News: Remanufacturing can make economic sense & protect the environment
Enterprises of all sizes are increasingly taking part in the "go green" movement. Besides seeking ways to reduce data center power consumption, adopting more environmentally sound practices for equipment disposal is one way IT admins can play their part.
Friday, 15th February 2008
Processor.com reports that while most data center admins are aware of legal issues associated with just hauling old equipment to landfills, some might not be familiar with the different environmentally sound options available. Instead of just unloading equipment on recycling centers, admins may consider equipment reuse, demanufacturing (disassembling and recycling obsolete products), or resale. Remanufacturing firms will take your equipment and can often resell it after replacing defective components or upgrading it with new motherboards or other key parts so it can be reused. "Remanufacturing involves preparing an asset to be sold on a secondary market. The steps include transportation, evaluation, data wipe, repair, testing, and remarketing," says Chip Slack, chief executive officer of Intechra (www.intechra.com). "In terms of environmental management, remanufacturing and remarketing are preferable to recycling because it's always better to reuse and extend the life of equipment than to recycle and have to manufacture new equipment." According to Slack, in 2006 Intechra was able "to keep 50 million pounds of e-waste out of landfills through its remanufacturing, remarketing, and recycling efforts." The Process Remanufacturing firms assess data center equipment to determine whether your enterprise will need to pay for the removal service or will receive compensation. For functioning equipment, age, component types, and other variables are taken into account. Whether the remanufacturer bills you to remove the equipment from the data center or issues you a check depends on the resale value vs. the moving costs. As a rule of thumb, the value of equipment that is five years or older is very low, says Clifton McKay, director of operations for DMD Systems Recovery. "There is entry-level Pentium 4 equipment that we still pay for that might be five years old," McKay says. "But with anything five to eight years old, the pickup costs usually outweigh the costs of what we pay out." Once equipment is removed, the remanufacturing process involves test, repair, and inventory phases, McKay says. "During the testing phase, the equipment is run through a series of tests to make sure that it operates at the same or relatively equivalent levels to when it was manufactured. If the item passes the test, it is inventoried and marketed to end users and other companies throughout the world." If a system fails the initial round of testing, it is sent to a repair center to diagnose problems, McKay says. "When the problem is found, it is repaired and is tested for a second time. After passing the second round of testing, the item is inventoried and sold." Equipment that has been remanufactured can be remarketed through several channels, according to Intechra's Slack. "Some equipment goes back to the original owner for redeployment within their company, employee purchase programs, and charitable donations. Some is sold through Intechra's Web site at www.intechraoutlet.com," he says. "And some is sold in large quantities through dealers and brokers who provide it to schools, charitable organizations, and developing countries to raise the level of technology available to them. In many cases, the costs of the program to the original owner are defrayed because Intechra can share the revenue received by the remarketing of the equipment." Many data center managers might be surprised at the condition of used and dusty equipment that has been refurbished. Besides avoiding landfill waste by having equipment remanufactured, refurbished equipment from an established and credible vendor can also represent a purchase opportunity.