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Toward Lean Remanufacturing: Challenges and Improvements in Material and Information Flows
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Remanufacturing is an environmentally sound material recovery option which is essential to compete for sustainable manufacturing. The aim with remanufacturing at a majority of companies is to prolong physical product performance by delivering the same or betterthan-original product quality. In general, remanufacturing is an industrial process that brings used products back to useful life by requiring less effort than is demanded by the initial production process. Consequently, from a product life-cycle perspective, remanufacturing generates great product value.

Remanufacturers lag behind manufacturers since they often face complex and unpredictable material and information flows. Based on a review of remanufacturing research, remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows can be classified into three groups: insufficient product quality, long and unstable process lead times, and an unpredictable level of inventory. While some remanufacturing researchers state that manufacturing and remanufacturing are significantly different, they have more in common than many other processes operations. Therefore, to sustain competitive remanufacturing, companies investigate an opportunity for improvement through the employment of lean production that generates significant benefits for manufacturers.

In order to investigate the potential to address remanufacturing challenges by lean production, a Minimum time for material and information flow analysis (MiniMifa) method was developed. This method originates from the value stream mapping (VSM) method, broadly practiced to bring lean to manufacturing companies. The focus of MiniMifa was to collect empirical data on the identified groups of remanufacturing challenges from the remanufacturing perspective, and to provide a basis for the development of improvements originating from lean principles.

Lean production was selected for this research due to its system perspective on material and information flows. Among the defined lean principles in remanufacturing, a pull principle was investigated at the case companies. The suggested principle demonstrated a reduction in lead time, followed by improvements in inventory level and product quality. However, in order to become lean, remanufacturers have to overcome three levels of lean remanufacturing challenges: external and internal challenges as well as lean wastes.

Finally, this research reduces the gap between academia and industry by contributing with a possible solution to the identified remanufacturing challenges in material and information flows.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. , 72 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1718
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118280DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-118280ISBN: 978-91-7519-045-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-118280DiVA: diva2:813856
Presentation
2015-06-10, Industriell produktions seminarierum, A-huset, ingång 15 B, plan 3, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2016-04-12Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Minimum Time for Material and Information Flows Analysis at a Forklift Truck Remanufacturer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Minimum Time for Material and Information Flows Analysis at a Forklift Truck Remanufacturer
2014 (English)In: Proceedingsof Sixth Swedish Production Symposium (SPS14), 2014Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Material and information flows are often complex at remanufacturing companies. Minimum time for Material and Information Flows Analysis (MiniMifa) is a data collection workshop in which material and information flows’ challenges and improvement opportunities are investigated. By carrying the idea of Value Stream Mapping (VSM), MiniMifa turns to an act of cartography of industrial processes. After the workshop, companies have a holistic view of their processes, the current “pains” - challenges, and possible “painkillers” – improvement ideas, including lean-inspired solutions.

This paper demonstrates a pilot MiniMifa at a forklift truck remanufacturer where a potential improvement in e.g. lead time reduction by 93% was discovered.

Keyword
Remanufacturing, Lean, Material and Information Flows, Data collection workshop, Process map
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118270 (URN)
Conference
Sixth Swedish Production Symposium (SPS14), September 16-18, 2014
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved
2. Toward Pull Remanufacturing: A Case Study on Material and Information Flow Uncertainties at a German Engine Remanufacturer
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Toward Pull Remanufacturing: A Case Study on Material and Information Flow Uncertainties at a German Engine Remanufacturer
2015 (English)In: Procedia CIRP, ISSN 2212-8271, E-ISSN 2212-8271, Vol. 26, 270-275 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Abstract Together with reuse and material recycling, remanufacturing has emerged as a sustainable approach for used products. Remanufacturing is more complex than manufacturing, due to the uncertainties in material and information flows inside the remanufacturing facility and along the product life-cycle. Therefore, some remanufacturers intend to use lean production principles and philosophies to deal with this complexity and to improve their operations. The aim of this paper is to identify reasons for possible material and information flow uncertainties and develop lean-inspired solution at a German engine remanufacturer. The empirical data were collected via a Material and Information Flow Analysis workshop. The reasons for missing, late, defective and non-available spare parts as well as disrupted, uneven, chaotic and inaccessible information flows are identified. Finally, a lean pull Kanban reordering system is suggested and recognized to be a proper solution to remanufacturing complexity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
Keyword
Remanufacturing, Product life-cycle, Lean, Pull, Kanban
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-118272 (URN)10.1016/j.procir.2014.07.187 (DOI)000360931800048 ()
Conference
12th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing - Emerging Potentials, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 22–24 September 2014
Available from: 2015-05-25 Created: 2015-05-25 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
3. Challenges and Opportunities of Lean Remanufacturing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Challenges and Opportunities of Lean Remanufacturing
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Automation Technology, ISSN 1881-7629, E-ISSN 1883-8022, Vol. 8, no 5, 644-652 p.Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Lean philosophy, which promotes business excellence through continuous improvement, originates from the Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota’s Production System (TPS). An area where lean has not been fully explored is remanufacturing, a process that brings used products back to useful life. Remanufacturing is often a more complex process than manufacturing due to the uncertainty of process steps/time and part quality/quantity. This study explored remanufacturing by identifying its challenges and opportunities in becoming lean. The challenges of a lean remanufacturing system do not exceed its advantages. Although some researchers state that it is difficult or even impossible to apply lean principles to remanufacturing, this research utilizes lean as a continuous improvement philosophy that focuses on improving the remanufactured products’ quality, process lead times, and inventory levels. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Fuji Technology Press, 2014
Keyword
lean, remanufacturing, product life cycle, continuous improvement
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-120764 (URN)
Projects
ÅterProdukt, KEAP
Funder
VINNOVA
Available from: 2015-08-24 Created: 2015-08-24 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved

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