Section 4: Remanufacturing

Section 4: Remanufacturing

“Introduction … Business value of Remanufacturing … Design for Remanufacturing … Challenges for remanufacturing … A Narrative for the Circular Economy … In-depth: Growth within”
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Summaries

  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.1 Introduction > 4.1.1 A huge industry, but mostly unknown…
  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.2.1 What is remanufacturing?
  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.2.2 The business value of remanufacturing
  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.3.1 Remanufacturing: an untapped opportunity
  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.4 Challenges for remanufacturing > 4.4.1 Barriers to remanufacturing
  • 4. Remanufacturing > 4.4 Challenges for remanufacturing > 4.4.2 The major research questions

4. Remanufacturing > 4.1 Introduction > 4.1.1 A huge industry, but mostly unknown…

  • For many years the remanufacturing industry has lobbied governments to gain support for the industry, to try and inform a wider community and governments that we exist.
  • In addition to materials, within the jobs market for governments, remanufacturing plays a greater role that that of a new equipment industry.

4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.2.1 What is remanufacturing?

  • If you start with repair you’re primarily looking at something that is broken, something that is no longer functioning and you want to either replace it or repair it to get the product itself back to the working condition.
  • If you take a look into the overhaul for example, many times we’re taking a product that is degraded in terms of its performance or not performing, and bring it back to a working condition.
  • Rebuilding, overhaul and refurbishment, those are basically bringing the product back to a working condition and ensuring that it will function.
  • You don’t necessarily replace subsystems that have degraded a bit but still functioning and can function for a period of time.
  • Remanufacturing anything that isn’t equivalent to new you have to replace and you have to make sure that it is equivalent to a new condition.

4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.2.2 The business value of remanufacturing

  • The award basically looked into the waste that was diverted from going to landfill, we were looking into the energy conservation that the remanufacturing operation resulted in, and we also looked at emission and many other environmental factors that we calculated.
  • We were able to provide our customer with product at lower costs and that’s why their demand was lower cost.
  • When you remanufacture the product and the product comes back to you as a manufacturer of the product, you learn a lot more about what worked well, what didn’t work well in the design of that product.
  • If you don’t really have that closed loop system, it is very difficult to learn from, you know, from the performance of the product, your old product, to help advise or guide the new design.
  • The fact that you have a way to bring this product back and recycle the material that might help offset your material cost in a very positive way.
  • The third parameter here is that by actually bringing the product back you are making sure that your product is handled properly at end of life.
  • You know, many times as companies are required to have spare parts for products for a long period of time, you know, for durable products for example, when the product in the market, the percentage of the product in the market is low it’s much easier and cheaper to use remanufacture, remanufactured components for the service and repair than it is to make them brand new.

4. Remanufacturing > 4.2 Business value of Remanufacturing > 4.3.1 Remanufacturing: an untapped opportunity

  • Remanufacturing represents a significant opportunity and the benefits to businesses are compelling.
  • Remanufacturing is really a big, untapped opportunity for businesses.
  • So through collaborative research at TU Delft with my colleague Dr. Sharon Prendeville, we identified several design and business model strategies that could support remanufacturing.
  • We’re looking at the aspects that can make remanufacturing really successful.
  • Of course there’s overlap with strategies for a circular economy, because in essence, remanufacturing is a key component of the circular economy.
  • Think for instance about the access and performance model, where the company really retains ownership of the materials.
  • Other models such as the classic long life and sufficiency driven business models are really focused on slow consumption and are very compatible, as a result, for remanufacturing.
  • Which design strategies can support remanufacturing? Design for remanufacturing can help scale up other circular economy objectives, such as recycling, so that’s why it is very exciting to think about remanufacturing.
  • The company really needs to find ways to get back the material for remanufacturing.
  • In the access and performance model this is quite clear because the consumer never really owns the product.
  • As a result many companies also do a pilot to run things across the business and check, in a low risk way, whether remanufacturing is really a strategy for them.
  • Awareness of remanufacturing can really open up new opportunities for businesses.

4. Remanufacturing > 4.4 Challenges for remanufacturing > 4.4.1 Barriers to remanufacturing

  • With a lot of people perceiving reman product as lesser than new, inferior product or not good quality product.
  • So to be able to validate the condition of the components with electronic board, electronic components embedded in them is a very difficult task and represent a lot of challenges of going forward for the industry.
  • For example, if you have a diesel engine or you have construction equipment or you have medical equipment and machines so, if the machine that is not functioning anymore, that becomes what we call the core, that is raw material for us in remanufacturing.
  • If I have barriers in moving this machine across the border for a certain country where that work is going to take place to remanufacture this machine, and I have all these restrictions.
  • Again, on the other hand also is barriers to market entry in many countries where the remanufactured products are called used products.

4. Remanufacturing > 4.4 Challenges for remanufacturing > 4.4.2 The major research questions

  • The second main topic is that we investigate technologies for doing new products, like mechatronics, like diesel engine injectors and maybe in the future also like headlamps, steerable headlamps.
  • So the new product and new process know-how, we have a lot to do on the technological side.

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