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Celebrating Remanufacturing on REMAN Day in 2022

Learn about Global Reman Day, how it works, and how you can be a part of it.

Episode 175: Remanufacturing is great for the environment, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and contributes billions of dollars to the economy. This week we celebrate remanufacturing.

My guest today is Jeffrey Stukenborg the Chairman of Remanufacturing Industries Council.  

He is very passionate about the reman industry since he got involved with the industry 19 years ago while working for Delphi, WABCO, and ZF Group.  Jeff is currently the Reman Engineering Leader for ZF Group based in Rochester Hills, MI. 

Celebrating Reman Day in 2022.

Guest Website: RemanDay.org

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Transcript of Episode:

Jamie Irvine:

You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.

Remanufacturing is great for the environment. It employs hundreds of thousands of people, and it contributes billions of dollars to the economy. This week we celebrate remanufacturing. My guest today is Jeffrey Stukenborg, the Chairman of Remanufacturing Industries Council and he is also a very passionate person who loves reman like I do. He’s been working in this industry quite a long time. He got involved with the industry 19 years ago, working for Delphi, WABCO and ZF Group. Jeff is currently the Reman Engineering Leader for ZF Group based in Rochester Hills, Michigan. And like I said, he’s the Chairman of the Remanufacturing Industries Council. So glad to have Jeff here, welcome to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report.

Jeff Stukenborg:

Thanks Jamie. I look forward to our discussion on reman. One of my favorite topics.

Jamie Irvine:

Why is remanufacturing so important to the trucking industry?

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah. Remanufacturing is really important to the trucking industry. A lot of the trucking industry, especially the second and third owner, as well as the fleet owners, are always looking for ways to reduce their overall ownership of cost. Right? So remanufacturing provides a way to provide a part that performs as new, but at a typically 30% price reduction. So it’s great for the cost of ownership and try to reduce all that.

Jamie Irvine:

And like we mentioned in the intro, remanufacturing is good for the environment, it’s consuming less raw materials. We’re able to reuse that part. So that’s a bit of recycling in there. So there’s lots of upside. And like you said, it saves money, but there’s a big difference between rebuilding something and remanufacturing something. And I used to work in a remanufacturing plant. So I know the difference but for those who maybe aren’t familiar with why there’s a difference between those two terms, could you explain that for us?

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah, it’s a kind of a common misconception sometimes and sometimes rebuilding and remanufacture are kind of interchangeable. There’s a lot of the re-words, you know, recycling, all these, but the reality is remanufacturing is a comprehensive industrialized process where we actually take the part down to its lowest level. So we completely disassemble it. And there’s generally a build material. We replace certain things 100%, all the seals, bearings, some of the things that wear. And then we try to salvage as much material as possible, but the point we get down to the lowest possible point. And then when we put it all together, we test it and we can guarantee the same as new performance versus rebuilding, which typically is sometimes. And sometimes it’s used interchangeably, but in reality is rebuilding is maybe they’re replacing parts that one or two things that are wrong with it, but not generally bringing it all the way down to it’s full disassembled level. So in general, rebuilding, doesn’t always get you a same as new kind of performance level. So I think generally remanufacturing is better.

Jamie Irvine:

I remember when I was working in a remanufacturing facility and there were certain pneumatic valves that the springs had different crack pressures. And so if you just took that valve apart, cleaned it, put some O-rings in it, resealed it, that’s rebuilding, but you’re not really addressing whether or not that spring that has a certain crack pressure has fatigued over time. So to truly remanufacture it, you have to bring every part of that component back to original specs or exceeding original specs. To me, that’s the big difference.

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah. And you’re exactly right. And there’s also in considerations that we’ll look at it and our companies and we know that design level and there’s times where there’s been design changes since the beginning. And what we would tend to do is bring one of the replacement components in, that has maybe a different design and improvement design. So enhance when we bring that into a reman product, we may be better than the original was new. So like what you mentioned is a common thing. People talk about fixing, maybe failures that might have been in the product within the past. And by bringing it all the way down to its original level, we can replace the parts with a latest design and actually improve the performance.

