Attendees of the World Remanufacturing Conference 2019 will get a close-up look at the ongoing expansion of Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) remanufacturing facility at the Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS). The 5,000-square-foot expansion will be outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment, including semi-automated workstations to help the industry test, validate, and de-risk investment in a variety of remanufacturing equipment. Work in the testbed will target core remanufacturing processes, including cleaning, additive repair, nondestructive inspection, electronic testing and repair, automated core identification, and Industry-4.0 applications in disassembly and assembly.

A testbed can help a business develop, evaluate, and identify new techniques and technologies for a specific product application or for use with particular materials. It also can be used to assess automation options and applications, and test new equipment to select a best-fit option before making a capital investment. Additionally, a testbed is an ideal setting for training employees on new technologies and processes, as well as simulating new production lines.

Testbeds also provide businesses with an opportunity to develop technologies with partners (or even competitors) without revealing proprietary information. In a sense, it provides the perfect environment for developing technologies on neutral turf.

“Our goal is to work together with the industry to improve production processes. RIT has always maintained a focus on developing a collaborative and trusted environment for industry. We are not competing with them, but rather providing a link between remanufacturing companies and new technologies,” says Michael Thurston, Technical Director for RIT’s GIS. He also notes that the new testbed “is where the innovation and opportunities in reman—new technologies, new applications, new products, new services, new processes—can be initiated, thought through, and rigorously tested to ascertain their usefulness and viability before going to market.”

The test bed will be operational in late 2019. It is currently accepting a limited number of industry projects to pilot the testbed. The REMADE Institute’s research projects will also be conducted in the new space.