Remade in Scotland

Remanufactured items are made to be as good, if not better, than the original.

The Scottish Institute for Remanufacture (SIR) has awarded nine projects with funding of £247,108 to help grow Scotland’s circular economy.

The projects see companies working with partner universities to develop innovative ways of reusing, repairing or remanufacturing high-value materials in their operations to reduce wastage.

The companies include are: CCL North, Kittiwig, The Turboguy, Eagleisystems, Glasgow Computer Recycling, Sims Recycling Solutions, Turner Wind Systems and Mackie Transmission Systems.

Based at the University of Strathclyde, it is the latest round of funding the SIR has awarded since its foundation in 2015 – the only facility of its kind in the UK. A total of 32 projects have received over £700,000, match-funded by the private sector participants.

The SIR has built a network of more than 40 companies which are making strides in remanufacturing to reduce waste and raw materials to become more competitive.

Circular economy

Remanufacturing describes a range of activities, whereby used products or components are rebuilt and returned to at least ‘as new’ quality and specification and are given the same or similar guarantees as equivalent new products. This is in-keeping with the concept of a ‘circular economy’ model which means re-using products and materials continually.

The drive to grow the circular economy in Scotland is a strategic goal of the Scottish Government, which published a strategy called Making Things Last in 2016.

Jacqueline Balfour, SIR, said:  “The projects funded by SIR represent the diversity of remanufacturing and reuse activity across Scotland. It is encouraging to see Scottish companies embrace the transition to a circular economy.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Reuse and remanufacturing activity is key to Scotland’s circular economy vision, and the work of the SIR delivers real-world circular economy business models that are transforming the way we do things.

This latest round of funding reinforces Scotland’s commitment to accelerating a more circular economy, and it’s great to see an increasing number of businesses realising the benefits.”

Examples of latest projects:

CCL North and Menzies: Menzies Distribution and CCL North were funded in the past from SIR for company specific projects. Now they have come together with Heriot Watt University to conduct a pilot study in Glasgow to investigate the feasibility of a secure collection system for small electrical and electronic equipment. The overall objective of this project is to investigate and quantify the economic attractiveness of the reverse logistics, re-use and recycling operations for small WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).

CCL North and Edinburgh University: The department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability at Edinburgh University conducted a pilot to create a process for the re-use of desktops PCs. Working with the Business School at Edinburgh University they will build on the success of this pilot to create a scalable process that can be applied to re-use a broader range of IT equipment and identify further opportunities for external re-use of equipment in partnership with CCL North. The goal is to apply the key lessons from this project across other educational institutions.

The Turboguy and DPF: The Turbo Guy, based in Pollokshaws Glasgow, specialises in the remanufacture of turbochargers and Diesel Particulate Filters. Heriot Watt University is working with The Turbo Guy (as it has done successfully in the past) to apply Circular Economy strategy and business models that enable growth of re-use and remanufacturing in the businesses and lead to a blue-print of remanufacturing based business models innovation and diversification for other companies.

Eagleisystems: EagleiSystems is a fast growing aerial survey company and manufacturer of high performance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle systems (drones) who have completed survey projects for oganisations like Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Agency and RTS Forestry. By applying the remanufacturing concept to the UAV the life of the product will be extended, waste minimized and the company will benefit from a more competitive business model. The University of Strathclyde is working with EagleiSystems  to re-design the UAV to be remanufacturable and create a blueprint of remanufacturing that could be more broadly applied.

Glasgow Computer Recycling: Glasgow Computer Recycling (GCR) offers a secure disposal service for electrical and electronic equipment to business clients.  The University of Strathclyde will assess the business model and operational processes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of GCR's recycling and re-use business.

Sims: Sims Recycling Solutions is a leading global provider of recycling services, specialising in electronic reuse, refurbishment and recycling. A key element of their business is the refurbishment of mobile phones which involves classifying the level of damage on screens and cases. This can range from imperceptible "pin pricks" to visible scratches that are only a few microns thick. Robert Gordon University will work with Sims to assess the technologies that can be successfully applied to quantify the degree and extent of surface damage present in a variety of materials (plastics and metals) in a consistent, systematic and automated manner.

Mackie Transmission Systems: Mackie Transmissions has been one of the UK's leading remanufacturer of automotive, industrial and marine transmissions since 1977. Based in Glasgow, this family run business employs 35 highly skilled professionals and offers repair, rebuild and recondition of automatic and manual gear boxes and are the sole UK supplier of remanufactured units to Subaru, Isuzu, Hyundai, Nissan and Chevrolet. The Remanufacturing Group at the University of Strathclyde is working with Mackies to improve their remanufacturing processes using Lean, Kanban and 5s methodologies. A key deliverable of this project will be to identify if there are any key differences in remanufacturing that demand a different approach with these three process improvement techniques.

Turner Wind Services: Turner Wind Services Ltd is a provider of products and services focused within the wind and renewables sector.  The company is part of the Turner Group who are engaged in the supply of engineering services, as well as the provision of comprehensive support services and assets sales/rental. A condition monitoring system for wind turbines, being done in collaboration with the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department at the University of Strathclyde will enable Turner Wind Services to provide an end to end service with repair and remanufacture for wind farm customers.