Assemblaggio e smontaggio assistiti da robot per facilitare la rigenerazione e il riutilizzo di prodotti (REMANUFACTURING)

Funding type: Fusion Grant funded by Stiftung Südtiroler Sparkasse

Duration: 15/02/2023 – 15/05/2024

Industrial products significantly enhance our quality of life, but also contribute to a large amount of waste produced when they reach their end of life. Thus, the EU Parliament recently adopted its demand for a right to repair and in the third quarter of 2022, a new directive on trade-in goods, including a separate legal act on the right to repair is expected. This new act is supposed to significantly change industrial production and the way we act today when products reach their end-of-life. Instead of throwing them away, we are expected to trade them in, let them repair or remanufacture. The same goal is targeted by the Sustainable Development Goal 12 of the United Nations “Responsible consumption and production” that envisions by 2030, a substantial reduction in waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse and the achievement of a sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.

Unfortunately, today’s end-of-life treatment industries mostly destroy goods to allow materials to be separated and hardly focus on remanufacturing as the latter is very labor-intensive and thus, mostly economically unprofitable if not performed in countries with low labor costs. Automating remanufacturing processes may represent a solution and allow giving products a second life. However, efforts to automate such processes have been hampered by the uncertainty related to the physical integrity of goods and the resulting complexity of the remanufacturing process as well as the large variety of potential products.

In this project, we will consider the entire assembly and disassembly process of a product, as remanufacturability is directly related to the product architecture. In detail, we aim for developing a robot-assisted remanufacturing system that optimally shares the workload of assembling and disassembling between human and robot to speed up the overall process at reduced labor costs and without requiring a complete automation.