Recovering valuable materials and components from end-of-life (EOL) products is an important means to mitigate the risk of disruption in the supply of virgin, critical materials. The economic viability of value recovery from EOL products is greatly affected by the dismantling process plan, i.e., the processes and the sequence used to recover components and materials. This paper presents an approach to find the optimal EOL strategy, which includes a method for automatic generation of disassembly model and making decisions on the best disassembly sequence, level and EOL options of components/parts. The approach also proposes to identify bottlenecks; degree of automation and destructive disassembly (dismantling) are considered as schemes to attenuate bottlenecks. The ultimate goal of the work is to provide recyclers with process plans to maximize their economic return and to help designers to evaluate product recyclability. A hard disk drive is used as a case study to demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.

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