As of the 1st July 2021, the right to repair legislation is now in effect across the UK, meaning that manufacturers have a legal responsibility to make spare parts available for electrical appliances.
Conceived as a way of minimising waste and encouraging extended use – through the new regulations the government is hoping to tackle the recent obsolescence culture which has seen some manufacturers deliberately build appliances to break down – usually just after warranty – to encourage consumers to buy the latest model.
These new rules mean that manufacturers must now keep in stock spare parts for their products so that customers can fix their goods rather than replace them.
Speaking to the BBC, Adam French from consumer group Which? said that electrical items end up in landfill too often “because they are either too costly or difficult to fix”.
“[This] should ensure products last longer and help reduce electrical waste.”
While consumers will have access to some items for general repair, aspects that might need specialist skills – will only be available to professional repairers, such as heating elements or electrical circuitry.
For a bit more on the context for why this regulation came into place, you can read our previous blog on the topic here, but we’re still left with one question. What does this practically mean for designers and product developers?
Perhaps the most immediate result of the legislation will be that manufacturers will have to keep in stock more spare parts and make them available on request, potentially for sale. Whilst this might not sound like a big deal, it means more storage costs, more parts manufactured and potentially knock-on costs for both the manufacturer and for the customer.
One potential solution for companies is to invest in local production and 3D printing.
At Design Reality, we offer a bespoke service utilising our range of 3D Printers and additive manufacturing machines.
Capable of printing at scale in a range of different materials and sizes, get in touch today to find out more.
Built to last
With the aim of making appliances last at least 10 years, we may see some considerable changes to the quality of materials and products available in the market. Stronger plastics, more robust seals, longer lasting componentry, and fewer cheaper alternatives.
At Design Reality, we have always been committed to designing quality products that last, but we appreciate that problems do happen. That’s why we take maintenance seriously in our designs.
With TOCA social for example, we not only designed the screen frames to withstand 100 mph impacts, but we built a custom hinge joint to allow for easy maintenance.
If you need guidance on how to comply to the new right to repair regulations, or want to discuss future proofing your designs, get in touch for your free consultation today.