As interest in remanufacturing continues to grow, there’s also an increased focus on establishing a common definition of just what “reman” means, and backing up that definition with worldwide standards to make sure fleets and owner-operators know just what they’re getting when they look to remanufactured parts.
We’ve addressed commercial vehicle industry confusion over reman versus rebuild elsewhere here on the Knowledge Dock™, but in this instance, we’re looking at the much bigger picture of the global remanufacturing landscape – which will have a direct impact on reman trucking solutions in North America.
Last September, a half-dozen international remanufacturing organizations – including the Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association (MERA), of which Bendix is a member – announced that they’d agreed upon a few basic definitions to strengthen the industry and help raise awareness. Sounds simple enough, perhaps, but this effort was years in the making, and required cooperation across continents.
Here are the two key definitions they developed:
- Remanufacturing Process: Remanufacturing is a standardized industrial process by which cores are returned to same-as-new or better, condition and performance. The process is in line with specific technical specifications, including engineering, quality, and testing standards. The process yields fully warranted products. (An “industrial process” is further defined as an established process, which is fully documented, and capable of fulfilling the requirements established by the remanufacturer.)
- Core: A core is a previously sold, worn, or nonfunctional product or part, intended for the remanufacturing process. During reverse logistics, a core is protected, handled, and identified for remanufacturing to avoid damage and to preserve its value. A core is not waste or scrap and is not intended to be reused before remanufacturing.
Both of those build, to some degree, on an existing definition that European remanufacturing associations had previously established:
- Remanufactured Part: A remanufactured part fulfills a function which is at least equivalent compared to the original part. It is restored from an existing part (core) using standardized industrial processes in line with specific technical specifications. A remanufactured part is given the same warranty as a new part and it clearly identifies the part as remanufactured and states the remanufacturer.
So, what are the ramifications here in North America? Here’s what MERA president and chief operating officer John Chalifoux said in a press release about the announcement: “The increased use of remanufactured products around the world is accelerating an international drive towards a circular economy. Today’s announcement of a common understanding among the associations will further help the industry communicate the quality, value, and sustainability benefits of remanufactured goods.”
Remanufactured components help reduce replacement costs and extend vehicle life – all while retaining the quality of original equipment parts and reducing environmental impact. And among those noticing are governments, including ours here in the United States, which passed a law in October 2015 requiring federal agencies to prioritize the use of remanufactured automobile parts to maintain federally owned vehicles, as long as doing so reduces costs without delaying the return of vehicles to service, or reducing the quality of vehicle performance.
Again, though: With increased interest and adoption comes the need for well-stated and recognized remanufacturing standards and practices – which is why MERA launched its “Manufactured Again” certification program in November 2016. Through it, remanufacturers can certify that their process meets a level of quality management standards – including ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 – typically associated with new manufacturing. (We’ll cover this in more detail in a future post.)
Only true remanufacturers like Bendix bring components back to original performance specs – and in some cases, even improve a component to meet a current OE spec level. With a long legacy as an OE manufacturer, and more than four decades of remanufacturing expertise, Bendix keenly understands the value of these reman processes, and the importance of holding them to high standards. With reliability, performance – and ultimately, safety – at stake, we’ll keep leading efforts to educate the industry, and spotlighting remanufacturing that’s on a completely different level from simple component rebuilding or other aftermarket manufacturing efforts.
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