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Circular economy for technology industries

Circular design, longer lifecycle and remanufacturing creates new business

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​Circular products  

Longer life of the products is enabled by entire life-cycle thinking, design and solutions for slowing, narrowing and closing the loop. Products with longer life are often built of 're-things' like remanufacturing and reuse coupled with the circular business models with new actors in the business ecosystem, including sustainable and responsible use of resources, materials and energy. Many times improved functionality and performance are also enablers for longer life-cycle of the product. 

From waste to value

Secondary resources, example end of life products, industrial side streams and waste are our wasted resources of today if they are not utilized and returned to the use. The primary design strategies for residue utilization can be cost reduce, waste reduce, energy reduce, achievable with innovative production and manufacturing technologies, symbiosis, ecosystems and end use solutions crossing the industrial sectors and silos.

Circular economy business models

New business models example Products as service or Shared products and sharing platforms enables circular economy and enables new technological innovations for circular economy to end up to the market.

 Circular economy business models

  • CIRCULAR DESIGN is in a core of Circular Economy, enabling the positive development towards wise use of resources. Circular design strategies for slowing, narrowing and closing the loops involve responsible lifecycle solutions and product ecosystem understanding and building. Circular design is targeting for extending product lifecycles, using resources more efficiently and closing the materials loops. This means way of design and manufacturing using raw materials that recycle, way of increasing manufacturing sustainability, manufacturing with additive technologies for decreasing waste, product modularity for dis and reassembly, digital product data and tracking for increased circularity etc. Read more from tab A.

 

  • SUSTAINABILITY target from the environmental point of view is essential in order to use planet resources wisely and responsible way in our society and eliminate the enormous waste generation of today. Therefore both sustainability and responsivity are not separate subjects but cover all aspect of product life-cycle. For technology industry activities include example handprint development, sustainable value creation in manufacturing and sustainable business models. Read more from tab B.

 

  • REMANUFACTURING means a return a used product to at least its original performance with a warranty that is equivalent to or better than that of the newly manufactured product. Remanufacturing is an essensial part of sustainable design and offers potential enable for new business and increasingly raising area of development. Read more from tab C.  

 

  • MATERIALS OUT OF SECONDARY RESOURCES can be used in various applications. They are not necessary used in the same industrial sector that generates waste, nor necessary used again in the products that they have been used, but in completely other utilization solution with second and third lifes. Our target is to develop as high added value as possible for secondary resources based materials and products in order to achieve a profitable business case. Read more from tab D.

 

  • PRODUCTS and SERVICES utilizing circular economy business models enable new business opportunities for companies. Our activities include example user driven business models, sustainable business models etc. Read more from tab E.

 

Circular product design

Circular design strategies involve understanding the whole product lifecycle, and offering of lifecycle solutions. Circular design is targeting for extending product lifecycle, resource efficiency and closing the materials loops: including the design and manufacturing using raw materials that recycle, increasing manufacturing sustainability, additive manufacturing for decreasing waste, product modularity for dis and reassembly, digital product data and tracking for increased circularity. Our activities include acitivities and references: 

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Sustainable manufacturing – MANU 

Visualization of Sustainability Key Performance Indicators (VS-KPI) project was part of FIMECC's MANU program during 2013–2015. The aim of the VS-KPI-subproject was to develop a process model for identifying and implementing relevant sustainability KPIs, and linking the measurement results to performance improvement and management. The special focus was on manufacturing and product design. The developed Sustainability Measurement Framework is based on Six Sigma and can be adapted to all product life-cycle phases.

Closing the loop for added value materials - CloseLoop

Project CloseLoop is an ambitious Circular Economy initiative that focuses on closing the loop of the high-added-value materials in the secondary circle of materials flow, in order to decrease the demand of primary raw materials and to support generation of carbon neutral societies. We focus on high-added-value materials that are often very complex hybrid materials and are essential in all the fields of modern society: ICT, energy, mobility, construction, health and welfare. By means of a very strong interaction plan involving all key Finnish stakeholders, we will increase understanding of the economical and societal sustainability and closing-the loop of the high-added-value materials; facilitate efforts to overcome the potential political, economic, environmental and technological barriers; and help to exploit our new technical solutions (link).

 

Process chart 

From data to wisdom – Approaches enabling circular economy CASE D2W ­

Novel business models that leverage the largely untapped potential of circular economy are gradually emerging in several industries including metals and engineering industry, chemical and biotechnical industry, and pulp and paper industry. These business models are disruptive by their nature as they change value creation and distribution logics of entire supply chains. While most existing academic research and development activities in firms have focused on the crucial role of material flows in developing new business models, the Data to Wisdom (D2W) project focuses on information flows in the circular economy. The goal is the systematic identification and creation of relevant data in radically new value constellations, and the conversion of this data into wisdom that is used to pilot and implement new circular business models. The developed approaches enabling circular economy will be tested together with partner companies.

TMOD – (more info coming)

 

Sustainability

Environmental sustainability target is essential in order to use planet resources wisely and responsible way in our society and eliminate the enormous waste generation of today. Therefore both sustainability and responsivity are not separate subjects but cover all aspect of product lifecycle. For technology industry activities include handprint development, sustainable value creation in manufacturing and sustainable business models. Find here some examples of the ongoing sustainability activities and reference projects for Technology industries

  • Sustainable Value Creation in Manufacturing Networks, The pioneering project SustainValue (Sustainable Value Creation in Manufacturing Networks) project was a small-scale collaborative project within the EU 7th framework programme. The overall aim of the project was to develop industrial models, solutions and performance standards for new sustainable and more performing production and service networks. The SustainValue project has generated several new methods and tools for developing sustainable manufacturing networks, see more.

