On circularity in production systems : Exploring the realization through circularity practices

Abstract: The manufacturing industry stands in front of huge challenges. Negative environmental impacts must be drastically reduced and new sustainable products must be introduced at an accelerating pace. Coping with these challenges are significant in order to deal with the increasingly emerging climate crisis. To slow down the climate crisis, the approach of circularity wherein the utilization and lifetimes of resources and materials are maximised with the aim to achieve a near perpetual closed material loop has gained a significant increase in attention. However, most research within circularity has emphasised on the product, especially practices occurring after being produced. A seldomly studied perspective involves exploring the realization of circularity within the production system. A clear description is lacking regarding what circularity in production systems actually constitutes of, and how this can be realized. Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to expand the knowledge regarding the realization of circularity in production systems. To fulfil the purpose, this research was initiated by a literature review and a document study, which were conducted in order to describe which circularity practices exist in production systems, both form an academic and practical point of view. Subsequently were workshops with industrial experts within production systems held in order to identify challenges with realizing circularity in production systems. The literature review, document study, and workshops laid the foundation for support development, which was the final phase in the thesis. This included supporting the longevity of production systems by adopting circularity theories to cover production system, as well as investigating how to analyse and evaluate circularity in production systems. The results from this were incorporated in a conceptual framework for circular production systems and in a tool for rapid assessment of circularity in production systems.