Dell’s Concept Luna Makes Laptop Repair Easier Than Assembling an IKEA

Laptops, smartphones and tech in general has come a long way over the past decade, getting better in every way possible. But one aspect that has seen a clear setback is repairability. Most consumer electronics have become increasingly difficult to repair, with companies even going out of their way to block repair efforts by using proprietary tools and parts that are only available through the manufacturer.

This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for users to fix their own devices, even if they have the necessary technical knowledge. As a result, many people are forced to pay high fees to have their devices repaired by the manufacturer or an authorized service center. This not only adds to the cost of ownership, but also contributes to the growing problem of electronic waste, as people are more likely to replace their devices instead of repairing them.

Some companies have tried solving this issue by making modular products where most of the parts are swappable. This ensures that users can easily replace any faulty parts, or even upgrade them without having to replace the entire device. Modular design also allows for more efficient repairs, as users can quickly swap out faulty parts without having to disassemble the entire device. In addition, modular design reduces the need for specialized tools and training, as most repairs can be performed with common tools. 

Although most of these attempts have failed, for example Google’s Project Ara. And a few successful examples like Framework, which sells highly configurable laptops, are still very niche. 

Even Dell seems to be playing around the idea of a fully repairable laptop, with the company showcasing Concept Luna in 2021. Essentially a proof-of-concept, with Dell further researching the modular aspect. 

A future vision of reuse, repair and recreating: Our position is simple. We need to move from use, then recycle – to use, reuse multiple times and then recycle when the material is no longer usable in its original form. This iteration of Concept Luna does just that. It shows a vision for what could be.

  • We’ve reduced the number of screws needed to access internal components for repair or reuse from hundreds to just four – reducing time for repairs (to disassemble, repair and reassemble key components) by approximately 1.5 hours.5
  • The palmrest assembly is intentionally designed for ease of repair and reuse. The keyboard mechanisms provide clean, easy separation from other components and simplify recycling.
  • The advanced deep-cycle cell battery provides a long charge that can be maintained across many years of use, increasing refurbishment and reuse beyond the first product life it services.
  • A new bio-based printed circuit board (PCB) is made with flax fiber in the base and water-soluble polymer as the glue. What’s noteworthy here is that the flax fiber replaces traditional plastic laminates. And even better, the water-soluble polymer can dissolve – meaning recyclers can more easily separate metals and components from the boards.

How Far is The Concept Luna Laptop?

Concept Luna board without adhesive and wires.

Well, Concept Luna, as the name implies, is still a concept. There is no clarity if Dell is even going to release such a device. But yes, the company seems to have made some progress with the second revision of Concept Luna.  

Dell has eliminated the need for adhesives and cables, and even uses fewer screws in the updated design. A more accessible design allows for more efficient repairs and expands opportunities for reuse. These improvements could have a significant impact on the repairability and sustainability of consumer electronics.

It can take recycling partners more than an hour to disassemble a PC with today’s technology, held together with screws, glues and various soldered components. With our evolved Concept Luna design, we’ve reduced disassembly time to mere minutes. We even commissioned a micro-factory to guide our design team, resulting in a device that robots can quickly and easily take apart.

– Dell 

A major goal of Concept Luna is also to simplify the factory assembly process. With intelligent internal telemetry and fully swappable components, even automated robots will be able to conduct repairs and manufacture these devices at scale. 

You can read more about Concept Luna, here. 

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