note that the current version of the report is not final since it is a “living document” that will be updated throughout the study. If you have any comments or suggestions that should be added to the report, please contact us at info@prompt-project.eu.