A publicly available software platform to help manufacturers transition to ‘closed loop’ products designed for multiple lifecycles has launched online after four years of development.
The European-funded ResCoM platform provides manufacturers with a range of analytical tools and methods for capturing value by re-thinking materials, product design, supply chains, business models and technology.
The aim is to help guide company decisions by illustrating how collection, remanufacturing and reuse of products can lead to more profitable, resource efficient, and resilient business practices compared to the conventional ‘linear’ manufacturing system.
Linear to circular
A consortium of partners from academia and industry has been developing and testing the platform since 2013.
Four industrial pilots during this time have shown that circular economy principles are best employed in the early stages of product development, and manufactures can now use the platform to make this happen in practice.
There is also a ‘Circular Pathfinder’ that can be used to identify the relevant tools for a manufacturer’s specific product.
Examples in action
Several successful examples of circular design in action on a large scale have recently been published by a separate UK-led, EU-funded project - REBus.
For example, Naturalmat, a mattress manufacturer in Devon, re-designed its mattresses to make them easier to dismantle at end-of-life and launched a take-back service for safe recycling, generating an additional annual income of £35,000 and 89 tonnes of materials suitable for re-use.
An additional guide to circular product design has also been developed by the resource efficiency focused Ellen MacArthur Foundation, available here.