Publications archive - Waste and recycling
Eco-efficiency and cleaner production case study
Department of the Environment and Heritage, September 2000
"What is good for the environment is good for business."
Graham Gavanagh-Jones, Director, Manufacturing and Supply, Fuji Xerox Australia
Eco-manufacturing (more commonly known as remanufacturing) is an integral part of Fuji Xerox Australia's business. Fuji Xerox Australia (FXA) has been recovering used parts and equipment since the 1960's recognising that the majority of components could be reprocessed and reused several times. The process of re-engineering components and parts has allowed FXA to make money by saving on part replacement and disposal costs.
FXA is the Australian arm of Fuji Xerox, a joint venture between Fuji Photo Film Co. of Japan and Xerox Corporation. The partnership of Fuji Xerox and Xerox comprises a US$26.3 billion document company with worldwide capabilities in research, development, product delivery, service and support.
Operating since 1961, FXA serves as the hub for Xerox operations in Asia and the South Pacific. The company is a leader in document management solutions, with over 50 per cent market share in the critical digital and colour markets. The company markets the broadest range of electronic printers, digital production publishers, copiers, facsimile products and scanners in the industry.
Whilst it does not carry out manufacturing in Australia, FXA has established itself as a leader in the remanufacture of a large number of parts and components including print cartridges, complex lasers and electronic components such as circuit boards. The company's eco-manufacturing facility in Zetland, Sydney, has been selected as a Xerox global benchmark operation, utilising sophisticated technology and undertaking innovative production methods that have minimal environmental impacts. The remanufacturing operation has grown significantly over ten years from a small operation to one that now employs over 100 staff.
Remanufacturing is a method of production that takes a used part or component and through a series of sophisticated manufacturing and engineering processes, restores the part to an "as new" condition. The remanufactured product is at least as good as the original component and in many instances is re-engineered to a superior standard. The difference is that it takes fewer resources to produce a remanufactured product than a new one.
An example of a successful remanufacturing program undertaken by FXA is the print cartridge remanufacturing operation. FXA has a remanufacturing program for 20 of its print, fax and copier cartridges. Print cartridges are remanufactured to better than new standards and quality testing and control ensure that all remanufactured cartridges carry the same customer satisfaction guarantee as new cartridges.
Remanufacturing as a process has existed for some time and is seen as a cost-effective way for companies to reduce the replacement cost of parts. However, recently companies such as FXA have begun to appreciate the environmental benefits of remanufacturing, including reduced demand for raw materials, reduced energy consumption and reduced waste to landfill.
In accordance with the philosophy of Design for Environment, Xerox machines and components are designed and built with the concept of recyclability in mind. This objective has been refined by Xerox, and the latest generation of digital printers and copiers are built in modular format where all modules are capable of being remanufactured.
Even before the development of this new generation of machinery FXA has been remanufacturing as a way of re-using large amounts of machine parts and components. One of the advantages of remanufacturing is that parts are constantly evaluated and tested, leading to product improvements and enhancements.
Engineering processes used by the Australian engineering team investigate reasons for failure and opportunities to extend product life. They include:
The data from these processes is fed back to product designers, so that improvements can be made to the basic design of a product. An information database through which all employees can share information about problems and solutions encountered at any stage of the product life cycle, facilitates this process.
New generation machines are being built with fewer parts and materials. Many machine parts are designed to be snapped or screwed together for ease of disassembly, and components such as toner cartridges and fuser rollers are being designed for greater durability to facilitate their re-use.
The DC265 is a fully modular digital printer/copier. While traditional copiers have up to 2000 replaceable parts, the DC 265 has less than 250. All moving components in the copier, which are typically responsible for the majority of failures, are contained in seven discrete modules. The modules can be removed and replaced by customers ready for collection and remanufacture.
All Xerox designs are assessed with regard to asset recovery considerations and only those that satisfy the criteria proceed to the next stage of product development. Xerox has also developed `design for disassembly' software to evaluate designs with regard to quality, cost, ease of disassembly and recyclability.
The company's philosophy focuses on providing services as well as products. As most machines are leased to customers, this allows greater control over the remanufacturing process. FXA is able to keep track of the quantity and location of equipment and thus facilitate a higher rate of return. The company also provides a free take-back service for copiers, used parts and consumables.
Australian remanufacturing operations are certified to ISO 9001, and 14001 standards, ensuring that performance and quality are maintained.
FXA's remanufacturing division has had to gain the support of both Xerox and Fuji Xerox for its activities. The division was expected to generate profits from remanufacturing almost immediately, a difficult task when the technology and engineering expertise was being developed in parallel with other operations. The division claims that its success is due to employees' high level of skill and innovation and their enthusiasm for the creation of a successful program.
FXA has also found it is operating in a market where historically there has been little government or community pressure for companies to undertake environmental initiatives like remanufacturing. This lack of interest resulted in initial skepticism of the company's remanufactured products. However, proven consistency in quality has earned FXA both the interest and respect of governments and the community.
Since its establishment in 1993, FXA's remanufacturing facility has achieved considerable growth in terms of volume of components remanufactured, the number of remanufacturing programs initiated and the economic performance of the operation. Eco-manufacturing now supplies 65 per cent of spare parts and consumables parts by value for equipment in Australia.
There have been 228 new remanufacturing programs developed since 1993 and another 53 programs are currently under development. These programs mainly involve spare parts and consumables such as print cartridges.
In 1996 remanufacturing saved FXA over $8 million on product purchases. The savings for 1999 were $20 million, with savings of $25 million estimated for 2000.
FXA says its remanufacturing programs have significant benefits for customers and the company as well as for the wider economy and the environment.
In 1997, more than 2,600 machines and 28,000 cartridges were remanufactured, reducing waste to landfill by 600,000 kilograms. In addition, 90% of all waste generated by the remanufacturing process is recycled.
FXA plans to expand its eco-manufacturing operations in Australia. The company will continue to investigate how changes to Xerox equipment design and developments in eco-manufacturing technology can ensure the longevity and quality of its products, while providing valuable environmental benefits.
Fuji Xerox Australia
546 Gardeners Rd
Alexandria NSW 2015
Phone: 02 9364 5742
Fax: 02 9364-5233