"Role of life-cycle data for product take back and assessment"
, Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (JKU), Linz, 7-2021
Role of life-cycle data for product take back and assessment
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Innovations in the field of information and communication technologies enabled drastic changes from traditional products to smart products. They allowed for the ability to communicate, interact,and share information about their environment and usage by using the Internet of Things. Reusing and recycling components are the most efficient strategies for product recovery. Reliable methods for the take back process and decision making, are based on the trend analysis of lifecycle monitoring data. Furthermore, analyzing patterns under real operating conditions of a product enables accurate estimations on the remaining useful life of components. Proper value estimation of products permits clustering and end of life decisions by leveraging the remaining useful life. Data driven grading methods may accelerate the process and the sorting of products, while allowing to automate components of processes by adding tags, barcodes, and sensor arrays. Robotic systems further facilitate automation. Optimizing processes and end of life decision making still represents a challenge for companies, as a significant amount of life cycle and historical data must be available and adequately analyzed. Customers identified gathering information directly in the field as major obstacle, as they are not aware of the benefits of sharing personal data. Uncertainty in the quality of returned products is another barrier which influences the take back process, where data could be used to help improve predictability. Most companies do not have proper information system structures in place. This means that, even though data is available, it cannot be processed properly, leading to inefficiencies in operations. Big data techniques of product take back processes are very costly to implement, especially for small and medium sized firms. Motivators to deal with the topic of product take back are mostly environmental regulations, cost recovery from remanufacturing sales, and an eco-friendly image. Thanks to emerging markets, manufacturers are motivated to produce high quality products with more options for a second lifecycle. Customer awareness of refurbished products is getting higher and therefore creating new markets The use of technology supported systems in the take back process has been investigated, but their implementation and industrial practices are still controversial. In this regard, design an·d management methods need to be fully adapted to achieve entirely automated and hybrid operations that are considered as feasible solution.