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Making Things Last - A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland

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5. Remanufacture

5.1 Our ambition

We want Scotland's strategically important remanufacturing sector to fulfil its potential for growth: to raise the profile of remanufacturing, develop new markets and strengthen Scotland's international reputation for quality remanufactured products.

5.2 Context

Remanufacturing can be defined as returning a used product to at least its original performance with a warranty that is equivalent or better than that of the new product. It involves taking a product completely apart, cleaning, repairing, rebuilding and testing its functionality against its original specification.

Reduced requirements for material, water and energy mean remanufactured products can cost less than the equivalent new products, and hence significantly boost productivity, competitiveness and profitability. Remanufacture provides an excellent circular economy business model, especially where products are leased to the customer or have an incentivised return mechanism.

Our remanufacturing study[14] estimated that 17,000 people are employed in remanufacturing in Scotland, contributing £1.1 billion to annual economic activity. Across 16 manufacturing sub-sectors, it has the potential to create an additional £620 million turnover and 5,700 new jobs by 2020. The study suggests that energy, automotive, electronics and medical equipment have the highest potential for remanufacturing growth in Scotland, followed by aerospace, rail, white goods, tyres and furniture.

5.3 Our priorities

Encouraging manufacturing firms to adopt circular practices, including remanufacture, is a strong focus for our Manufacturing Action Plan. The plan includes measures to stimulate awareness of opportunities; to address sector-specific opportunities for manufacturing products and services; and to support resulting skills requirements. Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) will lead these activities.

We established the Scottish Institute for Remanufacture as a centre of expertise, only the fourth of its kind in the world. We want the Institute to continue to operate at the cutting edge of developments, helping the remanufacturing industry to grow and innovate by co-funding collaborative projects between industry and higher education institutions; and developing a remanufacturing community involving businesses and academics.

Drawing on the Institute's expertise, we will influence the EU, standards and certification organisations and others to ensure that remanufactured products are properly recognised as comparable or equivalent to new products.

We are exploring the barriers and opportunities for greater reuse and remanufacture of medical devices in the NHS.

Mackie Automatic & Manual Transmissions

Glasgow-based Mackie Automatic & Manual Transmissions has been the UK's leading remanufacturer of automotive, industrial and marine transmissions since 1977. The family-owned company, which employs over 25 people, has an annual turnover of £2.5million.

The highly specialized nature of the facility allows the firm to repair, rebuild and recondition automatic and manual gear boxes with precision and speed. The business is committed to delivering only the very best in quality standards. The transmissions are not just rebuilt, they are remanufactured to meet or exceed the item's original condition.

Automatic gearboxes are among the most complex components in modern cars, with high embedded material value. Shipping out about 100 gearboxes per month, Mackie's return, refurbish and re use business model results in significant resource savings.

Mackie is the sole UK supplier of remanufactured units to Subaru, Isuzu, Hyundai, Nissan and Chevrolet, and is the major transmission distributor in the UK. The main focus for the business is car and commercial vehicle transmissions, with the potential to diversify into a range of other industries where transmissions are used, for example, wind energy, oil and gas extraction.

Mackie Automatic & Manual Transmissions