Fuji Xerox Australia has backed its pledge to send nothing to landfill by opening an eco-manufacturing centre in Sydney where parts are recycled or re-manufactured, sometimes up to three times.
The centre of excellence, at Sydney’s Rosehill, is housed in a heritage listed building with recycled rubber flooring, smart power and air con and recycled furniture earning it a five-star gold rating with the Green Building Council Australia.
Bede Wolf, Operations Manager at the Eco Manufacturing Centre, said Australia is the world’s second highest dumper of landfill, behind the USA, but he believes it doesn’t have to be this way with corporations having a key role in turning this around.
“Corporations have a role to play in leading society down a pathway. We don’t have to occupy the second rank," Wolf told visiting members of the Lithographic Institute of Australia (LIA).
“We believe it can be led by industry, not just domestic.”
The 600 square metre lab is a hub for customer product training and service and is also where used parts are disassembled and re-manufactured. Depending on the part this can be done up to three times before the part reaches end of life.
“Recycling is important but re-manufacturing is the bees knees of sustainability in product stewardship,” Wolf said.
The used parts are collected by Fuji Xerox Australia and brought back to the site at Rosehill for re-manufacture with around 30 staff working every day to bring the parts back to life. Approximately 20 per cent of parts in the field have been re-manufactured.
“This is a shared lab. It’s used for training and support but it’s also used for embryonic re-manufacturing programs. So if we have identified a part that we think could be re-manufactured we will undertake an engineering process to understand the failure wear modes and then build a prototype for a remanufactured model. That prototype will then be deployed in one of these machines or at a sympathetic customer site and will be tested to ensure that is just as good as new,” Wolf said.
“Same quality, same life expectancy. If the part fails it goes through that cycle again and if it passes we are able to run a pilot and ramp up that production.
“It’s something of an asset in itself - the ability to create a re-manufacturing program. It’s not trivial. Once you’ve been through it for the ten thousandth time it seems easy but actually compared to other organisations in same or other industries are trying to launch that and look down that pathway, we recognise that we have a real asset in this re-manufacturing capability.”
Some examples of parts that can be re-manufactured include the bias transfer roller and the more simply toner refill bottles.
“This is five kilograms of spare part and if you have a look you can see what might be good candidates for a wear part so the gears, the sensors that are attached to these wires, the roller on the inside and the belt but other than the the chassis, the spindles, the wires themselves, they can all be re-used. The springs might be replaced every second life but other than that we get to re-use 80 or 90 per cent of the mass of that product. So this is a product that we re-manufacture two or three hundred in a month and one of several hundred different re-manufacturing programs we have active at any one time.