Denise Rondini

Denise Rondini

For years there has been confusion around the term remanufacturing, making it difficult for fleets to make decisions about buying reman parts. Recently, however, six leading associations with members in the automotive sector reached agreement on both the term remanufacturing and core.

Here’s what they agreed to:

Remanufacturing is a standard 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.

A core is a previously sold, worn or non-functional product or part, intended for the remanufacturing process. During reverse logistics, a core is protected, handled and identified for manufacturing to avoid damage and to preserve its value. A core is not waste or scrap and is not intended to be reused before remanufacturing.

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems’ director of remanufacturing, Henry Foxx, sees the agreement as “the first step in providing the fleet owner or manager a criteria to distinguish between various supplier offerings of replacement products. This terminology gives fleet owners or managers the insight they need to ask the right questions of potential suppliers to ensure their products have gone through rigorous remanufacturing processes. With this knowledge, fleet owners can have confidence in the performance of the remanufactured product they select.”

He adds that without a common definition of remanufactured products, products with different quality levels could be grouped together, causing confusion in the marketplace. “There has long been concern around rebuilders offering products locally or sourcing products globally that do not provide the same performance and durability, of a remanufactured product, but still being perceived as a remanufactured product by the marketplace.”

John Chalifoux, president and COO of Motor & Equipment Remanufacturers Association, says, “In three words, the parties agree that [remanufacturing] is a standardized industrial process. By extension, remanufacturing occurs in a factory setting, just like new manufacturing, and it has more in common with new manufacturing than it does with any other process.”

Historically, there have been two problems plaguing the remanufacturing industry, explains Matthew Colwell, business development and marketing strategy manager, Eaton – Vehicle Group, Global Aftermarket. The first is how a reman product differs from a repaired product. “At first glance, a customer cannot see the condition of the inside of the service unit. Did the rebuilder only replace the failed components, or was every component inspected to ensure the product meets the latest OE specifications? By linking the remanufacturing definition to a standard process with a ‘same-as-new’ requirement, we can provide the customer with a sense of the quality of the service unit they are purchasing.”

The second problem is the fact that some governments restrict the free movement of reman product and cores across international borders for fear that waste dumping may occur. He says this is far from true and adds that a reman product and core both have value when a remanufacturing process is employed. “By standardizing definitions, we can move one step closer to true global distribution of remanufactured product. The recognition of the benefits of reman and the value of a core can lead to future discussions around the free movement of cores in and out of markets. When the industry and governments agree that a core has value, we can begin to change the discussion to how we can leverage the value in the core globally.”

In addition to MERA, other parties to the agreement are Automotive Parts Remanufacturers Association, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers European Organization of Engine Remanufacture, Automotive Parts Remanufacturers National Association, and Remanufacture Committee of China.