Toronto, Ontario — General Motors (GM) says it has found success in remanufacturing collision-damaged headlamps as part of the automaker’s efforts to create a circular economy.
In a recent press release, GM noted that when a vehicle is involved in a collision, the headlamp or headlight is one of the most commonly damaged components, second only to bumpers, and this makes it a prime target for recycling efforts.
“While many components that make up a headlamp can be salvageable, due to insurance company preferences on claims, headlamp assemblies are often replaced with less expensive aftermarket parts during collision repair, sending many usable parts to landfills,” GM said.
As a result, in 2017, a team made up of employees within GM’s department of Customer Care and Aftersales, Global Purchasing and Supply Chain and Product Engineering began developing a headlamp remanufacturing process with supplier Llink Technologies.
The remanufacturing process specifically replaces the headlamp housing unit and lens, and reuses internal components like integrated circuit chips, materials and fans.
During this process, the remanufacturing team tests to ensure that each assembly meets OEM standards and specifications.
According to the automaker, Llink Technologies is able to reuse 70 to 90 percent of each headlamp housing unit that is returned and any non-usable parts such as the lens or damaged materials are then recycled.
The remanufactured headlamps also cost 40 percent less than GM OEM headlamps and all headlamps are sold exclusively through the OEM’s dealer network.
The first remanufactured headlamp program launched in 2021 with the 2016 to 2019 model years of the Chevrolet Silverado. According to the press release, the initial reception of the program was very successful with every remanufactured headlamp ending up in a customer vehicle—1,500 vehicles in 2021 and then another 8,000 in 2022.
The GM and Llink Technologies teams initially set out to reclaim 25 percent of the reusable components in headlamps but this goal was far exceeded and the current program can eliminate 95 percent of headlamp waste going to a landfill, GM said.
Now, remanufactured headlamps are currently available for select 2016 t0 2019 Silverado models as well as select 2018 to 2020 Equinox models.
GM has announced that the process will be available on additional vehicles in the future and plans to expand the process to other vehicle parts, although there are no updates on this as of yet.