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  • Final Report Summary - FURNITREUSE (Developing innovative method for recycling used chip board furniture and plastics by producing new environment friendly reusable multipurpose composite material)

Final Report Summary - FURNITREUSE (Developing innovative method for recycling used chip board furniture and plastics by producing new environment friendly reusable multipurpose composite material)

Executive Summary:
The major goal of the FurnitReuse project was to develop a prototype recycling machine which can process (with the use of microwave heating) incompatible and otherwise not recyclable waste materials such as shredded chip (particle) boards commonly found in used office and domestic furniture, as well as other wood based products, unsorted and unmarked plastics including ABS, and other plastics.
Consortium initially consisted of 4 RTDs (SUT, IGB, KOBIT, MFKK) and 5 SMEs (EKOTECH, HERMEX, TGAMA, INGEN, USTUN). During realization of the project two of the SMEs left the project (EKOTECH and TGAMA) which slightly complicated the realization but did not disturbed the completing of all the milestones and deliverables.
The initial scientific investigations allowed to propose the original concept of the FurnitReuse prototype machine consisting of main parts:
- Mechanical (led by SUT)
- Microwave (led by IGB)
- Power system (led by MFKK)
- Control system (led by KOBIT)
All the sub-systems were designed in close cooperation among RTD Partners and with big engagement of SME Partners and tested in laboratory environment.
Next step was the integration of all the sub-systems in fully working beta-prototype of FurnitReuse machine. The integration was done in Poland (at HERMEX seat in Tarnowskie Góry). Integration was successful and beta-prototype of FurnitReuse machine was developed and initially tested for correctness of work. Due to microwave usage special measurements of produced machine were performed to check its safety. All the subsystems were run together and was controlled by the developed control system.
The validation process showed that prototype is ready to produce the composite material as it was planned. Some material samples was produced and tested to check the properties of composite and its usefulness for planned final products. During production process and environmental tests several improvements for final machine were proposed and implemented into the documentation.
Project Context and Objectives:
Each year thousands of tons of used office and domestic furniture reach end of their live. At present commonly used methods such as shredding and landfill or combustion are expensive and have negative impact on the environment. Other methods such as pyrolysis and gasification are still deployed on a small scale. In general almost any method used to process such stream of waste contributes to the global warming by generating indirectly carbon dioxide and a lot of potentially harmful substances released while combusting plates painted with different lacquers and surface varnishes. On the other hand each year tens of thousands of new trees must be cut down every year to satisfy the demand for new wooden products while so much potentially recyclable material is simply being burnt at the same time. Needless to say, large amounts of wood are produced in tropical countries and the paste of this process in most cases will not allow for parallel substitution of new forests.
In parallel plastics such as ABS used in computer screen casings and other peripherals such as photocopiers and printers pose another challenge. In most cases after being separated from metal and electronic parts plastic components are sorted, if possible separated, then crushed and milled locally, and later delivered for final recycling which commonly means sending this raw material to Far East locations. Needless to say, unlike with other plastics such polyethylene, this method only moves the problem away without solving it accordingly.
To resolve the above mentioned issues the members of FurnitReuse have proposed a concept which assumes that crushed particle boards as well as other wood waste can be mixed with plastics such as ABS to form a composite material. The range of proposed application of the new composite material is vast including first applications in transport pallets and noise-absorbing screens replacing wood and concrete/plastics. The proposed process is both innovative and environmentally friendly since no chemical compounds needs to be added to activate and control it.
The major goal of the FurnitReuse project was to develop a prototype recycling machine which can process with the use of microwave heating incompatible and otherwise not recyclable waste materials such as shredded chip (particle) boards commonly found in used office and domestic furniture, as well as other wood based products, unsorted and unmarked plastics including ABS, and other plastics. The process of combining fragmented wooden items and polymers such as ABS, PC, PVC and PS was evaluated and assessed from the perspective of its impact on mechano-physical characteristics of the resulting composite material.
Project Results:
Description of main S&T results / foregrounds

Significant Results
- Complex permittivity has been measured at selected frequency for the case study materials
- Response of the case study materials or the impact of the microwaves on materials has been characterised at different levels of microwave power using small scale samples in a lab microwave unit with temperature sensors.

Significant Results
- Based on Quality function deployment (QFD) method, an optimum technique to couple microwave power out of selected and simulated methods has been chosen
- Operational requirements and specifications for the feedback and control systems have been established.
- The feeding input and output location compatible to all features of the system has been identified.
- Deliverable report 3.1 has been completed and submitted comprising on concept of resistive heating module, simulation model, concept of power supply and measurement of initial permittivity
- Deliverable report 3.2 has been completed and submitted comprising of possible and intended methods for coupling microwave power to the FurnitReUse reactor. The recommendations for lab and industrial prototype are also laid out. The plan for development of electrical power source has also been detailed out.

Task 3.1 Specifications and designs
Following a detail study of case materials and establishment of required mechanical specifications for FurnitReUse system, the simulations has been performed. Based on simulation results and mechanical requirements, the microwave design has been chosen and specifications for prototype are defined.

Task 3.2 Creation of microwave heating module
The suitable microwave coupling mechanisms including horn antennas and slotted waveguide antennas are simulated and investigated. The coupling mechanism is finalized based on system and consortium requirements.

