Circular Manufacturing Systems A development framework with analysis methods and tools for implementation

University dissertation from KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: The society today lives on the philosophy of ‘take-make-use-dispose.’ In the long run, this is not sustainable as the natural resources and the waste carrying capacity of the earth are limited. Therefore, it is essential to reduce dependency on the natural resources by decoupling the growth from the consumption. In this venture, both the society and the manufacturing industry have a vital role to play. The society needs to shift towards Circular Economy that rests upon the philosophy of ‘take-make-use-reuse’ and the manufacturing industry has to be a major stakeholder in this shift. Despite being proven to be both economically and environmentally beneficial, successful examples of circular systems are few today. This is primarily due to two reasons; firstly, there is a lack of systemic and systematic approach to guide industries and secondly, there is a lack of analysis methods and tools that are capable of assessing different aspects of circular manufacturing systems. Taking on to these challenges, the objective of this research is to bring forward a framework with methods and decision support tools that are essential to implement circular manufacturing systems. The initial conceptual framework with the systemic approach is developed based on extensive review and analysis of research, which is further adapted for industrial implementation. Systematic analysis methods, decision support and implementation tools are developed to facilitate this adaptation. This development has been supported by four cases from diverse manufacturing sectors. Behind each decision support tool, there are analysis methods built upon mainly system dynamics principles. These tools are based on simulation platforms called Stella and Anylogic. Among other things, these tools are capable of assessing the performance of closed-loop supply chains, consequences of resource scarcity, potential gains from resource conservation and overall economic and environmental performance of circular manufacturing systems.

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