The article in duurzaam ondernemen emphasises the high priority for such a Kind of innovations in order to close the loop. Read More
Di-Plast—Digital Circular Economy for the Plastics Industry
The digital solutions developed within this project, enable companies to ...
... find suitable recyclate grades for specific products
... improve the quality control during production phase and establish a stable process with high recyclate ratio
... optimize value streams, to forward the plastic material to the costumer
All Di-Plast tools are developed as stand-alone tools that can be used independently from the other tools but also in any combination you like or need. The following example shows one possible way of using the tools.
Do you want to know more about Di-Plast?
Meet us at the following event
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Publication on Holistic System Change towards Circular Economy within Supply-Chains by Uni Luxembourg
Posted on 30-07-2021
Jeff Manger and Peter Plappert form the University Luxembourg, one of our project partner responsible for the VSM tool, published a paper on "An Innovative Strategy Allowing a Holi... Read more
Di-Plast Workshop "Work more sustainably with recyclate" @Zwolle
Posted on 04-04-2022
On the 29th of March 2022 the Di-Plast workshop "Work more sustainably with recyclate" took place at Zwolle. The workshop was organized by our project partner Polymer Science Park ... Read more
Stichting Polymer Science Park
University of Luxembourg
6 Rue Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi
East Netherlands Development Agency
40 Laan van Malkenschoten
Umwelttechnik BW GmbH State Agency for environmental Technology and Resource Efficiency
Tilburg University (JADS)
29 Neuer Graben
Wuppertal Institute for Climate Environment Energy gGmbH
|Wuppertal Institute for Climate Environment Energy gGmbH||
|SKZ-KFE gGmbH||Hermann Achenbachfirstname.lastname@example.org||Germany|
|Stichting Polymer Science Park||Femke de Loosemail@example.com||Netherlands|
|University of Luxembourg||Peter Plapperfirstname.lastname@example.org||Luxembourg|
|East Netherlands Development Agency||Martijn Kerssen||Martijn.Kerssen@oostnl.nl||Netherlands|
|Umwelttechnik BW GmbH State Agency for environmental Technology and Resource Efficiency||Jonas Umgelteremail@example.com||Germany|
|Tilburg University (JADS)||Corine Goossensfirstname.lastname@example.org||Netherlands|
|Osnabrück University||Martin Atzmülleremail@example.com||Germany|
The dutch kunststof-magazine reports about Di-Plast and states that such a project could be effective as a booster for the plastics industry. We just confirm this assumption. Read More
The regional paper rtvoost published an article about Di-Plast. The opportunity to recycle plastics for high quality applications is a preferable Approach from their point of view. Read More
The Dutch Journal for packaging management releases an article About Di-Plast. They point out that the smart solutions for a circular economy in the packaging sector are promising. Read More
Sustainability and recycling have become more and more relevant within society. The public opinion is shifting more towards a world where recycled plastics becomes the norm to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our oceans and its impact on the environment. However, recycling plastic is not as easy as it sounds, and therefore much of our plastic waste is not usable for recycling. One of the main issues with recycled plastic material is the quality of the material. There are many different characteristics that influence this quality, for instance, the colour of the plastic waste or the amount of dirt within the plastic waste. If we want to increase the amount of recycled plastic, we should focus more on improving the overall quality of the material.
With this improvement, organisations are able to use the recycled material in more delicate applications such as packaging of food (this is currently really difficult to achieve due to many quality regulations). One possible solution for quality improvement can be achieved using advanced data analytics, which is something that the Di-Plast projects aims to do. This works in the following way:
- Think of a machine that processes plastic waste and creates new granules (small grains of plastic material to be used in creating new products). This machine has several settings and parameters on which it can create these granules. On the inside of the machine, you will find many sensors that measure characteristics of the process. think of temperature of the material, humidity, rotation speed of some specific parts from the machine. These characteristics (also called parameters) indicate the performance of the machine. When something becomes for instance too hot, the operator of the machine will receive a message to check what is going on inside the machine. However, smaller deviations are not always noticed, while they could influence the end product of the machine.
- With data analytics methods, we are able to spot these small deviations and analyse why and how they could have happened. With this information, processes and machine settings can be adjusted to prevent these small deviations and therefore improve the overall quality of the end product. How this complete analysis process works is a bit too detailed for this summarised explanation. If you are interested in the background of our analysis techniques, please contact us!
