Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: In order to increase the competitiveness of EU industry and reduce the environmental footprint, manufacturing industries should develop innovative technologies and approaches to manufacture added-value products with fewer resources and to ensure a sustainable product life cycle based on reuse and re-manufacturing methods and technologies.

Innovative product recovery approaches would need to be developed in order to extract useful components from obsolete or malfunctioning modules, to re-use useful functions and/or materials for new products or to extend their lifespan. This will help save time, money, energy, and resources.

Modern high-tech products adopted in the electronics, medical, energy and transport industries are made of advanced materials that are at present poorly recovered and reused. Such materials with low substitutability and low recycling rates include advanced materials such as long and short fibre composites, nano-materials and bio-materials as well as more conventional materials that are today not considered for re-use due to absence of data on reprocessed performance.

This unsustainable scenario requires systemic solutions which are involving all relevant actors in the supply chain. On the one side, there is the need for new product design approaches (including end-of-life options, re-use and re-manufacturing aspects) with development of the built-in product ‘smartness’ (for ageing monitoring) and modularity (for improved reuse). On the other side, new re-/de-manufacturing processes with improved resource efficiency, or processes more tolerant to substitute materials are required.

Scope: Research activities should be multi-disciplinary and address all of the following areas:

-          Eco-innovative approaches for product design which are capable to take into account re-use and re-manufacturing aspects for enhanced product recovery and spare parts/services support.

-          New manufacturing and equipment concepts for re-use and re-manufacturing, with improved resource efficiency and service lifetime.

-          New technologies and automation solutions for the effective disassembly/separation and recovery of advanced materials.

-          Generation and validation of new business models to improve economic viability of closed-loop life cycles which make use of the systemic approaches for product life-cycle management.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 4-6.

This topic is particularly suitable for collaboration at international level, particularly under the IMS scheme.[1] Project partnerships that include independent organisations from IMS regions[2] are therefore encouraged. For a project to get the IMS label it must include independent organisations from at least two different IMS regions.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 3 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

The impact on the areas of application of the projects is expected to be:

·                A significant reduction of energy consumption in manufacturing activities by 2020.

·                A significant reduction in non-renewable materials through a combination of substitution, reuse, remanufacture and recycling of materials.

·                Reduction of minimum 20% in greenhouse gases emissions from manufacturing activities.

·                Reduction of waste generation by 10% minimum.

·                Enabling the manufacturing of eco-products.

·                Increase of above 20% in productivity rates.

·                Clear illustration of possibilities for new safe and sustainable jobs creation.

Type of action: Research & Innovation Actions

[1] IMS (Intelligent Manufacturing Systems) is an industry-led, global, collaborative research and development programme, started in 1995 as the world’s only multilateral collaborative R&D framework:

[2] The current member regions of IMS are the European Union, the United States of America, Mexico and the EFTA state of Norway.

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