Remanufacturing: Sustainable by Definition. Responsible by Design.

Monday, October 28, 2019

By John Chalifoux, President and COO, MERA, The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing

Remanufacturing can be simply defined as “manufacturing with reuse.” It is a manufacturing process that starts with original products, reuses key components, and yields finished goods that are “like new but better” than the originals. The finished goods — after going through a standardized industrial process a second time — have like-new quality, offer better value, and are better for the environment. Remanufacturing is an eco-friendly industry that has been around for decades. In addition to offering outstanding quality, it is known for conserving materials and energy, and reducing landfill waste.

Different industry sectors use different terms to identify the remanufacturing process. For instance, in the automotive and commercial vehicle sectors, the term is remanufacturing; in aviation and aerospace, the reference is maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO); and for medical devices, consumer goods and electronics, the term is refurbishing. (All of the above italicized terms are forms of sustainable manufacturing.)

Examples of goods that go through the sustainable manufacturing process include vehicle parts, aircraft engines, MRI machines, electronic modules, and mobile phones. In general, the process uses up to 85% less energy, water and raw materials as compared to new manufacturing. For example, the energy saved by remanufacturing just one heavy-duty lift-truck axle can power a single-family home for three years.

AAPEX is a great place to see and experience the latest in remanufacturing. Many exhibitors throughout the show remanufacture automotive parts, and they display their expertise in their booths. AAPEX also includes a dedicated Remanufacturing Section — look for the green carpet — and an AAPEXedu session specific to remanufacturing, ”Innovative End-of-Life Strategies for Emerging Technologies in a Changing World,” on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. Stop by either or both to learn more about the economic, environmental, and product performance benefits of remanufacturing and similar forms of sustainable manufacturing. To attend, register now as AAPEX 2019 is just around the corner.

No matter the industry, for generations to come, all manufacturing will be driven to reuse as much as possible. Sustainable manufacturing companies are doing it today, using this tried-and-true process of “manufacturing with reuse.” Going forward, remanufacturing and similar forms of sustainable manufacturing will play a more vital role in the circular economy. It truly is a process that is sustainable by definition and responsible by design.

Below is additional information about the Sustainable Manufacturing symbol and Manufactured Again Certification

A New Symbol for Sustainable Manufacturing
“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” has been in the public lexicon for years, yet it does not fully capture one very viable solution to today’s environmental challenges. In response, a new symbol for sustainable manufacturing was born. It looks familiar because it is the recycling symbol with an extra arrow. Sustainable manufacturing is destined to play a more vital role in advancing a global circular economy, and the remanufacturing of existing products should occur before traditional recycling. “Reduce. Reuse. Remanufacture. Recycle.” Learn more at Sustainable

Manufactured Again Certification
Manufactured Again Certification is where new manufacturing and sustainable manufacturing meet the same international quality standards. The program — based on ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 — also promotes corporate social responsibility, particularly environmental stewardship. Look for the Certification Mark on select product packaging. Show your support of the circular economy! Learn more at