Additive manufacturing: higher innovation and lower costs
Until recently, additive manufacturing, or as it is better known 3D printing, seemed like science fiction, but it is now a reality and here to stay.Read more
19-07-2023 | Posted by Joaquín Martí
The present post summarises one published by Dassault Systèmes, dealing with the European Commission’s plans for new eco-design and efficiency labelling regulations for mobile devices and tablets. Further details can be found in a dedicated whitepaper.
Awareness of sustainability and electronic waste issues is greater than ever. Consumers, investors, and lawmakers are aiming for devices that are more robust and long-lasting. At the 2022 IFA consumer electronics show, the European Commission unveiled plans for new eco-design and efficiency labelling regulations for smartphones and tablets. These are expected to come into effect in 2024.
The energy efficiency label will now include information about battery capacity and endurance, drop resistance, water/dust resistance, and ease of repair. Since products that score well will have an advantage on the market, designing to optimise robustness and repairability will become increasingly important.
Simulation allows designers to model the durability of devices without physical prototypes. Using a virtual twin to replicate physical tests, companies can accelerate development and reduce costs, with confidence that the eco-design targets will be met.
A handheld device will be dropped many times over its lifespan. The draft regulations would grade smartphones and tablets from A to E, depending on how many drops from one metre they can withstand: an A-rated smartphone over 300 and an E-rated one fewer than 50.
Drop testing a phone prototype is both time-consuming and expensive, requiring numerous working prototypes. Structural simulation with Abaqus automates the drops and allows rapid assessment of design modifications. By visualising the stresses in the device, engineers can identify likely failure sites and increase robustness while keeping the device lightweight.
Water ingress protection
Water and dust can damage delicate electronics. The draft regulations grade devices by how effectively they prevent the ingress of contaminants. For water, the levels of protection range from “splashing” through “jetting”, “temporary immersion, 1 metre depth” to “continuous immersion, 1 metre or more”.
Smartphones typically include seals around buttons, speakers, and connectors. However, water pressure can deform the seal and allow liquid to leak into the device. Abaqus can simulate the performance of seals under various water pressure conditions.
With successive charging and discharging, a battery starts to degrade, and its capacity is reduced. The device begins to run out of charge faster and faster until it becomes impractical. The draft regulations score devices both by how long the battery lasts on a full charge, and how many charging cycles the battery can endure before dropping to 80% of its original capacity.
Dassault Systèmes offers a battery simulation workflow that covers the many different aspects of battery design including chemistry, swelling, thermal performance and structural integrity. A recent post on the SIMULIA blog provides more information.
Electronics and machinery used to be modular, and in the event of breakdown could often be repaired by the end user. However, the trend towards smaller and lighter devices has led manufacturers to make devices where it is harder to replace components.
The draft rules score devices according to how many steps are required to replace parts, the tools needed, and the availability and cost of spare parts and software updates. Dassault Systèmes offers a circular economy solution for designing sustainable devices that are repairable and recyclable.