Tefal appliances and "repairability"


#1

Tefal is boasting quite a bit about repairability - design for disassembly, 10 years of access to parts to professionals and end users. They are also “experimenting” with 3D printing of spare parts - the implication is also for end users, but this is not explicit:

https://www.tefal.co.uk/repairability-page

Does this represent “best practice”? How might we test this now as opposed to 10 years from now?

A search for @TefalUK and “repair” doesn’t leave me too encouraged!

Would be interested to hear thoughts of others!


#2

It would be interesting to get them to talk more about what the design life of their products is - I don’t know what mass manufacturers of consumer products do, but I’d guess it’s a low multiple of the warranty period, say 2x-3x.

The marketing certainly sounds reassuring: “*99% of Tefal products marketed in 2015 in Europe are repairable (of which 32%, with the exception of a maximum of one or two unavailable parts, repairable at a “reasonable” cost).” Although I do wonder what “at a reasonable cost” means - I’d like to think it might mean maybe at cost no more than 50% of the cost of a complete replacement?

Do we have any aims/targets for design life, support life, repair costs of consumer products?

They aren’t going to be able to 3D print anything metallic, electrical, large, or subject to high temperatures/high mechanical stress, so I have doubts how effective that’s going to be.

The statement that they are trialling 3D printing “to fight against planned obsolescence” is a bit bizarre as that “planned obsolescence” in their own products can only have been a result of their own production design/engineering/manufacturing processes. And a VP says "We now realise that these are products that deserve a long life”. So they’re admitting to prior indiscretions, but at least that’s better than a flat out denial. Presumably it’s mainly plastic items where the moulds have been re-purposed so no further production is possible.

It’s easy to be critical, but taken at face value it sounds like the right words - and the fact that they can point back to 2012/2015 is positive, IMO.

Perhaps we could survey this by anyone with a tefal product going to their website and investigating its repairability and the cost of a typical repair? My nearest collection point to repair a kettle is in Bristol - that’s a 1.5hr drive each way, or £5+cost of packaging to post it by Hermes, more by Post Office.


#3

The website seems on the face of it to be trying to do the right thing with a guide, search for your appliance, location of repairers (my nearest is Swindon!!). But as you say the Twitter feedback is mixed to say the least. My initial interpretation would be good intent but not backed up by appropriate resources or process. So it is in danger if it losing credibility.


#4

Bit difficult to extrapolate from the disgruntled customer service complaints to how reliable their products are overall - and unreliability (failure in operation) doesn’t necessarily directly relate to repairability (which is determined during design and production engineering), although it does create the need. A devil’s advocate might argue that increased repairability will typically result in increased manufacturing cost (and therefore cost to the consumer) and/or reduced reliability - if more connectors are needed to allow disconnecting stuff these are more likely to break/disconnect, and more screws and compression seals to allow disassembly increase risk of dust/water ingress compared to glue or ultrasonic bond which also provides a seal but makes the case harder to open, etc.