One of the best ways to reduce environmental damage and increase sustainability is to assess whether a machine needs to be upgraded. Manufacturers are tempted to consider upgrades just because older components have broken down and spare parts are hard to find. However, upgrades should be deliberately planned according to a precise business growth strategy, not commissioned as a way to bypass the difficulties of coping with obsolescence.
Just like with new parts, each stockpiled obsolete part has created most of its carbon emissions but then just ends up gathering dust in a warehouse. From there, the best outcome is that they are scrapped and recycled, possibly straight into new parts that hopefully get used.
When faced with a broken or worn-out part, businesses often choose potentially expensive upgrades to new models and machines, with the prospect of repeating this process when the machine wears out.
Parts become obsolete for a variety of reasons, such as new specifications or regulations, design changes or simply because the OEM stopped making them make space for a newer model. These parts might still be in stock somewhere, but it will require a reliable parts supplier to find them.
Determining if obsolete parts will work in a machine opens the door to a two-pronged attack on potentially wasteful practices. First, if an obsolete part can be sourced, the demand for new parts is lowered. Secondly, using obsolete parts wherever practical makes the most of the resources, energy, and associated carbon emitted on behalf of those parts.
Read the full article by Claudia Jarrett »
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