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European Remanufacturing Network launched

May 27, 2015

The network (ERN) is a European Commission project aimed at “boost[ing] remanufacturing activities throughout Europe”.ernlogo

The network is a €1.5 million ($1.6 million) project launched by the European Commission (EC) to “boost remanufacturing activities throughout Europe”, as well as “contribute to a resource-efficient Europe”. In an introductory press release, the ERN stated that the “impact” of its efforts on the European economy “is expected to be significant” due to “the value of remanufacturing [being] calculated to be between £2.4 billion ($3.6 billion/€3.3 billion) and £5.6 billion ($8.5 billion/€7.9 billion) in the UK alone”.

The ERN is funded by the Horizon 2020 framework programme of the European Union, and managed by an “international consortium of remanufacturing experts”, including the universities of Strathclyde in Scotland, Fraunhofer in Germany, and Linköping in Sweden; VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, Grenoble INP in France and Delft University of Technology and Circle Economy in the Netherlands.

As well as “considering the thousands of jobs created” through remanufacturing, the ERN intends to “achieve its ambitious goals through encouraging new businesses to take up remanufacturing, helping existing remanufacturers improve their operations, improving competitiveness of remanufacturers domestically and internationally, and increasing public awareness of remanufacturing and with policy makers to increase demand and address barriers”.

Noting that Europe is “in danger of falling behind” other regions in remanufacturing, the ERN has also launched a market study to help prospective remanufacturers and existing remanufacturers. This survey aims to map “the challenges of remanufacturing business models, innovative product design and processing approaches”, and this initial survey is “investigating the current size and structure of the European remanufacturing industry in key market sectors”.

One “key outcome” of the project will be the development of a European Remanufacturing Council (ERC), which will be industry-led and “provide support for remanufacturers from across the manufacturing landscape”. The aim of the council will be to “provide a unified voice for remanufacturers to European policy makers”, and its “shape and scope” will be “defined throughout the project”, with a launch planned for 2016.

The ERN asked remanufacturers to join up, as “central to the success of the project is the engagement with the remanufacturing industry”, and “participation of remanufacturers in relevant parts of the project will ensure that the outcomes are industry-focused and provide the best available information”. Those interested in joining the network can complete the study or visit the network’s website at www.remanufacturing.eu.

Oakdene Hollins’ Ben Walsh, which manages the Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse and is leading the project, stated: “For the past two years, we have argued that the Chinese state, the US Department for Commerce and the South Korean Government have each been investing in their remanufacturing industries – and that Europe was in danger of falling behind.

“This project will provide a springboard to ensure that European remanufacturers remain competitive in the global market, safeguarding European jobs, limiting our exposure to critical raw materials and improving the European trade balance.”

David Parker, who is leading this stage of the project, added: “We are interested in both the current as well as the future potential social, economic and environmental benefits of remanufacturing in Europe. Currently we are requesting remanufacturers throughout Europe to complete our market study survey to become part of the network.”

Oakdene Hollins was awarded the right to lead the project in its early stages in September 2014, stating that Europe “may be in danger of falling behind” other regions and nations in remanufacturing.

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