A novel pre-processing inspection methodology to enhance productivity in automotive product remanufacture : an industry-based research of 2196 engines

Ridley, Sara and Ijomah, Winifred (2015) A novel pre-processing inspection methodology to enhance productivity in automotive product remanufacture : an industry-based research of 2196 engines. Journal of Remanufacturing, 5 (8). ISSN 2210-4690 (https://doi.org/10.1186/s13243-015-0017-4)

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Remanufacture, a process of returning used products to “as-new” condition with matching guarantee, is commercially viable where the remaining value in the used product and the final selling price are much higher than the cost of the products’ rebuilding. Typical examples include large, complex mechanical and electromechanical assemblies due to their high initial purchase price, long lives and resistance to fashion. Remanufacturing is often a more efficient reuse strategy than recycling because it reduces landfill and the use of virgin material in production. Moreover by significantly lowering raw material production and the subsequent processes involved in “new” manufacture it decreases the amount of energy used in manufacturing; all resulting in increased profits for the manufacturer. There remain barriers to remanufacturing particularly around the paucity of research into the field. Guide identified that remanufacturers perceive the scarcity of effective remanufacturing tools and techniques as a key threat to the industry whilst Ijomah assessed the key remanufacturing issues on a five-point scale ranging from “Not Significant through to “Critical”. Component inspection was the only issue rated as “critical” by all remanufacturers. Personal experience in the industry added to the analysis and observation of the remanufacturing process during this research has shown that component inspection has significant bearing on overall productivity; but is undertaken in a hap-hazard manner based almost purely on experience and guesswork and lacks proper methodologies and tools. This paper presents the results of quantitative research, conducted in a Caterpillar UK Remanufacturing facility, to establish the relationship between pre-processing inspection and the subsequent remanufacturing process time for returned cores (used products). It concludes that for components having either complex geometry (such as internal ports), a large number of sub-components or that are constructed from, or comprising of, multiple materials, the remanufacturing process is shortened by increased inspection prior to processing. Keywords: Remanufacturing, pre-processing, inspection methodology