Latin America. Imagine a future where electronics aren't thrown away after use. Instead, specific components are collected to give them a second, third, or even fourth life. Once the device itself truly reaches the end of its lifecycle, it is repurposed and recycled to incorporate those same materials into next-generation phones, monitors, or laptops.
It's about a future where nothing goes to waste and the mountain of electronics that are discarded every year (over 57 million tons worldwide, to be exact) is drastically reduced. Not only is technology dematerialized, but the materials we use fuel a strong circular economy. In this way, the need for new raw materials is reduced.
Dell Technologies introduced the Luna concept, a cutting-edge, sustainable PC design, that illustrates the company's vision of reducing waste and emissions, reusing materials and achieving new levels of innovation. Over the past year, engineers from the Experience Innovation Group have worked to further fine-tune the modular design of the Luna concept, eliminating the need for adhesives and cables, and minimizing the use of screws.
These settings make it easier to repair and disassemble a system. The Luna concept could dramatically simplify and speed up repair and disassembly processes, making components more accessible and expanding opportunities for reuse.
"It can take recycling partners more than an hour to disassemble a PC with current technology, which uses screws, glue and various soldered components. With the evolved design of the Luna concept, we reduced the disassembly time to just minutes. We even commissioned a microfactory to guide our design team, which allowed us to create a device that can be quickly and easily disassembled using robots," says Glen Robson, CTO, Customer Solutions, Dell Technologies.
How does it work?
By combining Luna's sustainable design with intelligent telemetry and robotic automation, engineers created something that has the potential to trigger a sea change in the sector and drive circularity at scale. While creating a sustainable device is a major achievement, the real opportunity lies in the impact that could be achieved on millions of technological devices sold every year and the optimization of the materials of those devices so that they can be reused, repurposed or recycled in the future.
Luna's built-in telemetry also provides the opportunity to diagnose the status of individual system components to help ensure nothing goes to waste. Because how customers use technology can vary, not all components reach the end of their lifecycle at the same time.
For example, people who work from home can use external components, such as keyboards or monitors. A laptop's keyboard and monitor may have been almost unused, even when the motherboard is ready to be replaced. The evolution of this concept can equip individual components and connect them to a telemetry system to optimize their service life. Basically, it's somewhat similar to the way we maintain our vehicles: we don't throw them in the trash when we have to change tires or brakes.
"Our constant work on the Luna concept allows us to approach a future where more devices are developed with a modular design. The incredible incorporation of robotics and automation works as a catalyst to accelerate the efficient disassembly of devices; measure the condition and remaining usability of components; and better understand which ones can be reused, repurposed or recycled, so that nothing goes to waste. This vision has broad and profound implications for us, our customers and the industry at large as we work together to reduce e-waste," Robson said.
While Luna is "just a concept" right now, it's also a long-term vision of how to achieve even greater business and social impact through circular design practices. Dell Technologies aims to achieve sustainability goals by innovating, pushing the boundaries of design, soliciting feedback and rethinking business models. Luna's main goal is to drive revolutionary breakthroughs and shape a more sustainable future for all. "For me, it's an honor to be part of this transition," said Gleb Robson.