An important aspect of Design for the Life Cycle is assessing the disassemblability of products. A product designed for disassembly can be quickly and easily broken down so its components can be recycled or refurbished. The use of virtual prototyping is proposed to aid the assessment of product disassembly by enabling the designer to virtually disassemble the product. A virtual prototype is a model of a product and a process that the product undergoes. Virtual prototyping is defined as the generation of a virtual prototype and its simulation or assessment. Factors involved in generating product disassembly processes include: determining the disassembly sequence of a product, the disassembly paths of components, tool change sequences, etc. In recent years, disassembly processes have been generated either by using interactive or automated approaches, but these have limitations. However, by combining the two approaches, disassembly processes of complex assemblies can be generated without extensive user input. This type of interaction can be facilitated by using virtual prototyping. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the development of a virtual environment that will support the generation of virtual prototypes for evaluating product disassembly. Issues involved in transformation of CAD models to virtual prototypes for disassembly are also discussed. Application to an automotive center console is illustrated.

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