Rebuy Grading Center - Refurbishing für eine nachhaltige Kreislaufwirtschaft

Refurbishing for a Sustainable Closed-loop Economy

rebuy recommerce GmbH

mk Supplies Workbenches and Conveyor Technology for the Task

rebuy is a company trading in used electronic devices and media to ensure greater sustainability and a real closed-loop economy. It recently established a new and complete pilot system for the automated inspection and processing of smartphones at its Berlin site. mk supplied the conveyor lines and workstations that made this new system a reality, with a solution that needed to be particularly simple and flexible.

rebuy recommerce GmbH buys and sells used electronic devices and media. The company was founded in 2004. With over 500 staff in 28 countries, rebuy has become a European market leader in the field of used electronics and media. As well as mobile phones, smartwatches, games consoles and cameras, rebuy also buys and sells media such as books, films, music and video games. The company wants to help establish a real closed-loop economy. Used goods are bought, inspected, cleaned, reset and sold on again with a rebuy warranty, meaning products remain in circulation for longer and resources are saved. This is the stated aim of rebuy – true sustainability.

In April 2021, the rebuy subsidiary rebuy electronics GmbH was founded in Falkensee near Berlin, Germany. It focuses exclusively on quality checks and the categorisation, or “grading”, of used smartphones and their subsequent processing. One particularly impressive feature at the site is the new automated processes for visually and technically evaluating the used devices.

A Recommendation

rebuy needed workbenches and conveyor systems to interlink its dispatch area (inbound/outbound) and the manual inspection in the grading area. “The partner that supplied us with the system for automatically checking the smartphones recommended the workstations and conveyor technology from mk”, explains Dirk Schuhmann, the location manager in Falkensee. “Thankfully, that meant we didn’t have a long search – we just got in touch with our recommended contact directly.” Over a number of on-site visits, the mk Technical Sales team managed to work out the right solution with rebuy.

New Work

“The workbenches were easy to design because our standard solutions met their requirements”, says Dirk Hofemann, Regional Sales Director East at mk and the central point of contact for the project. Thanks to mk’s flexible aluminium profile system, the workbenches could be designed and arranged exactly as Dirk Schuhmann needed. “We wanted the workbenches to have an ergonomic design that keeps our staff happy and motivated while working at them”, reports Schuhmann. “Alongside the major issue of sustainability, a good working atmosphere for our staff is vital to rebuy.”

Convert, Adapt, Expand – In Short, Keep Developing

Previously, the smartphones were largely processed manually. However, people assess a product differently based on their mood, the time of day and their experience. With that in mind, rebuy aimed to automate the inspection of the devices to the greatest extent possible. The test processes were standardised and a system concept for a pilot line was developed. Dirk Schuhmann recalls: “The important thing for us was to buy a flexible system. We weren’t looking for a one-way street. With a brand new system like this, it’s important not to fix everything in place beforehand, so we can still adapt things afterwards.”

Thus, the requirement for the conveyor technology was a simple, flexible and robust system, not a complex solution. The mk conveyor system Versaflex was ideal for the purpose – the system can easily be adapted to new requirements. The flat top chain used as the transport medium also enables complex three-dimensional route layouts.

Dirk Schuhmann, rebuy electronics GmbH
The important thing for us was to buy a flexible system. We weren’t looking for a one-way street. With a brand new system like this, it’s important not to fix everything in place beforehand, so we can still adapt things afterwards.

At the Falkensee site, the delivered smartphones are transported through the entire process in open-front storage boxes. This ensures all the accessories are kept together, and the smartphones can be clearly identified at any time by the barcode on the box. One Versaflex conveyor system serves as a buffer line conveying the boxes from the goods receipt area to the next station, where the smartphones are loaded and the software is reset. Another Versaflex conveyor system was needed to transport the boxes to the grading area with the manual workstations. There, the employees remove the open-front storage boxes from the conveyor system and manually clean and check the smartphones. After processing, the boxes have to be transported on for an automated inspection. It was vital to ensure that the open-front storage boxes did not return to the same conveyor line following the manual inspection. There had to be clear separation between unchecked and checked smartphones. The Versaflex conveyor system was designed with two levels with that in mind.

And Now?

The plant in Falkensee has been running smoothly since coming fully into operation a year ago. In the meantime, the whole dispatch area has been relocated to an adjacent hall. As a result, the first Versaflex conveyor system was no longer needed at its original installation location. rebuy was able to move the conveyor to a new point in the overall system itself. There, the open-front storage boxes are transported from the automatic inspection to the final inspection area. The plan is to adapt the Versaflex conveyor system to the new requirements, which means elongating the conveyor line, adding stopping stations, and so on. “The system from mk enables us to do exactly what we wanted”, Dirk Schuhmann explains. “We are constantly developing the site, improving and optimising it, and the conveyor technology adapts very well.” Once again, this flexibility plays into the theme of sustainability, because the machines stay in circulation for longer and resources can thus be conserved.

There are no plans for other sites of this kind at present. “We still have a lot of potential to increase capacities at the Falkensee site”, explains Dirk Schuhmann. Conveying paths can be lengthened so that more workstations can be operated. More of the booths for performing the fully-automated inspection of the smartphones can also be purchased. “For the moment, we can let off some steam and continue developing the system”, says Dirk Schuhmann. If more conveyor lines are needed, rebuy will turn to mk once again. “We were very happy with the whole collaboration. I particularly enjoyed working together with Mr Hofemann for that brief time, and I was really happy with the mk design department.” Dirk Hofemann too is looking forward to collaborating with Dirk Schuhmann and rebuy in the future.

About rebuy recommerce

rebuy recommerce GmbH gives used products a new life. The company’s vision: to utilize existing resources and protect the environment. At their online shop at, customers can buy and sell used electronics and media products that are both good value and high quality at the same time.

rebuy recommerce GmbH

Erkelenzdamm 11-13
10999 Berlin, Germany
Phone +49 69 500 70 570