The aim of this project under the Call:TWIN-TRANSITION-01-07: Digital tools to support the engineering of a Circular Economy, is to develop a digital twin based autonomous automatized dismantling and sorting pre-shredder recycling system (including robotics, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning) for the automotive or machinery industry to secure nearly 100% closed loop recycling in particular with respect to rare and valuable materials.
With respect to resource efficiency, closed loop recycling management already plays a major role. This is in particular true for highly complex technical devices, e.g. modern cars, electronical devices, machinery, domestic appliances. Where data driven automatization guides development and production of goods, the recycling is still based on manual disassembling and manual distribution of the parts with respect to their material classification. Classification of rare material would require additional effort in the pre-recycling process. Today, recycling in Europe is often not cost efficient and the “waste” is shifted from Europe to low cost countries, where recycling takes place under inhumane and ecological disastrous conditions. Further, often there is no recycling of materials like glass and plastics, and valuable rare materials are lost.
Closed loop recycling should be done with high technical standards as usual in production. Recycling has to be reconsidered as a manner of production of valuable material. In order to be cost efficient, automatization has to be introduced in all areas of disassembling, distribution of parts and material classification. This project is to provide the digital twin for the recycling economy as a base for automatized production of the recycling fraction and has been initiated by a German company that is highly specialized in the field of CAE (Computer Aided Engineering) and software based methods and processes.
The project does not aim to replace the shredder based recycling process. It will provide the base for a pre-process of automatized dismantling and sorting of goods, in order to achieve a nearly 100% yield rate of valuable materials, in particular rare earth metals.
As usual in production, also in recycling automatization will be a key driver towards cost efficiency and quality. The overall functionality of the automatized pre-process is key for cost efficiency. In this pre-process, the individual digital twins serve as a control map and guide the automatized dismantling machinery to perform the disassembly of each individual item (e.g. car type). A key factor in the process to generate digital twins for the recycling economy is the company’s in-house developed process to derivate CAE models based on optical scans taken from technical devices. Whereas digital twins for the production are highly classified and complex, they will never leave the production plant and will never be accessible to the public or the recycling industry. On the other hand, the requirements for the digital twins for the recycling industry should not be so complex.
The European consortium includes high profiled academic and industrial partners in particular in the field of machinery, robotics and control. Consortium leader of the project is a German based company specialized in CAE. The client’s customers are mainly from automotive, aerospace, energy, health and other industries. The client is dedicated to support the serial development integrated in their customers own process chain, as well as to develop tailored methods in the field of virtual product development.
There is one partner missing: A European recycling company, who is dismantling and recycling end-of-life vehicles. The task is to install the prototype of the autonomous system in a side line of the real industrial recycling process, integrated as field trial, as a pre-process to the shredder stage.
The deadline for submitting proposals is March 30th 2022
The deadline for EoIs is January 31st 2022