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Ecodesign for remanufacturing

Energy, Materials, Water, Waste, Carbon
All manufacturing industries, Manufacturing of machinery and equipment
Medium cost
Annual saving:
30 - 40 %
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Resource savings: Raw material:
The remanufacturing of a product means saving 30-90 % input material compared to the manufacturing of a completely new product. Moreover, remanufacturing has the ability to keep raw materials with high economic value and supply risk (critical materials).
Resource savings: Energy:
Up to 85 % energy can be saved by remanufacturing a product. However, in some cases the energy consumption in a remanufacturing process is higher than in the manufacturing process.
Resource savings: Water:
30-90% water can be saved through remanufacturing.
Resource savings: Waste:
Remanufacturing minimises up to 90 % waste and avoids sending valuable resources to landfill.
The profitability of remanufacturing depends on the increase in the value of the product and the costs related to the process, therefore the return on investment differs.
Total cost savings:
Remanufacturing can be 30-40 % cheaper than manufacturing thanks to savings in the consumption of raw material, energy and water, and savings related to waste management costs. Nevertheless, some aspects have to be considered when comparing the economic benefits of manufacturing and remanufacturing. While manufacturing may achieve higher revenue for the sold products, it implies higher costs for procuring the raw materials. As for remanufacturing, costs can be saved by reducing resource consumption and in cases where the remanufactured product is better than the original, it can be sold at a higher price. However, there are other costs in product remanufacturing that have to be considered, like the costs related to the reverse logistics and to the contracting of highly skilled employees.
Co2 emission reduction:
GHG emissions can be 30-70 % lower in a remanufacturing process than in the manufacturing of new products. For example, the remanufacturing of a cylinder head has a Global Warming Potential 70 times lower than manufacturing a new one.
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design, Production processes, Waste and recycling
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
What is in it for you:
Ecodesign optimises the remanufacturing process, thus saving resources, money and time.
Descriptive information:

Remanufacturing is the process of returning a product or component to a state of quality equivalent or superior to that of the original product. After the product is discarded by its user and picked up by the remanufacturer, a diagnosis establishes if the product is suitable for a remanufacturing process. Next, after the disassembly, a thorough inspection is done of each component. Damaged pieces are repaired, and parts that are operational but could fail in the short term are repaired or replaced. After an aesthetic renovation to make the product look ‘like new’, there may be an update phase to improve the performance of the product with respect to the original. Finally, the product is reassembled and tested to ensure its performance is at least as good as the original product.

Product design plays a significant role in determining the ease with which a product can be remanufactured. The product should be carefully designed to ensure the recovery is as efficient and profitable as possible. These are the ecodesign strategies that optimise product remanufacturing:
Design for maintenance and repair: use parts that can be easily and separately replaced, enable easy access to parts that may break down or need maintenance, and provide information for correct maintenance and repair.
Design for durability: use durable materials and finishes, employ technology whose operation is stable or not likely to change in the short-medium term, and use a solid structure.
Design for disassembly: minimise the number of parts/components, use connections that allow easy exchange of parts, provide information for correct disassembly, and design the product taking into account the tools that are going to be needed.
Design for standardisation: ensure stability over time in the prescription of standard components, unify the type of joints, and make accessories, spare parts, connectors and consumables compatible for different products of the same family.
Design for diagnosis: enable access to useful information about the life of the product that allows traceability, develop and implement formats that facilitate the diagnosis, and develop and continuously improve the technical knowledge of the people in charge of the diagnosis and the subsequent process of revalorisation.
Design for cleaning: use materials and adapt the structure of the product to facilitate cleaning, and design the product taking into account the cleaning tools that will be needed.
Design for aesthetic renovation: use smooth surfaces to prevent the accumulation of dirt and facilitate cleaning, avoid corners and cavities that are not accessible, and use materials which are resistant to repeated processes of washing, polishing, painting, etc.
Design for thorough inspection: make lists of components with a higher failure rate and their location, define the difference between the normal state of the product and the state before failure, and facilitate remote inspection whenever possible.
Design for update: standardise the pieces and closures (size/shape) between product lines and over time to facilitate exchange or replacement, promote ease of access to parts that may become obsolete, and provide information for a correct update.
Design for modularity: subdivide the product into smaller functional parts.


European Remanufacturing Network (ERN), Remanufacturing Market Study, November 2015, A report for the European Commission under Horizon 2020, http://www.remanufacturing.eu/assets/pdfs/remanufacturing-market-study.pdf

European Remanufacturing Network (ERN), Map of Remanufacturing Processes Landscape (D3.3 – D3.4), June 2016, A report for the European Commission under Horizon 2020,

Ihobe, Environmental Management Agency (2017), Ideas notebook #15: Ecodesign for product recovery. Basque Ecodesign Center,

Ihobe, Environmental Management Agency (2018), Practical guide of technologies for the remanufacturing process. Mondragon University. REMACOMPIND Project – Remanufacturing of industrial components,

Ihobe, Environmental Management Agency (2018), La gestión de operaciones logístico productivas de un sistema de remanufactura. Mondragon University. REMACOMPIND Project – Remanufacturing of industrial components,

Reman, re[value]manufacturing, http://www.remanufacturing.fr/en/

Smith, V.M. and Keoleian, G.A. (2004), The Value of Remanufactured Engines: Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Perspectives, Journal of Industrial Ecology, 8(1-2): 193-221.

Further Information

CEN/CLC/JTC 10 - Energy-related products - Material Efficiency Aspects for Ecodesign. Under development, due to be completed in 2019

European Remanufacturing Network (ERN), Map of Remanufacturing Business Model Landscape, May 2016, A report for the European Commission under Horizon 2020,

Hatcher, G.D., Ijomah, W.L., and Windmill, J.F.C. (2011), Design for remanufacture: a literature review and future research needs, Journal of Cleaner Production, 19(17-18): 2004-2014.

ISO 14009 - Guidelines for incorporating redesign of products and components to improve material circulation, due to be completed in 2020

Matsumoto, M., Yang, S., Martinsen, K., and Kainuma, Y. (2016), Trends and Research Challenges in Remanufacturing. International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing-Green Technology, 3(1): 129-142

Mondragon University (2017), Remanufactura, selección de tecnologías y gestión de operaciones logística-productivas. REMACOMPIND Project – Remanufacturing of industrial components,  http://bem2017.basqueecodesigncenter.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/P1-A...

Priyono, A., Ijomah, W.L. and Bititci, U.S. (2015), Strategic operations framework for disassembly in remanufacturing. Journal of Remanufacturing, 5(1): 11

Zero Waste Scotland (2015), Circular Economy Evidence Building Programme, Remanufacturing Study

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