Remanufacturing is the process in which discarded products are restored to like-new condition in a factory environment. This normally involves recovering, reconditioning, repairing and reassembling useable parts to produce a unit that works as well as the original product.

Remanufacturing creates more jobs than normal manufacturing as it requires products to be disassembled as well as assembled, doubling the labour requirement. However, the additional labour is more than paid for by the significant savings in raw material costs and remanufactured products typically sell for 40-60% cheaper than the equivalent new ones. Many global brands such as Renault, Caterpillar, Kodak, and Cisco now have remanufactured product lines.

Renault's Circular Economy Re-Factory

At a factory just outside Paris, Renault restore engine parts reclaimed from old cars, to a condition that is as close to its original state and characteristics as possible.

The refurbished parts are 40% less expensive than brand new parts, but undergo the same quality control tests. Since 2012, the volume of engine parts that have been given a second life through remanufacturing is quite significant:

Gearboxes > 112, 000, 60% of components renovated.

Engines > 73, 000, 60 to 70% of components renovated.

Turbos > 50, 000, 40% of components renovated.

Injectors > 94, 000 (since 2010)

Renault customers benefit not only from cheaper warranted parts, but are also able to prolong the use of their vehicle, by accessing spare parts which might otherwise have been discontinued.

For the company, the remanufacturing approach is good for business: generating revenues of nearly €120 million in 2019. Also, importantly, remanufacturing supports a skilled workforce and benefits the local economy where the plant is located.

The environmental benefits are significant. Typical savings from the production of a remanufactured part are:

  • 80% less energy
  • 88% less water
  • 92% less chemical products
  • 70% less waste

Circular Computing

Circular Computing are a Portsmouth based company that remanufacture ICT equipment to a BSI Kitemark standard that certifies products 'equal to or better than new'.

Their website claims that each remanufactured laptop saves approximately 316kg (700lb) of CO2 emissions and can be up to 40% cheaper than equivalent new models.

The company also provides a ‘Remanufacturing As A Service” which prolongs the life of existing laptop estates by remanufacturing them back to new with warranty. They have provided laptops to many institutions and firms including Chichester High School, Balfour Beatty, and the Royal Mint

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