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Kyklos 4.0 to Transform the Future of Circular Manufacturing

Mon, 01 November, 2021

In January 2020, an esteemed consortium of 29 diverse organisations from research institutions, universities, SMEs and large enterprises came together for the KYKLOS 4.0 initiative, an EU project currently in its second year and funded by the Horizon 2020 programme. The multinational partners originate from 14 different European countries including the UK, Spain, Italy, Norway, Germany, Belgium, France, Greece, Romania, Ireland, Portugal, Cyprus, Israel and Turkey. Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Spain) is coordinating the project over its four-year duration.

Within the project consortium, TWI Hellas is responsible for designing and implementing the rapid prototyping module for additive manufacturing (AM) and the inline 3D component configurator, with the resulting tools set to enable the use of AM and inline 3D configuration, and contributing to the future realisation of actual mass customisation (MC) workflows. Towards this goal, TWI Hellas is developing innovative decision making algorithms for effective process and material selection; and multi-objective optimisation algorithms for maximised part orientation and process parameter selection; supported by new, configurable 3D products that will seamlessly integrate with the manufacturing workflows necessary to realise them. Through this process, the KYKLOS 4.0 team aspires to establish technologies that will contribute to achieving more efficient, sustainable and agile production lines in the manufacturing sector.

The project’s mission is to produce a state-of-the-art, circular manufacturing (CM) ecosystem by developing a circular production system (CPS) and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, and enhance the CM framework by implementing advanced production mechanisms and algorithms to create energy efficient, customised products with an extended life cycle. In this way, the project can pave the way for decreased operational costs, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and minimisation of air pollutants, demonstrating an environmentally-conscious purpose to establish a production framework that is sustainable, scalable, efficient and economically viable.

 A variety of different processes and methodologies, from product life management (PLM) and life cycle analysis (LCA) to augmented reality (AR) and AI, will be developed and implemented to achieve a cutting edge CM ecosystem that offers improved solutions to existing issues. This entails building, testing and demonstrating the superiority of the CM ecosystem in seven large-scale pilots designed to deliver sustainable manufacturing solutions, attract key European industry players and subsequently strengthen the presence of European CM technologies providers. One of the pilot projects is a customisable and smart wheelchair system for children, built by partners TWI Hellas, PROMEDICARE, Fraunhofer Fokus and CETMA, to provide a new generation of customisable wheelchairs for individual patients’ needs.

In addition there will be will be open calls throughout the duration of KYKLOS 4.0 to support third parties in developing products and services in the digital manufacturing sector.

Overall, KYKLOS 4.0 is an innovative leap forward on current CM ecosystems. The project aims to help SMEs maintain tighter production control and improve their competitiveness in an industrial world where demand is rising due to alterations in supply chains and value networks. This is echoed in the vision behind the project of establishing a circular economy that meets the needs of industry and end-users, by demonstrating viable technological and scientific innovations, and implementing them efficiently in a production system design.

Ilias Zournatzis, Mechanical Engineer who is leading TWI Hellas’ activities on the KYKLOS 4.0 project, highlights the need for new production workflows saying “Linear manufacturing workflows have been the status quo in the production sector for decades. But to transition from a traditional to a circular economy, many complex and demanding procedures are involved. Therefore, by applying our extensive knowledge of additive manufacturing, multi-objective optimisation, parametric 3D modelling, web-based services and more, we aspire to simplify these complex processes and pursue true innovation.”

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