Interview with the CE4Con experiment

The KYKLOS4.0 Open Call #2 is funding seventeen experiments that are developing technological solutions of value for the manufacturing domain.

The project will be releasing a series of interviews over the course of the coming weeks with the objective of promoting the work being implemented in these experiments and allowing our readers to understand potential uptake of the solutions being developed by them.

This is the fifth of the seventeen interviews with the experiments funded under the open call. Today, we interview the CE4Con experiment.


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Explain your project in one sentence.

The CE4Con project proposes a solution, based on REUse (Holonix) and RIALTO (R2M), to promote circularity in the façade building sector throughout the whole lifecycle, starting with the selection of appropriate materials during the design, and ending by providing dismantling and pre-treatment information to facilitate recycling at the end-of-life phase.


How is KYKLOS4.0 project and the selected services (and components) bringing value to your project?

KYKLOS 4.0 components are the key to supporting manufacturing companies along the design and end-of-life phases. More in detail, the PLM module will allow for acquiring and transforming materials from inventories of façades and other building components. LCA will be used to acquire and elaborate on data from materials and entities, as well as compare results with benchmarks and validate the pilot for further process improvement; moreover, it will provide Energy Awareness, Sustainability Awareness about processes and materials utilised in the circular life cycle; finally, real time alarming in case of indicators above thresholds will be considered. With regards to Blockchain, it will be used to record entities and attributes in situations where it’s needed to guarantee information about specific entities and attributes, handled in the CE4Con platform. This will guarantee the integrity of information about specific entities. Moreover, Blockchain will allow for recording supplier(s), related entities and attributes into the Blockchain tool every time it is useful or needed to manage blockchain smart contracts among parts.


How is your solution contributing to circular manufacturing?

Building envelope product manufacturers consume a huge amount of energy and materials for production of systems and components that are poorly reused and recycled. Actions to reduce waste generation and to implement circularity should be taken at each phase of the building lifecycle: it is exactly following this rationale that the platform proposed in CE4Con promotes circular manufacturing both at the design phase, through the selection of appropriate materials, and at the end-of-life, by providing dismantling and pre-treatment information to facilitate recycling. An important value is brought to the solution by the integration of the Blockchain-based Auditing Platform (for components and material tracking), KYKLOS 4.0 LCA Simulation Engine and KYKLOS 4.0 PLM Module, that will make available technical information on composition of new products along the full product life-cycle (including the end of life). Moreover, our solution allows us to collect and share information useful to manage the reuse, recycle and remanufacturing of objects and materials, and to describe and provide recycling manufacturing processes and services. The platform aims to connect waste providers, producers, constructors, manufacturers, designers from various stages of the circular process.


How will your solution be replicated and used in other manufacturing environments?

R2M, which leads the consortium, will define the strategy to commercialise the CE4Con platform and ensure its long-term sustainability. Focchi’s in-depth knowledge of customer segments in the Building Envelope Manufacturers sector will provide insight into producers’ needs and expectations, guiding the subsequent exploitation phases. R2M will exploit the connection with communities of BEC manufacturers and also to the ECTP to include representatives of the Construction sector at large. Finally, HOL will support the joint exploitation with construction as the primary market, but will also promote its adoption in those sectors where the company is already active: automotive, consumer goods and the naval industry. Besides the platform they are developing, which is the core of our solution, it can be easily customised and adapted to serve diverse sectors or work in a cross-market/cross-sector environment involving many users and stakeholders. Based on the same architecture, any applications of the platform can be different according to their objectives and context of use.


What advice would you give to companies wishing to make their manufacturing processes more circular?

  1. Circularity starts from the design: products must be designed to be circular, adopting not only materials that can be processed at end of life to become usable again, but also allowing dismantling and the disassembly of components. It is also very important to design durable, upgradable, repairable, and adaptable structures with longer lifetime and fibre-reinforced composite can offer these properties.
  2. Importance of sharing information: circularity implies new value chains, new end-of-life processes, and reverse logistics; data can enable and simplify this process, for example advertising the availability of waste to be recycled or of new secondary materials, as well as new recycling techniques and new materials’ properties. Digital services are fundamental to create new value chains implementing CE business models in this sector collecting and organising the wealth of information regarding source and availability of raw materials, as well as offering logistic services, treatment and processing technologies.
  3. Think out of the box and cooperate: creative ideas on how your products could have a second life or waste materials that can be upcycled in other sectors could come from other companies.


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About the CE4Con project


The CE4Con project – Circular Economy for Construction industries – is implemented by three partners: R2M Solution S.r.l. (Italy), Focchi S.p.A. (Italy), HOL S.r.l. (Italy).

Summary: The main objective of the project is to develop a new range of services to support façade manufacturers in the building sector, which will subsequently be extended to all manufacturers of building envelope components, in the design and production of new items with recycled composite material.