Remanufacturing technologies and challenges span a broad range of areas including:
- Material Assessment & Repair
- Non-Destructive Inspection
- Remanufacturing Processes
- Reverse Logistics
- Business Models
- Design for Remanufacture
- Additive Manufacturing
Through industry site visits, landscape analysis and SIR events, the following areas have been identified as challenges for remanufacturing:
New Technologies for Remanufacture
How can processes be made faster and their costs reduced?
Automate manual processes for measuring wear and material condition on mechanical parts as well as that for the functional performance of mechatronic systems.
Understand how assessment results can be digitally integrated into a remanufacture planning system that defines all the subsequent processes and their scheduling requirements.
Investigate how information obtained at earlier stages of remanufacture can be used to achieve the extreme flexibility required in disassembly and assembly during remanufacture. The flexibility required here includes the ability to cope with the intense variability in remanufacture environments.
Investigate i) novel high speed, low energy ‘material addition’ technologies for mechanical and automotive applications and ii) opportunities to exploit emerging academic work on automated fault finding for electrical and mechatronic systems.
Undertake fundamental work to quantify the performance of remanufactured systems in order to provide robust foundations for quality standards.
Information and Tools
How is remanufacture data managed and analysed?
Investigate methods for fast and accurate identification of products as part of a process to access the functional specifications required to support remanufacture processes and planning.
Establish the requirements and software mechanisms for the controlled dissemination of the proprietary information needed to support efficient remanufacture and meet emerging legislative requirements.
Opportunity to model the activity associated with a product/service after the point of sale with the ultimate goal to optimize aftermarket activity (saving money and environmental resources).
Act as a conduit for the deployment of state-of-the-art prognostic technologies on the shop floor of remanufacture operations.
When is it worth remanufacturing?
Robust processes are required to enable consumers and producers to understand the environmental advantages/disadvantages of remanufacturing. We aim to undertake case study validations of methodologies and tools to assess the environmental implications of remanufacture processes relative to new components. The case studies will be based on industrial partners’ components.
Establish methodologies to aggregate environmental and monetary costs of parts/products across multiple re-use cycles and explore trade-offs between alternative objectives.
New Business Models
What is the best approach to the new business models?
- Reverse logistics is required to return the used products to the remanufacturer. Compared to conventional manufacturing this is more complex due to both the uncertainty of supply and variability in the quality of the products returned.
- The marketing strategy needs to address the negative market perceptions and attitudes towards remanufactured goods.
- Remanufacturing enables a shift away from a traditional focus on selling products to new business models that provide a service.