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Decision support for assessing the feasibility of a product for remanufacture

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posted on 15.06.2015, 10:15 by Paul A. Goodall
Remanufacturing is the process of restoring old, damaged and failed products to a condition as good as new . Whilst the practice of remanufacture has been conducted for almost a century, the attention it receives within mainstream business is increasing due to potential benefits associated with economic savings and reduced environmental impact. There are several challenges in operating a successful remanufacturing business, one of which is how to assess the feasibility of remanufacturing. Remanufacturing does not lend itself towards every product due to factors related to the product, process, market and business capabilities, therefore careful assessment should be conducted before taking on a remanufacturing endeavour. This thesis reports the research undertaken to aid decision makers assessing the feasibility of a product for remanufacture. The aim has therefore been to determine the requirements of assessing remanufacturing feasibility, then to develop a tool to support this activity. Requirements of the decision making process were established through a detailed review of the literature supplemented with additional interviews from remanufacturing businesses, whilst research gaps for support tools were identified through a systematic review of existing tools presented within academia. Through these reviews it was determined that current methods do not provide enough support in determining the impact of uncertainties found within remanufacturing against key assessment criteria, such as economic cost. Focus upon the tool development was therefore directed at estimating remanufacturing cost of a product under uncertain conditions. The tool was designed, utilising techniques such as Monte Carlo analysis, fuzzy sets and case based reasoning. A prototype of the tool was then implemented within an object oriented structure and deployed as web service. Testing and validation were conducted by demonstrating the functionality of the tool against a set of specification requirements, through two contrasting remanufacturing case studies identified within industry. In summary this research has developed a tool to support the assessment of remanufacturing viability through cost estimation under uncertain conditions, identifying requirements through a detailed literature review and interviews with industry and providing validation through two detailed case studies. The tool is novel in its ability to calculate both cost and the risk associated with the uncertainties present within the remanufacturing domain.





  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© P.A. Goodall

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.