Design for assembly is often used to describe those features and design decisions used to make the final assembly of products easier and more efficient during production. It is very important to the product development process to decrease product costs and assembly time.
A recent article from Treehugger discusses Design for Disassembly, or the process of considering the end of life disassembly steps for the product. Designing a product that will be disassembled for maintenance or upgrades is nothing new, but this article talks about designing a product for total disassembly to allow for easy recycling or even complete rebuild and reuse to give the product an entire new lifecycle.
The first part of the article discusses a few different approaches and examples. I particulary like the remanufacturing example from Caterpillar..
"Within the heavy industry sector, Caterpillar has emerged as a leader. At a plant in Corinth, Mississippi, it recycles some 17 truckloads of diesel engines a day. These engines, retrieved from Caterpillar's clients, are disassembled by hand by workers who do not throw away a single component, not even a bolt or screw. Once the engine is disassembled, it is then reassembled with all worn parts repaired. The resulting engine is as good as new. Caterpillar's remanufacturing division is racking up $1 billion a year in sales and growing at 15 percent annually, contributing impressively to the company's bottom line."
Not only is Caterpillar reducing waste, they are growing a business unit at the same time.