If you are interested in learning more on data analytics to improve your processes or want to be part of the Di-Plast project to co-develop or use oiur tools, just contact our experts below.
Anomalies in process data (red line) made visible via data analytics (blue line)
The concept of circular economy (CE) is currently receiving encouraging attention among scholars and industrials, as a convenient solution to move away from the linear economy concept, without neglecting the goals of sustainable development. As main goals, the closing of resource loops and the keeping of resources in the system for as long as possible at the highest utility level, are mentioned as main goals of CE. Nevertheless, most companies still adopt a linear approach or just focus on providing information to the end-user to maximize their satisfaction during the use phase, while only a small amount have approached CE in a holistic way.
This gap between aiming to implement CE principles and apply them in a holistic manner is a widespread inconsistency. The VSM-tool, which is provided within the Di-Plast project, intervenes at this exact point, and can help YOU to get a clearer and more holistic view about your internal processes (micro-level) and if possible, about your supply-chain interdependencies (macro-level).
VSM is an effective, easy to use tool to collect, evaluate, and continuously improve product and information flows within companies or interrelated supply-chains in a common and standardized manner (ISO 22468:2020). While being one of the more common lean methods, its aim is to deliver value from your customer’s perspective and continuously improve your processes. This is done according to the statement: ‘Learning to see’.
Within the Di-Plast project, the VSM method was adapted with new indicators (e.g., energy- & water consumption, scrap rate, different material flows, etc.) and visualizations, enabling a circular perspective on resource flows within companies and throughout supply-chains.
- The macro-level VSM is suited to get a better understanding about the resource flow throughout a supply-chain, regarding CE aspects. With this in mind, we visualize the overall resource flow as well as the information flow to get a better overview about the respective interdependencies. This is important with regard to misalignments between the resource recovery infrastructures (end-of-life, EOL) and the product design phase (beginning-of-life, BOL). The aim is to improve the circularity throughout a supply-chain in a holistic way, by improving the information exchange between the EOL and the BOL.
- The micro-level VSM is an analysis at a deeper, more precise level. This means that data which is important at the macro-level is being collected. Here, the aim is to get a precise overview about internal resource and information flows, regarding CE aspects. The application of the micro-level analysis is also independently possible and helps to gain valuable insights about the interrelations of internal processes. This could be for example beneficial if you are aiming to integrate internal recycling possibilities or to detect and fix inconsistencies between different processes. This is important, since the main share of non-value adding activities occurs in-between processes and not within individual processes.
Figure 1 Example of a CE adapted value stream map
Currently, the method is tested and further developed within several companies in the Di-Plast pilot phase. If you are interested in joining the pilot-phase and apply the tool together with our experts within your company or within your supply-chain to increase the overreaching cooperability, feel free to contact us. Otherwise, you still have the chance to apply the finished tool during the Di-Plast uptake acceleration program.
Selected companies are given the opportunity to participate in the development of the Di-Plast Toolkit. The aim is to increase the proportion of recycled material in their products and to improve the quality of the process and product using digital tools. By joining these pilots, companies can directly influence the development of the tools in the co-creation process. This ensures that the functions are tailored to their needs. In addition, the pilots offer many other advantages for the companies:
- Support for selection of sensor-based quality control mechanisms and support for selection of suitable software for data acquisition depending on budget and internal knowledge (Process Quality Pilot)
- High quality data allows the company to better understand the data that was gathered and to draw better informed conclusions in follow-up data analysis tasks (Process Analytics Pilot)
- Better understanding of processes through data-driven insights and visualisations (Process Analytics Pilot)
- Smart material selection, which means converters can easily select material that match their criteria and the criteria for their markets and recyclate suppliers can check the needs per market segment and have their products ready for the converters (Matrix Pilot)
- The VSM tool helps to visualise and better understand internal resource flow (time, material, energy or water) and localise bottlenecks (Value Stream Management Pilot)
- Free consultancy from data, plastics and value stream experts for the implementation of data driven solutions
If you would like to learn more about the pilots, please follow the links below.
If you are interested in beeing part of the pilots, please contact Heicke Gaedeke via e-mail.
There is still a huge gap between the goals of the European Union for plastic recycling in 2030 and the status quo today. One key chance for closing this gap is the application of digital technologies like data science to improve processes and information flows throughout the entire recyclate supply chain.
