Speaking exclusively to edie, and reported via the edie newsroom, Innovate UK's resource efficiency lead technologist Nick Cliffe said that resource-heavy industries should embrace remanufacturing as a way of creating more resilient business models and moving towards a global circular economy.

"Remanufacturing can, could and should play a big part in every large-scale heavy industry approach to how they do business," Cliffe said. "Where you operate in the UK, you have strengths and weaknesses. Personally I feel that for us to compete globally in terms of businesses related to raw materials, we have to be smarter. We have to capitalise on the technology we have available. The academic rigour and expertise that we can bring to bear on developing new business models and new processes to help keep us competitive and keep improving productivity."

According to Cliffe, there are many barriers to overcome. "Within the UK, I think we need to think carefully about how we might fund businesses to move to the remanufacturing model, how we might empower them to do it," he said. "I definitely think we need to work on our basic skills and make sure that the right workforce capabilities are there to support the development of these businesses.

"Where Innovate UK comes in, there's definitely the need for specific technologies to be developed to facilitate these high value manufacturing approaches."

"What's most important is that remanufacturing is no longer being viewed as niche," Cliffe said. "You've got start-up companies who are building their whole business around remanufacturing. You also have giant global multinational companies that are delivering, developing and utilising remanufacturing as part of their overall product.

"For me the biggest change is the fact that everyone from the smallest SME to the biggest multinational is recognising the possibility. Attitude shift is the key thing; the technology will follow," he said.

According to Cliffe, the total global market for remanufactured products could be worth up to £70bn – while the European sector could triple by 2030. "Through using innovative business models like retaining and reusing the materials within the product supplied, businesses can strengthen their market position and fend off competition from bigger, better funded and just as technically astute competitors," he said.

Note: A podcast series based on interviews with edie Live speakers is due to be launched on edie later this week. To find out more, visit the edie newsroom. The original news article on Nick Cliffe's talk can be accessed from the 'External Link' below.

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