When designing electrical and electronic equipment you should consider the way you will use raw materials. Using fewer materials and fewer different types over the lifecycle of products will generate less waste and can deliver cost and environmental benefits. You should aim for the design to be as simple, and to have as few components, as possible.
You can use engineering principles to minimise the use of resources, including:
- defining realistic requirements for stiffness and strength
- optimising part dimensions - for example, by using finite element analysis
- considering alternatives to thick-walled sections, such as ribbed structures, where stiffness is required
- selecting the most appropriate materials for the product lifecycle
You should consider product design at the same time as packaging design. This can help you to keep packaging to a minimum and could offer opportunities for the packaging to be used within the product once it gets to the consumer.
Packaging has to protect goods, enable easy handling and distribution, present information and act as a marketing tool for the product. However, you can design packaging so that it uses materials efficiently while ensuring that it does these jobs effectively.
Good design has a vital role to play in producing packaging that is effective and minimises the impacts on the environment. Reviewing the materials and design of your products' packaging may identify opportunities to:
- improve the protection of your product
- eliminate or reduce your packaging requirement
- optimise your packaging use, ie matching the packaging to the level of protection needed
- introduce reusable transit packaging
- use recycled materials
These approaches will deliver cost savings by minimising your consumption of resources and the quantities of waste for disposal. For more information, see our packaging design essential top tips.