Detroit touts environmental, economic benefits of remanufacturing

Avatar photo

TOOELE, Utah — Why buy new when you can reuse something that still has value? That’s the reman mantra, as told by Detroit Reman, a business unit of Detroit Diesel Corporation, which hosted a tour of its Tooele, Utah facility for media, including Truck News, this morning. The facility, called Detroit Reman West, is one of six Detroit Reman facilities across North America, employing more than 1,400 – a relatively small number compared with the 500,000 employed in remanufacturing across the US.

The event highlighted Detroit’s portfolio of remanufactured products while also clearing up some of the misconceptions between remanufacturing and rebuilding.

“Remanufacturing is more than rebuilding,” stressed Detroit Reman president Stefan Kurschner during his opening presentation. “It’s restoring the product to ‘like-new’ condition.”

Kurschner also highlighted the positive environmental impact of remanufacturing, as part of Detroit parent company Daimler’s “Shaping Future Transportation” sustainability efforts through offering customers products which are both economical and environmentally friendly.

He touted the reman process as “the highest form of recycling,” by reusing raw materials which would otherwise be mined from the earth, conserving energy by reusing old parts rather than melting them down to raw material, and reducing the generation of waste by keeping old parts out of landfills.

“Detroit Reman’s products are of the highest quality and provide a value-driven solution to lower the cost of ownership for our customers,” Kurschner said. “Remanufacturing and sustainable corporate citizenship are integral to the Daimler corporate strategy. Remanufacturing by its very nature lends itself to sustainability by extending the useful life of a product which would otherwise be scrapped.”

The environmental figures speak for themselves, with the remanufacturing process using up to 85% less energy, while decreasing CO2 production by 53%, landfill waste by 75%, as well as saving 14 million tonnes of raw material each year, according to Detroit officials.

In 2011, Detroit Reman’s six facilities processed nearly 30,000 tonnes of core material into finished goods, while recycling 8,018 tonnes of metal, 12 tonnes of paper, 27 tonnes of plastic, 1,062 tonnes of cardboard, and 80% of all waste from operations.

And Daimler has certainly gotten behind Detroit Reman’s efforts, greenlighting an extensive portfolio of reman’d products, including:

Remanufactured engines and components: Diesel four-cycle, two-cycle and automotive gasoline engines, as well as a complete lineup of engine components including cylinder heads, connecting rods, fuel pumps, oil pumps, water pumps, air compressors.

Transmissions: Automatic, automated and manual transmissions.

Turbochargers: For medium- and heavy-duty diesel engines, and automotive versions including variable geometry turbochargers.

Diesel Fuel Systems: Electronic unit injectors, electronic unit pumps, high-pressure pumps, common rail remanufactured components.

Electronics: Engine control modules, vehicle control units, instrument clusters, industrial electronic components, wiring harnesses, circuit board assemblies, EGR valves.

Aftertreatment Maintenance: Diesel particulate filters, diesel oxidation catalyst, selective catalytic reduction, exhaust gas recirculation coolers.

As part of the media gathering, officials showcased the various remanufacturing processes used by Detroit Reman. Among the processes are:

-The Thermal Powder Spray Process which rebuilds worn or damaged aluminum and cast iron surfaces. This process is designed to allow recovery of a wide variety of components, including some that are no longer available as new parts.

– Submerged Arc Welding which rebuilds metal in thicker quantities. The process can be done in the open due to a flooding of flux over the actual weld process. Officials say the process is useful in recovering non-wear areas that have incurred damage on the surface.

– Detroit Reman’s Twin Wire Process is similar to the powder spray process, but it uses two wires as the base coating material instead of powder. The wires are atomized using an electrical charge and a pressurized inert gas is used to apply it on a surface.

– Supersonic Spray is a technique used to make cosmetic repairs to aluminum and cast iron. The process applies metal at a high velocity and introduces very little heat into the base component. Detroit Reman uses this technique to repair small flaws in components.

– Plasma Transferred Wire Arc employs an extremely versatile surface coating technology. This process uses a single wire and a small application head to coat hard to reach areas. The surface can be honed back to the original specification used on a new block.

– Aftertreatment Cleaning utilizes a proprietary liquid process that restores exhaust aftertreatment devices to original service internals. The process provides consistent cleaning across the substrate cell walls and incorporates effective inspection techniques.

Detroit also completes in-house emissions testing and qualification of aftertreatment systems through exhaust gas analysis. The process measures exhaust particulates, hydrocarbons, and nitrous oxides to ensure proper catalytic performance.

“These processes allow restoration of worn products to original blueprint specifications and incorporation of the most recent OEM engineering upgrades,” company officials said.

However, Kurschner noted that there are still hurdles for remanufacturing to overcome, including a lack of consumer understanding about the process, no worldwide standards that must be adhered to, as well as inconsistent use of remanufactured products.

That said, Kurschner says he hopes potential customers will come to understand why the process makes both environmental and business sense, and “Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.”

Avatar photo

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

Have your say

This is a moderated forum. Comments will no longer be published unless they are accompanied by a first and last name and a verifiable email address. (Today's Trucking will not publish or share the email address.) Profane language and content deemed to be libelous, racist, or threatening in nature will not be published under any circumstances.


  • Great story on Detroit Reman — remember, it takes five:
    Critical success factors for remanufacturing
    Nationwide warranty
    Local availability
    Effective core management
    Core recovery expertise
    Product portfolio breadth and depth