Led by mechanical engineers at the University of Birmingham, an EPSRC-funded project will set out in April 2016 to investigate robots collaborating with humans in remanufacturing. Remanufacturing is the process of returning a product to at least its original performance. Compared to manufacturing, remanufacturing can use as little as 10% of the energy and raw materials required, while saving more than 80% in CO2 emissions.

“People are using robots in manufacturing, but not in remanufacturing - or more specifically in the critical disassembly stage of remanufacturing,” says Professor Duc Pham, the principal investigator. “We will be the first in the world to adopt a scientific multi-disciplinary approach to disassembly problems. We aim to understand disassembly processes in depth. Such a fundamental understanding does not exist but is necessary to support the development of robotic disassembly systems that can handle variability in the product, a common issue in remanufacturing.”

The project will be in partnership with three UK manufacturers - Caterpillar, Meritor and MG Motor - all with a strong interest in automotive remanufacturing. Two technology translating partners - the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Research Institute and the Manufacturing Technology Centre - will help disseminate the project.

The team is looking to recruit industrial users and academic researchers to form a network for sharing information from the project and the field of remanufacturing in general. You can email the team to express your interest in joining the network.

External Link