Foreman Grill Serviceability Summary

The serviceability of a product can greatly affect the environmental impacts of a product. Products that can be repaired after individual component failures greatly increase the lifetime of the product. This is achieved by reducing the amount of working components that are disposed of due to one critical component malfunction. With this focus, the factors that were addressed when determining the serviceability of the George Foreman Grill were the critical or crucial parts to the system, whether or not the crucial parts ‘could’ be replace and whether or not they ‘would’ be replaced, and finally, what component or group of component failures would mark the current George Forman Grill end of life.

A crucial product component is defined as a component that will prevent proper functioning of the entire product even though it is the only malfunctioning component. Analysis of the George Forman Grill found that there are three crucial components.

The first crucial component of the product is the thermal switch. The thermal switch is a heat-regulating device that acts as a type of circuit breaker. When the grill is turned on, the temperature of the grill is room temperature and the thermal switch will allow electricity to flow through. Once the heating elements heat the grill up to a certain temperature, the switch is triggered and stops the flow of electricity, thus cooling the grilling surface. Once the temperature cools to a predetermined temperature, the thermal switch will no longer be triggered and will reopen the circuit and continue the heating process.

The second and third crucial parts are the upper and lower heating elements. If one of these heating elements fails, only one part of the grill will heat and it will not allow for proper functioning of the grill, which is supposed to cook on both sides at time.

Could and would the three critical components be replaced or repaired if malfunctioning is another important factor in determining the overall products serviceability. A product is made up of many components and the method used to connect all of these individual parts answers the question of could a part be replace. If a part is welded to another piece or if other components have to be broken in order to remove the malfunctioning component then that part cannot be replaced and the question of would it be replaced does not need to be address.

If it is determined that a part physically could be replaced, the next question addressed is would it be replaced. The cost of the individual component verses the entire product cost, the time it takes to replace the component, and many other factors are addressed to determine if a product would be replaced.

The overall cost of the George Forman Grill studied is under $60. To purchase an individual thermal switch to repair the grill with would not be a cost effective choice because they sell for approximately $15 to $20. To remove either heating element from the heating plate, the plate needs to be damaged. The heating elements will wear out but typically not until long after the thermal switch malfunctions. Considering both of these factors, the heating elements would not be replaced and if both were to fail, it would mark the product end of life.