Jamie Irvine:

Right. And remanufacture also have the benefit of being able to see real world results. Whereas when you’re making it new, you know, you’re using engineering best practices, but until it goes out in the field, you don’t really know what’s gonna happen for sure. Whereas remanufacture, you get to analyze all these failures and say there’s a way to maybe make that product better. Jeff, tell me something about remanufacturing that most people don’t know?

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah. So you mentioned the environmental benefits and really one of the big things for us in reman day this year, because this is our fifth year is really talking about the environmental benefits. Because there’s a lot more discussion about sustainability circular economy and how can we save, basically save the earth, right? So you mentioned the environmental benefits and then what that really means is how do we get that we’re able in our disassembly and we’re able to reuse the part as it’s into. So you can imagine we reclaim all the embedded energy, which means, you know you can imagine the mining, the smelting process, right? You bring it into a casting, you machine it, you may have some grinding. And, and we save all that energy and not just a pure recycling of material we’re able to, and, you know, save all the embedded of energy through the whole, the whole process.

So that’s really how we’re able to save energy. We keep the material out of the landfill, and then as part of that same energy, we’re also reducing the CO2 gases. A lot of the carbon footprint would be needed to make a brand new part. So people are very familiar with recycling. I would love to get re manufacturing when people think they’re like, wow, that is really good for the earth and super good for the environment. And we talked a little bit about maybe one of the issues that truck industry is, there are some fleets that are half sustainability goals, and, you know, they look at reman parts as a way to some of their sustainability efforts, the US government, in some cases for when they’re repairing their vehicles in the government vehicles, they do have some mandates to use reman products related to those environmental benefits.

And maybe one thing that also including this discussion is, you know, this year, because of all the logistical issues and getting material that, I think remanufacturing, especially inside our company, like on ECUs on chips and things where you couldn’t get those, salvaging the material from reman became really more critical. And then be honest, I have more people now in my company interested in reman because of how hard it was to get components, including chips for ECUs. And that’s like a big part of strategy for this year is to manufacture our ABS ECUs because of how hard it’s to get them. So I think in an effort and this year became even a bigger issue and on salvaging materials that were already there in our plant, we didn’t have to bring them from somewhere else. And it just is a whole benefit for reman.

Jamie Irvine:

I think when the pandemic started, many of us were immediately thinking like, okay, this is just a blip in the road. And then when are we gonna get back to normal. Two years out this is one of these moments in time where things are just going to fundamentally change. And I think that we have become more aware of how vulnerable we were with with the way that our global supply chain was constructed prior to the pandemic. And now that we’re here now that we have geopolitical instability in places like Europe and Asia, I think a lot of companies are going to be rethinking not only their supply chain, but then ways of taking advantage of the upside of remanufacturing. So I think this is gonna be very good for the remanufacturing industry long-term.

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah. I agree with you. There’s a lot of efforts from a lot of companies, to bring them back into the region, right. And generally remanufacturing is a more regional effort only because we don’t wanna be shipping the core around the world. And I agree with you 100% that it’s a good opportunity, you know, so never let a good opportunity go to waste. And a lot of companies have sustainability goals that maybe didn’t have those two years ago, right. Or three years ago. So I’ve seen a lot of big companies with carbon neutrality, goals of like 2035 to be carbon neutral. And of course remanufacture is one of those was ways that it there. So

Jamie Irvine:

We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account, looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket. We’re back from our break. And before the break, we were talking all about how awesome reman is. And Jeff and I were talking about this before we started recording, once you get into the reman industry, it’s very hard to get out because it’s one of the just awesome parts of our industry. I’d like to talk now Jeff, about Remand Day and you know, that’s really what we’re here to talk about. It’s happening this week. So first of all, what is global Reman Day?

