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The Technical University of Berlin Asks: How Sustainable is Your Remanufactured Parts Production?

Saturday, January 3, 2015  
Posted by: Kendall Parker
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How sustainable is your remanufactured parts production?


 "Industrial production is embedded in global value creation networks. It is inseparably connected with economic, environmental, and social paradigms. Within the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1026 “Sustainable Manufacturing – Shaping Global Value Creation”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 50 experts develop manufacturing solutions for tomorrow. The CRC’s ultimate goal is to generate prosperity for more people worldwide while at the same time reducing the overall consumption of resources. The researchers combine engineering, environmental and social sciences to create a holistic approach to modern manufacturing. Remanufacturers can exemplarily adapt these new solutions to improve economic, environmental and social impacts of their activities.

The results of the BRAGECRIM project – Brazilian-German Collaborative Research Initiative on Manufacturing Technology – between University of São Paulo (USP) and Technical University of Berlin (TUB) are perfectly illustrating the research perspective of value creation networks, adapted to the activity sector of remanufacturing. The project named “Networking of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for competitive remanufacturing” has the objective to facilitate remanufacturing in networks. Its main target is to provide a set of business models using a guideline structure to small and medium companies, active or interested by remanufacturing, in Brazil and Europe. Further collaboration has been carried upon with the Finnish DEMANET project – Dematerialization and sustainable competitiveness through New Models for Industrial Networking – carried by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Targeted results have been presented during the 2014 APRA Symposium in Milano Marittima, Italy, on April 22nd, 2014. For the development of future-proof technology involves estimating the extent of future needs, experts use scenario techniques to project current development trends into the future, factoring in a broad array of possible political, social, ecological and technological influences. At the same time scientists are working on giving sustainability ideas a specific engineering and economic cast. This is done by defining the criteria for sustainability and applying them to the organization of technical production for global value creation networks.

Early in the development phase, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) set product characteristics and parameters to define many properties of relevance to sustainability for the product’s whole lifecycle or multiple phases of use. CRC subproject B2 develops and implements concepts for energy and resource efficient manufacturing processes such as the use of the modern dry ice blasting cleaning technique to further reduce the need for and cost of chemical substances. Modularization and remanufacturing are also further researched for machine tools in the CRC subproject B5, where engineers focus on increasing the precision of old machines by fitting them with adaptronic components. The aim is to develop cost and resource saving concepts that improve and upgrade existing machines to promote sustainable manufacturing. Such a low cost method prolongs the lifecycle of existing machines and also opens the way to global value creation network for actors who lack the financial resources to buy new equipment.

Knowledge Transfer was anchored as a further key theme in the CRC research program from the very beginning. In this context the CRC approach is squarely over education and qualification for the broad masses with the aim of dramatically raising the level of teaching and learning about sustainable production across the whole world. An instantiation of knowledge dissemination is the 13th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing (GCSM,, to be held in Ho Chi Minh City / Binh Duong, Vietnam on 16th - 18th September, 2015. Chairman Professor Seliger emphasized the role of emerging countries for a sustainable development. Vietnam as one of the upcoming "factories of the world" has a special responsibility and should be enabled to a future industrial growth without having irresponsible resource consumption, environmental pollution and inadequate working conditions."

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