This whole idea of this project is to design products with a long lifespan. To do so, it seems obvious to “design for durability”, which is one of the six proposed design strategies. It is indeed obvious, but it is not necessarily easy. It is pointless to design one part to last 100 years, if another breaks after two months. The lifespan of the whole system should therefore be considered. Durability is very much a question of the quality of the chosen components, but it is also a question of manufacturing and assembly. As I wrote in an earlier blog post I experienced that there is a clear correlation between product price and sound quality. You don’t get much bass for €10. To sell a speaker at that price the cheapest solutions are used. This means an integrated PCB with the cheapest components, a small driver, super thin wires, etc. But it also mean that the design is quite simple and that there actually are relatively few elements that can fail. So cheap is not necessarily directly linked to short technical lifetime.
At the workshop last thursday I had the pleasure to get supervision by an industry expert, Ronald Salters, who have many years of experience from Phillips and Bose. He could tell me a lot about speaker design and give valuable insights in to how the industry works. He pointed out that it typically is the cone of the driver that fails. And he explained how a huge quality improvement can be obtained with just a few extra dollars spend on production. In the next couple of days I will make an overview of how such quality steps would look. Meanwhile I can share some of my other design ideas that will increase durability:
Ideas for design for durability
Durable metal housing, e.g. in cast aluminum
Limit number of components and buttons
Sturdy design that can withstand drops
Inner shock protection system