News: Five feasibility studies are to be undertaken
Following on from the competition for funding Feasibility Studies in Remanufacturing and Reuse, five projects have been chosen. This is an increase from the three originally proposed as the response was much stronger than originally anticipated.
Tuesday, 6th November 2007
Details of the projects with their lead partners are set out below. 1. Redesign of a PDA for take-back/upgrade and 2nd/3rd use cycles Lead Partner: Wax RDC Meos is a new generation mobile broadband handset, enabling users to access the new wireless broadband services being introduced globally. Exoteq are interested in the commercial and environmental potential of remanufacture. They primarily wish to explore the new business opportunities and models created by remanufacture. This project will deal with Exoteq's second generation of handsets. Business model investigation New remanufacturing business model(s) which exploit the multiple revenue streams produced by remanufacture will be explored. This work would include identification of core collection techniques, remanufacturing partners in the UK, marketing potential and fundamentally the potential for revenue generation. The business model investigation will examine sources of funding for the remanufacturing system (i.e. financing the lease model). Design for Remanufacture The cost and time implications of designing Exoteq's second generation handset to suit a remanufacturing business model are unknown. The second element of this project proposes an investigation of the feasibility of Design for Remanufacture in parallel with the exploration of the remanufacturing business model. The study will investigate to what extent Design for Remanufacture can optimise the process of remanufacture for this handset and to what extent it can reduce environmental impacts. Importantly the project will review the effects (time and costs) of including the Design for Remanufacture in the design process. 2. Repurposing EoL high-end electronics into new applications Lead Partner: AxR Ltd Although many consumer electronic products have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of their processing and communication capabilities they are also becoming increasingly commoditized with users seeking new models after short periods of use. The discarded products are then consigned to a basic recycling process; this is not optimal and a better approach would be to repurpose and reuse the devices for new applications. There are high volume products that lend themselves to repurposing and reuse in new applications, a key example being mobile telephones. These typically have working lives of around seven years but are often discarded after only one year of use. This project aims to carry out a study into the feasibility of repurposing and reusing specific types of end of life electronic products and to identify the barriers and opportunities for each key type identified. This work will be carried out in the context of identifying the potential financial and environmental benefits such as resource and energy use optimization, landfill diversion and green house gas reduction as well. The project will be undertaken by AxR Ltd and will be supported by a number of companies including Sony and The Model Company with additional in-kind contributions. 3. Business plan development for a construction reuse resale centre Lead Partner: Bioregional This is an action research project to complete a feasibility study for a building materials reuse centre. Bioregional will work with WasteWISe Consultants Ltd and Minchinhampton Architectural Salvage Company (MASCo) to show how the Habitat for Humanity model from the US can be replicated in the UK. The study will include a fully costed, site specific business plan. We will establish feasibility in terms of operational aspects, financial viability, training and community development aspects and outline a strategy for the project's development including analysis of current legislatory and policy drivers, capital and running costs. The model will include training and NVQ placements and be set up as a not-for-profit company.
The business plan will be site specific but developed in a form that can serve as a template for replication, and be freely accessible in the public domain. A fully replicable demonstration project would provide the evidence base to catalyse a step change in the use of reclaimed materials in construction. One demonstration project could save around 5,000 tonnes of materials and CO2 per centre per year. We estimate the potential for 100+ such centres across the UK. For the latest news and developments in this project, follow the link on this page to the Bioregional website. 4. Design of removable clothing motifs to enable secure garment reuse Lead Partner: Salvation Army Trading Co. Ltd The visual identity of corporate clothing is partly determined by embroidered emblems or logos durably attached to the fabric surface. Currently at the end of life, such embroidered emblems cannot be economically removed from the garments without damaging the underlying fabric. Consequently corporate clothing, which may be highly specified, is frequently discarded at the end of its first life, which usually occurs well before the performance of the garment or constituent fabric has deteriorated to a point that it is not serviceable. At present there is no cost-effective means of facilitating the reuse of such garments by physical removal of the corporate logos. To enable the cost-effective reuse of high-performance embroidered corporate garments, by either existing users or new customers, an innovative rapid method of emblem removal is required. Ideally it will have the potential to become an automated process. Corporate garments could then be reused either without an emblem or with the addition of a newly embroidered insignia. The technical feasibility of removing embroidered motifs without recourse to the labour intensive process of unpicking the embroidered yarn assembly will be evaluated experimentally using three different technical approaches to establish the most suitable technique. 5. Development of a remanufacturing design tool for heavy industry Lead Partner: University of Strathclyde Strathclyde research work on integrated modular design has resulted in a design methodology entitled GeMoCURE, which has been tested in several new products successfully. Similar to other modular methodology, all these applications of the approach focus on new product development. It is believed that GeMoCURE can be equally applicable and useful in product remanufacture and especially in product upgrading scenarios. This is based on modularity bringing many advantages to remanufacturing by identifying and reusing product modules from existing products to be upgraded. This is also supported by initial findings from past projects. Modular approaches are proposed to investigate theories and algorithms for new products, but few practicable tools have been developed to facilitate the process of modular design for remanufacturing and reuse. GeMoCURE can address these considerations and issues. Two case study companies have been identified to support this work. They are typical high-value added remanufacture and new product manufacturers, to whom this new approach is imperative. This project aims to apply and validate this methodology for product remanufacturing and reuse, with a particular interest in upgrade. It is estimated that savings made from upgrade can be as much as 50% of the product value.
Request for stakeholder engagement from the Wuppertal Institute
The Wuppertal Institute are looking for reuse and remanufacturing stakeholders to contribute to two projects analysing the barriers to reuse and remanufacturing in Europe.
RICS tackles the Circular Economy and Public Interest
David Fitzsimons will take part in a breakfast discussion at the ICE to answer the question: why is the Circular Economy still only a minority issue among business leaders and policy makers?