 

  • Eco Process Engineering System for composition of services to optimize product life cycle - EPES project was collaborative project within the EU 7th framework 2011-2015. During the project, in collaboration with European companies and research institutes, VTT has developed a cloud-based, easily customized, modular software platform for improving the sustainability performance of industrial products by lowering production costs and reducing emissions. The platform provides a virtual collaborative environment for organisations that are jointly developing the same product and/or service, with a focus on sustainability. VTT developed the simulation module for the system, allowing implementation of customized and easily automated simulation services to support decision-making processes. The other parties involved in the project in addition to VTT were Tecnalia from Spain, acting as project co-ordinator, ATB from Germany, software companies Sisteplant from Spain and Esteco from Italy, and the companies Airbus Group, Tamoin and NKT, with whom the results of the development work were tested. http://www.epes-project.eu/en/home/
  • Read more: http://www.vttresearch.com/media/news/industrial-virtual-factory-lowers-costs-and-reduces-emissions

 

  • Handprint development. VTT coordinates the Carbon handprint project, where the guidelines for the assessment of the positive actions and communicating are developed. The aim of the project is to develop a science-based method of handprint, which will be useful for companies and their customers' needs. Handprint can be used to measure and communicate the products and activities related to the environmental benefits, as well as helps customers activities towards competitive but sustainable choices. The project will also assess the suitability of handprint concept to other environmental aspects, such as water, energy, waste and land use. The development of the handprint method is carried out with companies in order to ensure its usability in various industries and different size companies. One of the objectives of the project is the international cooperation in the area. (More information: saija.vatanen(at)vtt.fi)

 

  • The transition towards sustainable products, services and production will require significant shifts in the design, manufacture and use of products and services. StraSUS project 2013-2015 explored how networked companies should improve their sustainability-based decisions as a part of their product and service development processes. The project creates new ways which support the sustainable value creation and its measurement and validation in the networked business from the perspective of involved stakeholders, and over different life cycle phases of product-service systems. –Read about the Strategic business models and governance for sustainable solutions here: link.

​Remanufacturing

Remanufacturing means a return a used product to at least its original performance with a warranty that is equivalent to or better than that of the newly manufactured product. Remanufacturing offers potential enable for new business and increasingly raising area of development.


Please read more of our references and starting activities:

 

​Products of secondary resources 

Can be used in various applications. They are not necessary used in the same industrial sector that generated waste, or not necessary used again in the products that they have been used, but in completely other utilization solution. Our target is to develop as high added value as possible for secondary resources based materials and products. Find here some examples of our activities on this area – how to turn waste into value, added value products:

 

  • VTT has a piloting service for residues, side streams and waste utilization from powders to products. About our technologies and infrastructure:  http://www.vtt.fi/powder

 

  • Turning waste into value, EU REslag-project is turning waste from steel industry into valuable low cost feedstock for energy intensive industry, read more from web: http://www.reslag.eu/

 

  • Novel synthesis methods for advanced porous ceramics from mine tailings -CERATAIL project- (2015- 2019) funded by Academy of Finland is aiming added value technical ceramics using Finnish mining wastes. The processing methods developed are requiring less energy than conventional high temperature sintering.

 

  • Come to Challenge Finland. The novel utilization of secondary raw materials in powder based products and components, Challenge Finland project. Read more from web: link

 

CASE Turning waste into value

- SLAG WASTE AS FEEDSTOCK FOR INNOVATIVE REFRACTORY CERAMICS, see more about the project: http://www.reslag.eu/

 

  • Refractories are inorganic non-metallic materials which are used at high temperatures usually exceeding 1,000 ºC and they should remain chemically and physically stable at high temperatures.
  • The European refractory industry produces 5,5 million tons of refractory ceramics annually, The main products are:
            • Magnesia refractories 2,4 million tons
            • Fireclay refractories 1,2 million tons
            • High alumina refractories 0,8 million tons.
  • In production of different types of refractories thermal processing (firing) is the most remarkable step for energy consumption (Fig 2. energy intensity)
  • To decrease environmental loading such as CO2 emissions the most powerful way is to develop processing routes enabling decrease of use of external energy.
  • Two main approaches to decrease energy intensity:
            • Maximizing amount of by-products in raw material mixtures for castable insulating refractories
            • In-situ sintering of insulating linings to decrease energy intensity of refractory products


>> Outcome of the work will be demonstration low energy intensity refractories in industrial pilot scale production
 

 

​Circular economy Business models

New models of Products as service or Shared products and sharing platforms enables circular economy and new technological innovations for circular economy to end up to the market.


PRODUCTS and SERVICES utilizing circular economy business models enable new opportunities for companies. Our activities include example user driven business models, sustainable business models, value capturing of platform ecosystems etc. The examples of our activities include.


CASE: Gamified Foresight for Circular Economy Developing a future-oriented game for business model development for circular economy: Conceptual framework for participatory circular business model development.

 

Participatory approach 

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