Remanufacturability

Remanufacturing is an industrial process that restores worn products to like-new condition. In a factory, a retired product is first completely disassembled. Its usable parts are then cleaned, refurbished, and put into inventory. Finally, a new product is reassembled from both old and new parts, creating a unit equal in performance and expected life to the original or currently available alternative. In contrast, a repaired or rebuilt product usually retains its identity, and only those parts that have failed or are badly worn are replaced.

Industrial equipment or other expensive products not subject to rapid change are the best candidates for re-manufacturing.

Designs must be easy to take apart if they are to be re-manufactured. Adhesives, welding, and some fasteners can make this process impossible. Critical parts must be designed to survive normal wear. Extra material should be present on used parts to allow refinishing. Care in selecting materials and arranging parts also helps to reduce excessive damage during use. Design continuity increases the number of interchangeable parts between different models in the same product line. Common parts make re-manufacturing products easier.

For example, a midwestern manufacturer could not afford to replace its thirteen aging plastic molding machines with new models, so it chose to remanufacture eight mold-ers for one-third the cost of new machines. The company also bought one new machine at the same time. The re-manufactured machines increased efficiency by 10 to 20% and decreased scrap output by 9% compared to the old equipment; performance was equal to the new molder. Even with updated controls, operator familiarity with the remanufactured machines and use of existing foundations and plumbing further reduced the cost of the remanufac-tured molders.

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