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Old 4th November 2013, 06:56 PM   #1
JZatopa is offline JZatopa  United States
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Default Secondary Use Engineering and Marketing

I just wrote a blog post about a concept I am trying to promote and thought some people here might be interested. I know a lot people are engineers and designers and I am curious to get your perspective.

Come and Get SEUM

I think that we need more products that have a secondary use designed into them. This way when their primary use is over, they can find a secondary market rather then become trash. It's not a new concept, per se, but I think it is one needs to be revisited and re-marketed. I have found that the difference between an ideas acceptance as something to focus on and just something interesting usually comes down to how it's presented. Just curious what you guys think.
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Old 5th November 2013, 10:26 AM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Why not just make things so they are repairable, like they used to be? Most of our artifacts have a use which we will still need to do in much the same way in 10 or 20 years time so why not make them so they can last that long? Then the primary use can continue.

My current washing machine is 25 years old. It has had just one repair, which I did after a shop told me it was beyond repair. I will soon need a new one, but I know that a new one is likely to last only about 5 years and will be too complex to repair.
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Old 5th November 2013, 12:13 PM   #3
marce is offline marce  United Kingdom
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My current washing machine is 42 years and She is still going strong
Sorry couldn't resist.
But agree, a lot of stuff I work is non repairable, or the cost of repair exceeds a new unit.
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Old 6th November 2013, 04:40 AM   #4
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IMO it isn't an easily accomplished proposition.
Where Heineken-bottle housing is needed isn't where the locals are drinking Heinekens. And your average neighbor doesn't want a home like that. (I've never seen those bottles before, but they made me think of this house in Rhyolite, Nevada that I have seen. It's made of beer bottles mortared together. Rhyolite is an old ghost town between Beatty and the east entrance to Death Valley.)
Digital technology and new manufacturing methods make repair virtually if not literally uneconomic to all parties. There is also IP and trial lawyers that enter the picture, too, at some point.
I won't say I like it all, but I don't see a truly workable solution. I favor and can foresee a technological solution. Not in my lifetime, though.
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Old 6th November 2013, 07:30 PM   #5
JZatopa is offline JZatopa  United States
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Your right about it not being easy but I since when has anything worth doing ever been easy

I personally don't see us going back to a world of repair. What I see is that convergence is actually going to cause a bypass of the issue altogether. In theory, once they can shrink a 1080P/4K laser projector into our smartphones you could have one device that does everything you need in a household. Even if that day is still 5-10 years off it is coming.

As far as housing, glass heineken bottles are not where I see this progress potentially happening. I see it in plastic pop bottles. They are already being used to build houses and they are available in even the poorest of nations. It wouldn't take much to change the shape of the bottles into something both useful and interesting to hold/use/look at. Even if it was slow to take off the change and the effort behind it would drive sales through marketing. I view SUEM as a rather holistic approach, which is why I think marketing is essential.

What I am curious to find out about is how else SUEM could be used and if there are needs that could be met in developed nations by SUEM. By having a secondary use, trash really doesn't become trash for a much longer time period.
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Old 7th November 2013, 04:36 AM   #6
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Well, I would think that quite a few of our members have taken discarded motors and used the wire for large value inductors or even transformers.

How's that for a start?
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Old 7th November 2013, 04:55 AM   #7
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Modern equipment is becoming too specialized and optimized to repurpose. By the time it blows out the new stuff is much better, like too much better. Consumer grade motors are essentially glued together these days, wire and all. To get anything out of it yourself other than the motor it was or a pool of metal and some smoke would be lucky, although maybe they don't worry so much about that in emerging nations. What you need is a funnel that you pour the old stuff into and the new stuff pops out. Don't laugh, that's where advancing recycling technology eventually leads.
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Old 9th November 2013, 02:51 AM   #8
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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I think recycling is more useful in areas that do it. Repurposing is perhaps lower tech and more useful for areas and products where recycling isn't practical.
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Old 9th November 2013, 08:25 AM   #9
Johno is offline Johno  Australia
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There is an enormous amount of SUEM out there already, you're just not looking.

One example...

My car is what we call a Ute (short for utility and what the yanks call a pick-up truck). Its really a most impractical 2 door, 2 seat sports car with shmick suspension and a big motor that loves to spin with a nice burble. It also has a large open flat bed cargo tray behind that will transport a load of hay or fire wood or big ugly and dirty stuff. So it takes me to work or helps out around the farm or I can play Fangio on my mountain roads if I dont feel like suiting up for the bike.

Similar story with those horrid boxes called SUV's et al.
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Old 9th November 2013, 01:55 PM   #10
davym is offline davym  Scotland
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I keep my old cars running as long as I can keep on repairing them for reasonable cost.

One idea which I liked was to reuse old vehicle alternators as a low voltage wind generator, mount it on a pole and bolt the blades straight onto the driveshaft instead of a pulley.

In rural China you can't sell an automatic washing machine, it has be an old fashioned style twin tub so that they can also use it to wash their vegetables. Expensive items must be at least dual use or they see them as a rip off.
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