The EU-funded European Remanufacturing Network (ERN) has launched a digital toolkit to share expertise from innovative companies that are exploring the benefits of remanufacturing products.
Remanufacturing involves returning and restoring used products to at least their original performance, with a warranty that is equivalent to or better than that of a newly manufactured replacement.
By keeping components and their embodied material in use for longer, remanufacturing can significantly reduce waste, energy use and carbon emissions.
For the customer, remanufactured products are typically 60-80 per cent cheaper than the cost of a new product, while they can also be made with a shorter lead-time than new products manufactured to order and can often be returned to the manufacturer at end-of-life.
For manufacturers, it represents an opportunity to move towards a more circular business model, gain competitive advantage and forge longer-lasting relationships with customers.
In May 2015, the ERN calculated that the value of remanufacturing activity in Europe could triple by 2030.
Much of the current market is driven by the aerospace and automotive industries, alongside electronic and electrical equipment (EEE), machinery, medical equipment and smaller sectors such as furniture manufacture.
The ERN has now launched an online ‘digital toolkit’ to share knowledge and expertise from European remanufacturers, providing real-world examples of how companies are implementing new strategies and creating business opportunities while having a positive environmental impact.
The toolkit is split into three themes:
- Product design: Companies can save costs on manufacturing processes and make remanufacturing more profitable by designing products to be remanufactured from the start
- Business models: Companies can vary from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which also takes on the role of remanufacturer once the product is no longer needed by the customer, to an independent remanufacturer that places remanufacturing other companies' products at the heart of their business
- Processes: Companies can employ various methods to optimise efficiency during the manufacturing and remanufacturing process.
The case studies from across Europe include ACES Compressors in Stockport, which supplies remanufactured compressors to contractors in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry at a much lower cost than newly manufactured products, with the same warranty.