WP5 - Integration and testing
WP5 objective: was to integrate the developed components into a working prototype while achieving operational objectives described in Annex I. The development objectives were:
• to test the prototype against above mentioned operational objectives
• to investigate into any deviations in operation in laboratory environment from initial requirements.
• to optimize critical machine components.
• to have two working, tested and validated Beta-prototype.
WP5 Results: The integration of Furnitreuse components into working prototype was completed. The developed components were shipped to the site of HERMEX SME partner in Tarnowskie Góry, where common workshops were organized with the attendance of all RTD partners. The machine sub-systems were installed and trial-run was performed.
The integration of Furnitreuse components into working prototype were completed in Task 5.1.
The chamber was integrated with power electronics (resistance heating&cooling system, microwave heating module) and power supply. The power supply, heating and cooling subsystems along with the microwave heating module and heating chamber was assembled and tested. The sensors and data acquisition module was connected with control system. The completion of the Beta-prototype has been as reported in D5.1.
The main subsystems are:
- mechanical components and drives (described in chapter 1 of D5.1),
- cooling/heating system (described in chapter 2 of D5.1),
- control and sensory system (described in chapter 3 of D5.1).
Each of them was separately run, tested and optimized.
After this beta-prototype of FurnitReuse was built, run and tested, showing satisfying preparation of all subsystems and their good fit in the final product.
In order to enable safe and efficient operations in laboratory and field trials a user guild including the description of the GUI has been prepared for the Beta FurnitReuse prototype (D5.2).
Significant Results
- All sub-systems developed by RTD participants were integrated into one unit in this WP.
- An integration plan was developed to ensure easy deployment of the FurnitReUse system. Additionally, a modular approach was adopted in the development stage to allow switch on/off required number of magnetrons.
- The system has been put in operation and safety has been tested

Task 5.1 Integration of FurnitReUse components into working prototype
The magnetrons, launchers and waveguides are integrated on the top of the reactor. The microwave shielding is placed between each flange from magnetron to the microwave input location on the reactor. The water cooling circulation of magnetron and H.V cables are routed and attached.

Task 5.2 Tests of prototype in laboratory environment
The safe emission limit of 5mW/cm2 defined by IEC 60519-6 has been tested for various input powers. The emission measurement results were below the limits. Hence, the system is safe to run by qualified and trained personnel according to specified safety precautions for FurnitReuse system.

Task 5.3 Improvements and optimization
The operation and the overall performance were investigated based on the test results. During the testing of the heating/cooling system and power supply oil leakage was detected. The problem was analyzed and corrected. The report D5.3 shows the results of modification and recommendation for the changes made in the design of the device and the suggested change to be considered before mass production. All changes made on the device does not cause it to malfunction, which is confirmed by the results of the tests.
Deviations and corrective actions: Instead of the planned 2 prototype 1 has been produced due to the cost issues however the tests were commenced as per the plans by both end users site in Poland. (In accordance to the agreement of the project partners, and the amended Annex I.).

WP6 - Validation and demonstration
Performance of the integrated FurnitReuse machine was validated in the laboratory as well as in real conditions. At the end of the project the prototype (working in field conditions) was presented to the potential customer from Turkey.
The results of the validation and demonstration were widely described in the following reports:
D6.1 Report from validation in laboratory environment
D6.2 Report from validation in field Conditions
D6.3 Public information about system validation

Significant Results
The training material and safety instructions were prepared.
Task 7.1 Training
Basic training of the operation of the FurnitReuse machine was done during technical meeting on 19.07.2013
Task 7.2 Dissemination
Project results were widely disseminated by all the Partners. Complete list of major dissemination activities consists of 35 various events and publications. No technical publications were published due to the confidence of the obtained project results. For the whole project duration the FurnitReuse website is active and regularly actualized. Most of the Partners published additional information about the FurnitReuse project on their own websites. The project is also published in English and German language in annual report of Fraunhofer IGB which has been spread out in the form of hard copy to a large number of industrial and academic partners including engaged in environmental sector. The annual report is available to a wide public on the homepage of Fraunhofer IGB -

Potential Impact:
FurnitReuse can benefit European recycling SMEs by giving them a novel environmentally friendly and affordable machine enabling for eco-friendly recycling of various wooden and plastic refuse. This new device do not produce any waste and it uses energy in efficient way due to proposed innovations. In addition the new composite material produced with FurnitReuse will be even more eco-friendly, since it can be recycled again when an item reaches its end of lifetime (e.g. broken transport pallets).
FurnitReuse can also open up new opportunities for SMEs involved in the manufacture and production of the device, and will directly help end user SMEs who will be able to take advantage of providing a value added product made of a new composite material. In addition to benefiting both technical and media SMEs of Europe, FurnitReuse can help protect the environment by avoiding waste production, conserving energy and natural resources by decreasing the demand for wood in many basic applications.
Impact for the SME proposers
Planned impact for the SME proposers was strongly disturbed by market changes and individual circumstances causing that 3 of 5 proposing SMEs are no longer active. Hence the owners of the foreground technology are not able to exploit it on their own as it was planned in the proposal. Actually the technology is for sale and some negotiations with potential end-users are in progress.
Main dissemination activities
FurnitReuse project and its partial as well as final results were widely presented to the various audience during meetings, workshops and exhibitions. All the partners (including SMEs) were involved in the dissemination process. There was some questions raised from the market about the technology and its opportunities.

List of Websites:
Project website is:

Coordinator Contact:
Grzegorz Kłapyta
Silesian University of Technology
Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Department of Mechatronics
ul. Akademicka 10a
44-100 Gliwice
tel. +48 32 2372803
fax +48 32 2372709

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