Harms & WENDE GMBH & CO.KGCircular Economy in Industrial Manufacturing

Can European manufacturing industries boost competitiveness and productivity by embracing the circular economy?

A consortium of researchers and manufacturing companies from nine countries, among them Harms & Wende GmbH & Co KG and Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, launched the RECLAIM manufacturing project to do just this. They hope to improve the environment and the economy with new recycle and reuse techniques to reduce obsolescence and to demonstrate the advantages of high-tech refurbishment.

The project focuses on harnessing digital analytics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and circular economy strategies to improve predictive maintenance and upgrade legacy machines. Known as digital retrofitting, this could be the key to staying one step ahead of possible disruption and production failures.

The technological core is a novel Decision Support Framework that guides the optimal refurbishment and re-manufacturing of electromechanical machines and robotic systems. The framework uses IoT sensors, novel prediction and process optimisation techniques to offer machine lifetime extension and thus increased productivity. Innovative fog-computing and augmented reality techniques are combined with enhanced health monitoring and failure inspection as well as diagnosis methodologies that enhance the effective use of materials and improve maintenance capabilities.

Harms & Wende in Karlsruhe is one of five key pilot sites testing the application in welding technology. Further sectors include woodwork (Switzerland), textiles (Turkey), robotics (Slovenia), white goods (Czech Republic) and footwear (Spain). The demonstration cases are firmly focused on working with the industry to meet their requirements and develop technologies with a bottom-up approach.

As a partner in the project, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum is responsible for the exploitation of project results and is managing synergies with other national and European projects, such as EFFRA, the European Factories of the Future Research Association.

„“By 2025, 15% of all material used in the European economy should be reused. RECLAIM will provide strategies and decision-making tools that accelerate the development and deployment of digital technologies in manufacturing. This is especially important for ageing equipment that often requires time-consuming manual data crunching and analysis to gain any real performance and maintenance insights.”“

Michael Peschl, Harms & Wende and project coordinator

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Maëva Pratlong
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Maëva Pratlong

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