Recycling 4.0

Recycling 4.0 – Digitalisation as key for the Circular Economy for innovative vehicle systems

Funding: European Regional Development Fund (EFRE) and NBank

Duration: From 2018 to 2021


Project Description

The aim of the "Recycling 4.0" innovation network is to achieve an Advanced Circular Economy, which is characterised by highly efficient processes in completely closed value chains based on digitalisation and industry 4.0 technologies. For this purpose, an information marketplace will be set up which will enable a targeted exchange of information between the participants in the Closed-loop Supply Chain (CLSC).

In the subproject of the TU Braunschweig, innovative planning and control approaches are to be developed on the level of the management and performance system, which make use of prepared information from the information marketplace.

You can find a short introduction video here (German only).




Projekt Partners

Cooperation Partners:

  • 10 industrial companies, company-networks und funding-institution

Joint Partners:

  • Technische Universität Braunschweig:
    • Institute of Automotive Management and Industrial Production
    • Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology
  • Ostfalia Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft:
    • Institute for Distributed Systems
    • Institute for Manufacturing Engineering
  • Technische Universität Clausthal:
    • Institute for Software and Systems Engineering

    • Institute for Mineral and Waste Processing, Waste Disposal and Geomechanics


Initial Situation and Problem

The production networks of industrial recycling consist of a multitude of stations with waste generation, disassembly plants, exchange parts factories, mechanical preparation plants, secondary raw material processors and secondary material producers. Along the process chain a multitude of challenges arise for the participants, e.g. the lack of decision-making support. In addition, more complex products without recyclable construction, especially in the field of innovative vehicle systems, make it difficult to recycle products efficiently and effectively.
These circumstances are due to a lack of information in the various process stages. For example, manufacturers often lack information from the downstream recycling processes in order to be able to optimise their production and development accordingly. On the other hand, disassembly companies require knowledge of the structure and components of the product in order to be able to reuse them economically and ecologically. The non-optimal processes result in the loss of valuable materials and components which are necessary for sustainable production in terms of securing resources and achieving long-term competitiveness.


Objective and Approach

The aim of the subproject of the TU Braunschweig is to develop planning and control approaches for the Advanced Circular Economy, which use information from the information marketplace developed by the innovation network.The superior objective of the AIP, the development of CLSC management approaches for recycling 4.0, can be broken down into three sub-objectives:

  1. The development and validation of new economical decision models for the management and effective and efficient design of closed-loop supply chains that make use of digitalisation and industry 4.0 technologies of an information platform.
  2. Evaluation of the added value of the information marketplace developed by the innovation network for the design of closed-loop production systems and the management of closed-loop supply chains.
  3. Conducting the investigations for different network constellations (level, structure, hierarchy relationships) in order to cover as broad spectrum of application scenarios as possible.

The system will be developed iteratively. In a first step, a bilateral exchange between two participants of the supply chain will be investigated. The system will then be extended to the entire automotive CLSC in order to include secondary markets in a final step, thereby achieving the Advanced Circular Economy. Finally, a transfer concept will be developed, which will enable transferability to other industries, products, etc.