Remanufacturing of neonatal incubators: a sustainable option to providing affordable incubators

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Introduction Neonatal Incubators are medical devices used to ensure the thermal stability of sick newborns and premature infants while they receive intensive care. Recent technological advancement has resulted in rapid obsolescence of many neonatal incubators. As a result, there exist a stockpile of obsolete and dysfunctional incubators in many hospitals, warehouses and repair houses, especially in developing countries. Economically, newer models of the equipment are usually more expensive and unaffordable in regions where they are most needed. Despite the increase in the demand for the neonatal incubator, previous studies have not dealt with issue of its sustainability in much detail. Yet, the cost of medical care for newborn continue to rise globally. Remanufacturing has been shown to be a potential solution for making medical equipment more sustainable. This review paper will examine the prospects of remanufacturing, an industrial process of restoring used products to “like-new” condition with matching warranty, to improve the sustainability, availability and affordability of standard neonatal incubators. Methods In performing this literature review, the databases Scopus, Cochrane Library, PubMed (Medline) and Google Scholar were searched for articles that had relevance to the topic “remanufacturing neonatal incubator” using different combinations of keywords. Previous reviews including cross references, abstracts, conferences and symposia proceedings were all considered in this review. Articles were inspected for relevance checking their titles, abstracts and conclusions. Results & Discussion Search results returned zero publications on “Remanufacturing neonatal incubator”. Findings from literature have revealed a focus on improving temperature, humidity controls and sensors, exposure to high noise levels, structural design issues, lighting and illumination within the incubator, exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and handling of the incubator. However, only two (2) articles were found which discussed the possibility of reusing the incubator through product repairs. Clearly, assessing the end of life (EOL) of the neonatal incubator has not been sufficiently explored. Conclusion Remanufacturing therefore presents a cost-effective approach by reducing raw materials consumption, energy demands for new manufacturing, specialized labour intensity and landfill disposal of used equipment. This approach will ensure that the impact of the incubator on landfills will be reduced while neonatal incubators are more available and affordable thereby reducing the rising cost of newborn care globally. This, novel idea, could be a long-term sustainable solution to the challenge of newborn care.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2019
EventBioMedEng19 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sep 20196 Sep 2019


Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • neonatal incubators
  • sustainability
  • remanufacturing


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