4.1.3 Remanufacturing and the Industry
Remanufacturing will probably be a big part of annual sales for many industries in the near future. Both the customers and the producers can gain from remanufacturing. The customer wants good offers and the producer gets an opportunity for prolonged relationship with his customers. Remanufacturing also promotes more efficient use of our world’s resources by making use of the materials, and the value that has already been built into them.
Remanufacturing means to take a used product back, bring it to working condition, and sell it again to a new (or the same) customer. Remanufacturing focuses on making use of the value that a discarded product still intrinsically holds.
There are of course many interpretations of the word remanufacturing. As for all products on the market, remanufactured products must comply with applicable laws and regulations. Some people believe that a remanufactured product should have equal, or better, like-new properties. They expect that the manufacturer should be able to give the same warranties (guarantees) as for the original product.
In reality though for a producer, this might not be optimal. There might be a better option selling a remanufactured product with reduced properties. This is possible, as long as you give the buyer full and factually correct information on the actual properties. The manufacturer states the function and properties, and should be able to give warranties and guarantees as for any other product.
This makes a difference in relation to for example repair, where you only fix one or more defined faults and do not pay the same attention to all parts of the product, as you would in remanufacturing.
One example of remanufacturing is the Swedish car manufacturer Volvo. Used parts are collected and remanufactured. They are put into new products or are sold as spare parts. We can also see other examples from other car companies, as well as companies dealing with computers, construction equipment, furniture etc.
In some situations, all parts of the product are used in the new one. There are also cases where the core is kept and new components are added, as well as, cases where components are kept and the core is replaced. A core is normally the housing, the basic part of the product containing all the other components in some way.
Normally the product is brought back to the manufacturing plant but there are situations where it is more suitable to do the remanufacturing at the location where the product currently is. If you, while taking the product back, buy it and own it before you sell it to a new customer the product will have to fulfil all legal requirements that are valid on the date for selling. When designing a new product you can foresee, and therefore design for a coming remanufacturing. Documentation, ability to demount, as well as some other points, are important.
We will focus on this design for remanufacturing in the following steps.
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