Work Package 1: State of the Art and Case Study Definition

Lead Beneficiary: Eaton

Objective: identify the barriers preventing the implementation of an innovative life cycle to maintain the intrinsic value of PE devices

the a) to d) theoretical scenarios considered for PE products would offer the following opportunities:

a- Enabling the maintainability of the PE device and support its process (technical and economical guaranty).

b- Enabling the device integration into a second life cycle, potentially with lighter functional performance or additional operational constraints–called the “reuse” strategy schemes.

c- Supporting the remaining valued (sub-)component extraction from the PE device before being discarded, and reintroduce it in the value chain, e.g.: as a spare part, as a renewed component in the manufacture process; called “remanufacturing” strategy schemes.

d- Enabling material flow extraction from the PE device without additional operation than existing WEEE streams.

Such scenarios have an impact on the business model, including redefining the relationships between the customer and the PE device producer, as well as opening to a service oriented development PE based products rather than single sale product based business model. Scenarios b) and c) are already successfully implemented in several products (photocopiers, heavy machinery, and smartphones) but not in PE despite their high intrinsic value.

WP 1.1 action: End of Life for Second Life Review Analysis

The required actions for this first task will be to review and list the existing end of life possibilities offered by PE systems. A specific focus will be taken from the highest functional value saving from (scenario a) or b)) use & reuse to the lowest – the recycling-scenario d); and will state the current possibilities for PE systems (Peter 2016) in each case.

This technical review will eventually open to Product Service System (PSS) solutions as product and business development depending on the End of Life strategies occurring. Such PSS options will be analysed to identify and describe their key parameters: the product/sub-component life cycle(s) related information, the data support & usage, the PSS supporting infrastructure, the business and actors relationships, the technical information required, captured and exchanged between the value chain actors, the logistic issues, the potential perimeter, the time laps, etc.

A complementary literature review analysis will investigate the current PSS design methods, as well as the performance indicators in relation to the design assessment of the targeted scenarios that are supporting such business scheme, considering the different product’s life cycles entirely (from beginning to the end in a dedicated perimeter).

In the WP5 the a-d scenarios will be confronted to a set of typical power electronics devices applications. The industrial partners of the project will support those case studies. Five case studies have been targeted according to their strong presence on the today’s market, as well as their adaptability to the different proposed scenarios.

WP1.2 action: Key success factors (benchmark)

Based on the previous analysis the WP1.2 action will point the factors of success of the current solutions operating in others sectors.

Similar context following an industrial known success (Ricoh, Backmarket…) will be analysed in order to describe the global value chain and stakeholders. As presented by Hidetaka (2019) in the case of Ricoh photocopiers: the economic value is higher in scenarios a), b) and c) than in the recycling one d) (cf. Fig 4). The intrinsic value of the product and its components, are kept for reuse, repair and remanufacturing scenarios within product and part recovery centres intervening along the value chain. Additional impacts are generated while extending the number of technical and logistic operations required for prolonging the life span of the product. The economic value decreases in case of recycling with a global or incremental functional, material and energy loss associated to the product supporting the service offered by the company owner (contracting with the customer, offering photocopy services).

The WP1.2 objectives are to highlight the key success factors, and to identify the multiple dimensions that could be tackled to support a) to d) scenarios in case of PE products. Such dimensions will refer to: i) the product design and its development, ii) the supporting organisational infrastructure for any second life options, iii) the business conditions for the product, iv) the potential business actors, and the market opportunities for second hand components or modules, v) the qualification, or guarantee specification, vi) the information structure exchange at the different steps from a) to d) scenarios, and between actors (eg. from customer to engineering experts; from recycling actors to product designers) vii) the technological developments for easing the diagnostic the disassembly the collection and logistic, etc.

Transposed in the Power Electronic context, this work will identify the related lacks, and therefore the challenges created for this specific type of products and its associated value chain. This empirical and case base analysis will be completed by investigating and interviewing several stakeholders involved in the maintenance, the second-life treatments and the re-manufacturing of PE, with the support of VIVAE industrial partners.

Output of these two analysis targeted 

– The definitions of the existing industrial and technical ecosystems for PE.

– The circularity weaknesses characterization in PE.

– An adapted design method proposition for PE products to cover the main identified lacks and to create

opportunities to reduce environmental impacts generated by current electronics and to support the functional and economical value associated to the value chain operating in the current society.

The WP1 deliverables include some plausible life cycle models (reuse, repair, remanufacture, recycle) for this type of products / components / materials, describing the landscape on the main operators, and the identified stakeholders over the value chain of the system life cycle(s), analysing the market and the possible new value chains supporting scenarios, with technical, economic and environmental viewpoints (key parameters and associated indicators).