European remanufacturing industry has potential to triple by 2030, says ERN study

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

The current size of the European remanufacturing industry, calculated to be just under €30bn, has the potential to increase to €90bn by 2030, according to a study released by the European Remanufacturing Network (ERN).

The ERN market study said that with “supportive governmental policies and industry investments, the industry could employ as many as 255,000 people”.

The report, which focused on sectors such as aerospace, automotive, heavy duty and off-road equipment, electronic and electrical equipment, machinery and medical equipment, concluded that the four key regions currently accounting for some 70% of remanufacturing value in Europe are Germany, the UK & Ireland, France and Italy. Germany is said to undertake the most remanufacturing “by a significant margin, making up almost a third of European remanufacturing turnover”.

“Remanufacturing is an undervalued part of the industrial landscape and an under-recognised, sustainable industry,” said a spokesperson at ERN “Activity to promote remanufacturing is currently undertaken on a sector-by-sector basis. In Europe, cross-sectoral activities to facilitate knowledge transfer and promote the industry do not exist in remanufacturing - unlike in the recycling industry. Our major competitors, the USA and China, already have some common vision and strategy for remanufacturing while European remanufacturing could lose competitiveness against these more organised economies. As a result, there is a real need for a European-level solution to encourage remanufacturing throughout Europe.”

The survey also considered motives and barriers for remanufacturing. Among the top motives for remanufacturers are higher profit margins, environmental responsibility, strategic advantage and increasing market share.

“These all point to an encouraging view of the future of the remanufacturing industry from those within the business,” said the ERN spokesperson. Further motives cited through the survey and discussions include securing spare parts supply, potential to lower product prices, enabling alternative business models, reduced resource security risk, customer pressure, product warranties, asset and brand protection, and reduced lead times.

Barriers to remanufacturing are reported to include customer recognition, volume/availability of ‘core’ (a used part intended to become a remanufactured product), quality of core and high labour costs. Other barriers included legal ambiguity over remanufacturing in different jurisdictions particularly around trans-national shipments, lack of sales channels (linked to customer recognition), lack of product knowledge including third party product technical information, lack of technology, low cost new product competition, skills shortages, poor design for remanufacturing, rapid evolution of technology base and lack of remediation techniques.

“Despite these barriers, with supportive policies and industry investment, ‘stretch’ and ‘transformational’ targets for remanufacturing can be envisaged. Within these scenarios, we can expect that by 2030 EU remanufacturing could attain an annual value of €70bn and €90bn respectively with the associated increase in employment of 34,000 and 65,000 jobs respectively,” predicted the ERN.

- The study can be downloaded at:

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