Producing goods for remanufacturing and reuse

What is remanufacturing?

Guide

Remanufacturing is a process applied to an end-of-life part or product which returns it to working order 'as new' or to better performance levels than the original product.

Products which are suitable for remanufacturing include those which:

  • involve technology that will last for a long time
  • have a high inherent material value and production cost
  • are sold in market which are tolerant of 'as new' products
  • can be collected and delivered
  • contain a durable core which can be reused many times
  • can be disassembled down to component parts

The remanufacturing process may not be cheap or fast. Remanufacturing broadly involves the following steps:

  1. collection of the product to be remanufactured
  2. initial assessment for quality and usability
  3. cleaning of components to be retained
  4. repair or replacement of broken or missing components
  5. processing to restore to working order
  6. testing for quality and safety

Remanufactured products typically come with a warranty to guarantee operation for a certain period.

The business benefits of remanufacturing include reduced production costs and environmental impacts. You may also be able to charge an 'as new' price for the remanufactured product.

How is remanufacturing different to recycling?

Remanufacturing preserves the entire form of a product, whereas recycling involves breaking the product down into its component parts and melting, smelting or reprocessing them into new forms.

These could be the same products (closed loop recycling) or new ones (open loop recycling) - see designing products for end-of-life treatment.

How is remanufacturing different to product reuse?

Reuse is a process by which whole products, or parts of whole products, are used again in one piece. This includes:

  • straight reuse - probably by someone else and in a different way
  • refurbishment - for example by cleaning or lubricating the product
  • repair - fixing a fault
  • redeployment and cannibalisation - using working parts elsewhere