Date of Award

December 2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Engineering

First Advisor

Wilkistar A. Otieno

Committee Members

Matthew E H Petering, Hamid K. Seifoddini, Anthony D. Ross, Chris Y. Yuan

Keywords

Control Drive, FIS, Fuzzy Logic, Remanufacture

Abstract

In the recent past, efforts have been made in enhancing sustainable manufacturing aimed at protecting the environment and saving natural resources. Among the efforts that have been explored include strategies to ensure responsible end-of-life product management so as reduce the impact on the environment and achieve effective use of resources. Towards this end, reduce, reuse and recycle product disposal strategies have found a lot of consideration in manufacturing. Of the product reuse strategies, remanufacturing has been widely applied owing to its unique feature of rendering the remanufactured product as good as new. For remanufacturers, this strategy leads to provision of quality products comparable to new their new counterparts at a reduced cost. Remanufacturing also leads to a sustainable environment through energy and material savings, as well as minimized solid wastes.

Remanufacturing however, poses challenges related to collection of the returns or cores, manufacturing process planning, resource allocation, warranty estimation and redistribution. These challenges are due to product and process complexities, customer requirements, and uncertainties associated with product take back and the remanufactured products’ market-base. Key among these challenges is the remanufacturing process which is complicated, labor intensive with varying process times. In most cases the routing of these processes is stochastic in nature, based on the condition of the returned product. There is also the negative perception among consumers that remanufactured products are less superior to new ones, which calls for the need to allocate preferably longer warranty periods for the remanufactured product to induce confidence in the consumer while at the same time keeping the warranty costs low.

The objectives of this study were informed by challenges faced by a local remanufacturing firm. They include: (1) a detailed study of the current remanufacturing process of the firm’s products; (2) identification of bottlenecks in the process to make recommendations for improvement; (3) develop a decision support system for assessing product remanufacture; (4) assess warranty allocation options for remanufactured product reuse.

The study revealed that there are bottlenecks in the current remanufacturing process and suggested an improvement to enhance efficiency. This bottlenecks include overutilization of some of the process centers such as the diagnostic testing and the after-repair testing centers which lead to the product spending more time in the system than necessary. To improve the system performance the capacities of the bottleneck centers were increased which yielded significant reduction in the time the product spends in the system.

The key contribution of this dissertation is the development of a decision support system based on a bi-level fuzzy linguistic computing approach. This model integrates qualitative and quantitative product attributes in determining the remanufacturability of a product. The fuzzy-based model established remanufacturability metric, herein referred to as an index, is applied to assess the feasibility of remanufacturing two products that were used as a case study. A number of warranty scenarios are considered to ascertain the impact of different warranty periods on the cost of warranty. The results show that the additional warranty cost for product reuse is a function of the period of first use and the residual life of the product

Available for download on Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Share

COinS