• Usman Wajid

Supporting Circular Processes in Connected Smart Factories

Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a widely used technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacturing, distribution, material use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling. Compliance with LCA requires manufacturing companies to establish collaborations with different stakeholders in the waste management domain. Similarly, highly customised solutions and special projects in the waste management domain require agile supply chain networks to respond to dynamic customer demands.

In the EFPF project, a particular pilot focus on supporting collaborative processes in the Circular Economy (CE) domain by enabling secure data exchange and advance technology adoption across the value chains. In the EFPF CE pilot, the partner KLEEMANN (KLE), a global manufacturer of Lift Systems, Escalators, Moving Walks and a specialist in lot-size-one projects such as anti-vandal lifts, oil rigs, marine solutions, requires agile relationships with different partners and suppliers in the waste management domain to be compliant with LCA regulations. KLE works with waste management companies, e.g. EFPF partner ELDIA (ELD), the largest waste management and recycling company in Greece, to dispose of solid waste. KLEEMANN's waste is screened to recover materials (paper, wood, plastics, metal, pallets, and glass) and then recycled for use in several industries from different sectors. For example, the EPFP partner MilOil consumes the recycled material to produce bio energy that is used by manufacturers, like KLE - this coversion of industrial waste into bio energy closes the loop in the circular process.

The EFPF projects the addresses the following key requirements of collaborative companies in the Circular Economy - as gathered by the CE pilot partners in the EFPF project:

  • Lack of a marketplace for collecting and selling industrial waste in a closed-loop supply chain

  • Limited shop-floor automation and absence of real-time data or visibility in the supply chain

  • Complex collaboration procedures, rules and diversity of IT systems within the supply chain

To address the these key requirements, the EFPF project has developed a number of technology solutions that can be used by collaborative companies to enable and support circular processes. The following video describes the solutions that are developed and implemented in the EFPF CE pilot to support the collaborative and circular processes involving multiple companies from the manufacturing, waste management and energy generation domains.

More details of the solutions are availabe on the project website: https://www.efpf.org/