Di-Plast develops and applies digital tools to enable high value plastics recycling, i.e. bring recycled plastics to its highest application possible. Supported by Interreg North-West Europe, we aim to close the knowledge and information gaps which inhibits plastics recycling. We enable companies to achieve access to highly relevant yet mostly hidden data, parameters and analytics from and for their own production processes. To realise this, our toolkit combines a distinct set of tools:
- VSM Tool: Value stream mapping to visualise and improve process-flows.
- Sensoring Tool: a process problem / solution case library to support with the selection of suitable sensor-based quality control mechanisms.
- Data Science Tools: This is a sub-toolkit of data science applications that creates, validates and extrapolates data:
- Data Validation Tool: Assesses data, gives insights in the variables and their data quality to increase the overall quality. Allows to prove stable processes and thus high quality recyclates to your customers.
- Exploratory Pattern Analytics Tool: Works on prepared/preprocessed tabular data. It provides explanatory patterns, i.e., simple rules between parameters (e.g., temperature, pressure) that are predictive for a certain target parameter (e.g., scrap rate). This helps to identify optimisation possibilities in your process through unveiling unrecognised correlations.
- Process Analytics Tool: Provides insights consisting of reports, visualisations and other analytical methods that describe the state of your processes and/or machinery. .Using this information, production processes with recyclates can be streamlined and output quality and quantity can potentially be increased.
- Machine Data Acquisition Tool: A wiki for selection of a data acquisition infrastructure based on your budget and technical expertise.
- Forecasting Tool: A system where information is combined to predict future quantities. This tool helps to create information of future supply of plastic recyclates and therefore enhance procurement and production planning.
- Matrix Tool: The Matrix tool helps to find matches for recycled plastic suppliers and converters based on multiple given constraints
Currently, we are testing our toolkit with several companies and to validate their fit to industry’s needs. However, we are still looking for partners to test and apply these tools and for companies interested to learn about them in our uptake acceleration management.
All Di-Plast tools are developed as stand-alone tools that can be used independently from the other tools but also in combination. The following example shows one possible way of using the tools.
Start by getting an overview on your internal processes and information flows so that you can optimize them and make more out of your processes which include rPM or prepare your processes for rPM integration (VSM). The VSM tool helps to analyse, display and later optimize your cross-company product and information flows. It supports you in getting better knowledge about resource flows and localise bottlenecks either internally or withing your overall supply-chain.
Learn which sensors could help to get more information from your production (Sensoring) and learn how to get access to machine data that most likely is already there but not yet used (Machine Data Acquisition).
Now more in-depth work with your process data can start. Ideally you first use the Data Validation tool to assess data quality, gain insights in the variables and receive tricks how to increase your over all data quality. This might mean, that you go back to the Data Acquisition and the Sensoring tool but can also imply other steps.
Once your data quality is sufficient, we recommend using the Process Analytics Tool. It provides insights consisting of reports, visualizations and other analyses methods that describe the state of your processes and/or machinery. Errors in data found during the processing of specific materials can be automatically detected and made visible through reports and visualizations. This allows you to improve processes and their results. One module of this tool provides the opportunity to forecast future rPM quantities.
Our Matrix Tool can help you to find matching process and product requirements with material properties. Plastics users can find suitable recyclates for their applications here. The recycler, in turn, can offer its products (recyclates with specific material specification) or identify material specifications required by the market - and modify its recycling process to produce these materials. You will, therefore, gain a better understanding of the plastics recyclate market and opportunities, both as a user or supplier of rPM.
Do you see opportunities to increase the usage of plastic recyclates and do you want
financial support for this project?
The application will be evaluated by review criteria which you can find at the bottom of this page.
If you have been granted, we will provide you with all necessary documents for the documentation. Applicants will be notified within 6 weeks if the voucher can be granted.
Relevant documents after the approval:
If you having doubts or question regarding
a suitable voucher or the application
process, please contact us!
Three types of vouchers
Matching Voucher up to 1,000 €
Supports you with finding the right match for cooperation to introduce or increase recycled plastics in your production process. The following activities can be supported:
• Partner matching
• Testing costs
Expertise Voucher up to 4,500 €
Utilise external and specialist expertise to relise your project ideas for the (increased) use of recycled plastics.
The following activities can be supported:
• Technical engineering
• Innovation consultancy
Chain Voucher up to 7,500 €
Finance specific purchases to concretize projects to increase the usage of recycled plastics in your production process. Please note that you will be requested to send three tender offers with your application.
The following activities can be supported:
•External costs for (product/quality) testing
•Process consulting services