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah, so global Reman Day really provides a single day for the global remanufacture facilities to kind of celebrate remanufacturing. It’s kind of the main purpose though, is more of an education. To be honest, we educate the people that work in our plants about the benefits of it. And what’s always interesting to me is when I talk to the operators that have been in the field, they don’t even think like the environmental benefits they’re saving every single day. And so talking to them about the energy savings, the CO2 reduction, the carbon footprint improvements. It’s always an educational thing. We also try to educate the public, right. Especially some of the city officials and things about the benefits of remanufacturing environment plus the employment opportunity. So it’s really, again a one day for us to celebrate it. And we also intentionally place it near Earth Day. So that’s why it’s always in April near Earth Day because again, the environmental benefit. So it gives us the one day to kind of promote it. It’s really fun.

Jamie Irvine:

So what day is Reman Day this month?

Jeff Stukenborg:

So, yeah, so it’s April 14th.

Jamie Irvine:

How does it work for most companies when people are getting involved, give us an example of what that looks like?

Jeff Stukenborg:

What they do for us. They go to our, our rema.org website, they’ll register their events. We actually have like a map on there when you register them, we’re keeping track of all the events global and, and we’ve had we always typically have, I think five different contents last year were involved with reman. We’re hoping to grow that again, this year. So it’s all over the world. And once you register this, then you get access to our Reman Day stuff. There’s like planning tips. We actually have a Reman Day, a graphic novel, little bit of like a comic book. We did that for some of our younger people, like when there’s actually some of our companies bringing into the high schools and middle schools, they talk about reman. So that’s part of the things that go on.

There’s some proclamation templates. For example, we submit like Reman Day proclamations at our state level and we’ve been pretty successful. Every year I go into my Governor Whitmer and I request for the state of Michigan, you know, hey, it’s Reman Day on 14th and it’s generally, everything’s fine. Right? It’s a good thing for everybody to promote again for the environmental and jobs. Right? So again, go to our website, remanday.org, register your event gives you all the host resources and then you can work on planning it inside your company.

Jamie Irvine:

And of course, we still have had some pandemic restrictions over the last couple years. So if you’re just listening to this and maybe it’s after April 14th Remand Day for 2022 has come and gone, don’t worry. We’re gonna be doing it in 2023, and we’re gonna be bigger and better than ever in 2023. So there’s no time, like right now to start planning, uh, Jeff, maybe give us an example of one of the companies that has had some really good success with, uh, participating in remand, just to Illis straight. How, uh, companies who are, who have never been involved might, might get involved.

Jeff Stukenborg:

Yeah, so we have quite a few companies here in the states that have celebrated it, some are companies I know that like, the Medicare people, they’re going into the high schools. They’re gonna be promoting the environmental benefits of reman, bringing in the comic I talked about, the graphic novel with them. So specifically they’re going into to talk to the younger people. Almost all of us are also bringing, like doing an awareness in house, which is really good. Again, I mentioned that it is amazing that people inside our companies don’t necessarily understand the full benefit of what they do day to day so it’s always good. From my side at ZF, it’s gives us a good day to get everybody together from our global reman sites.

Last year we actually got everybody together for the first time, because we are integrating the Wabco companies with the ZF companies. It was pretty cool. And for the first time the plants were talking to each other, so it worked out really well. We also, I know some companies in the past have brought in their local mayors, again, it’s more an education, hey, you know, we’re here, we’re employing a lot of people here and by the way, we’re saving the earth at the same time. So we also invite the other reman industries. And the one good thing about ours is we’re kind of a collection of reman industries. So we’re not just transportation, we’re a lot of different things. And we invite different members from the reman industries that are locally and round and they come and visit our plant. So it’s really good. Again, we’re all in the remand together. We’re sharing the good things about it and nothing better than a party, a bunch of remand guys. And at the end of the, or in October this year, we’ll have our annual world remand conference. We get everybody together with the like thinking and it’s really great to talk to people about reman.

Jamie Irvine:

You’ve been listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And we’ve been speaking with Jeffrey Stukenborg, the Chairman of the Reman Industries Council. And also he is the remand engineering leader for ZF group based in Rochester Hills, Michigan. To learn more about Reman Day, visit remanday.org. We’ve got links in the show notes for you there. Jeff, thank you so much for being on The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. It was very nice to talk to you today.

Jeff Stukenborg:

My pleasure, always good to talk about reman. Thank you.

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