Fuji Xerox Australia is backing its pledge to send nothing to landfill by opening an eco-manufacturing centre in Rosehill, Sydney where parts are recycled or re-manufactured, while still keeping technology costs down and minimising environmental impacts.
The centre is housed in a heritage-listed building with recycled rubber flooring, smart power, air-con and recycled furniture, which has earned it a five-star gold rating with the Green Building Council Australia (GBCA).
The 600sqm 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.
“Australia is the world’s second highest dumper of landfill, behind the US, but he believes it doesn’t have to be this way with corporations having a key role in turning this around,” said Bede Wolf, operations manager at the Eco Manufacturing Centre.
“Corporations have a role to play in leading society down a pathway. We don’t have to occupy the second rank. We believe it can be led by industry, not just domestic.
“Recycling is important, but re-manufacturing is the bees knees of sustainability in product stewardship.”
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,” Wolf said.
“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 re-manufactured 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. 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 10 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 5kgs of spare parts 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 attaches to these wires, the roller on the inside and the belt – but other than the chassis, the spindles, the wires themselves, they can all be reused,” Wolf said.
“The springs might be replaced every second life, but other than that we get to reuse 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.”