News: USA - Remanufacturing Analysis and Improvement
Enhancing the Quality and Efficiency of Remanufacturing at The Pollution Prevention Institute.
Thursday, 28th August 2008
Given the ubiquitous presence of printers and copiers in our society and the steady growth of electronic waste, the importance of developing verifiable and repeatable processes to enhance the remanufacture and reuse of components associated with this equipment can not be overstated. An RIT research team investigated the reusability of various components in printer cartridges as well as the possible use of signature analysis to more accurately analyze component condition. Signature analysis refers to the process that is used to determine the remaining useful life of a component from a specific set of characteristics (i.e. "signature") that the component demonstrates. As a simple example, an electric motor might generate a specific noise pattern as it ages. By comparing the noise pattern of a specific motor to a table of noise patterns generated from motors of varying ages, the remaining useful life of that motor can be estimated. Returning to the remanufacturing analysis project, the RIT study showed that various components could be used for multiple life cycles if the quality of individual parts could be properly assessed. In response, RIT engineers designed and developed two patented testing devices, the Wiper Blade Edge Analyzer and the OPC Drum Life Cycle Analyzer, which greatly enhance the speed, efficiency and quality of component assessment within the remanufacturing process. In partnership with Optical Technologies Corporation of Long Island City, New York, both devices have been commercialized and are being utilized by remanufacturers throughout the world. The Wiper Blade Edge Analyzer alone has recovered over 2 million blades since 2004, diverting 600 tons of metal and urethane from landfills. Due to this success, the team received the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable's 2006 MVP2 award. This project was funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Management Investment Group (EMIG).