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A network model to assist ‘design for remanufacture’ integration into the design process

Hatcher, G.D. and Ijomah, W.I. and Windmill, J.F.C. (2014) A network model to assist ‘design for remanufacture’ integration into the design process. Journal of Cleaner Production, 64. pp. 244-253. ISSN 0959-6526

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Abstract

Remanufacturing is the process of returning a used product to a like-new condition with a warranty to match. It is widely recognised as an environmentally preferable end-of-life strategy for many products, as it is a process that saves materials from landfill and retains more intrinsic energy than similar end-of-life strategies such as recycling or repair. The concept of ‘design for remanufacture’ (DfRem) originates from the understanding that decisions made during the design process may have a considerable effect upon the efficiency and effectiveness of the remanufacturing process. Much of the DfRem literature to date has focused upon the identification of technical DfRem factors (such as material choice or fastening methods), and the subsequent development of design methods and tools. However, the literature has overlooked how DfRem practices may be integrated into a company design process, and has not considered the operational factors that may influence DfRem integration decision-making and practice. This paper presents the findings from industrial case study research with three original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from the UK mechanical industry sector. The research has identified significant external and internal operational factors that influence DfRem integration, including management commitment, OEM-remanufacturer relationships and designer motivation. This paper also presents a ‘DfRem integration network model’ which maps the identified relationships between the various operational factors, providing practitioners with an enhanced understanding of DfRem and a portfolio of options when seeking to integrate DfRem into the design process.