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EU-funded project makes advances in sustainable manufacturing

‘Use-it-wisely’ researches new ways to extend lifespan of products

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Leading heads from manufacturing, research, academia and policy presented the research results of the EU-funded project at an event in Brussels on October 18. 

The ‘use-it-wisely’ project, funded under the FP7 framework and running until the end of the year, addresses sustainability challenges in six sectors: power plant turbines; mobile rock crushers; space products; trucks; shipping; and office furniture. 

It is made up of 20 partners from nine European countries across researchers, manufacturers and their customers. 

“Through effective upgrade innovation, we can achieve sustainable solutions for demanding customers,” said Göran Granholm, project coordinator from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. “This will help industry struggling with keeping abreast of global competition, new technologies and changing requirements.” 

“[The project] has created innovative frameworks and tools using virtual reality [and] augmented reality, as well as business models that allow European manufacturers to face the challenges of rapidly changing markets,” said Erastos Filos, research programme officer with the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation.

Karin Verploegen, representing Gispen, a Dutch industrial designer, explained her aim was to prolong the lifespan of furniture by implementing the principles of the circular economy. Gispen and Dutch research institute TNO together developed two tools to enhance sustainable business practices.

Tommi Mannerjoki from RD Velho spoke about research carried out on upgrades of mobile rock crushers. With new technologies becoming accessible in 3D scanning, augmented reality and additive manufacturing, Mannerjoki and his project partners in Metso Minerals researched how to easily gather 3D information from mobile crushing machines and how to manufacture single parts. 

Björn Johansson, a professor with Chalmers University of Technology, worked with Volvo during the project to enhance factory floor changes in the production of truck cabs. 

Johansson outlined the challenges of continuous changes in the production environment and the subsequent requirements for the production system to be continuously upgraded.

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