A project from Marche to create the lid of a coffee grinder by reusing waste materials

De-Manufacturing is the name of the sustainable manufacturing project that aims to create the new from waste developed by the Marche-based companies Delta and Simonelli Group. The work is part of the activities of the Marlic platform (Marche Applied Research Laboratory for Innovative Composites), a project co-financed by the Marche region through the POR Marche FESR 2014/2020.

Delta is a company that has gained thirty years of experience and strong competence in the manufacture of composite materials, also thanks to its own R&D laboratory focused on the study of these materials in addition to the shaping of products. The Simonelli Group is a pioneer company in the manufacture of espresso coffee machines, which aims for continuous product innovation thanks to continuous research in the technological field and which has collaborated with universities and research bodies.

Waste material as a resource

Delta’s waste material has become a new raw material for the Simonelli Group. In particular, starting from the plane of a colander, material was obtained for making the lid of a coffee grinder.

And again from some waste material from Delta products, a new item was created to accompany a professional coffee machine. The difficulty encountered in this circumstance was the cutting of a very resistant and hard material.

The transition to a circular economy is one of the pillars of the European Commission’s policy, which has resulted in the adoption of an action plan that precisely aims to accelerate Europe’s transition, promoting a type of sustainable economic growth, where what is radically changing is the model. production and consumption. These will actually involve aspects like sharing, reuse, reconditioning, recycling of existing materials and products, making them viable for a longer period of time. It is therefore intended to shatter the logic based on use and favor extending the life cycle of products as long as possible, making them, where possible, a resource for a new economic cycle when its original function has ceased. : the materials. from which a product is made can become new raw material for other products.

The De-Manufacturing project and the Marlic platform

In the summer of 2020, a complex movement was initiated that is fully incorporated into the European and national strategic agenda, within the framework of sustainable manufacturing. The Marlic project was in fact created to give life to a collaborative platform that arose with reference to some of the specific problems identified by the S3 (Smart Specialization Strategy) in the Marche region, centered on the concept of circular economy.

In this context, the Marlic platform reflects the priorities that the Marche region has given itself within the S3 strategy. The De-Manufacturing project – one of the two sub-projects feeding the platform – has among its goals, the recycling of production waste, materials from composite components at the end of their life cycle and the recycling of raw materials and/or other materials, from production cycles, to be used again for design and manufacture of new composite materials. We therefore intend to implement the philosophy of the 4Rs, pillars of the circular economy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recycle resources.

The challenge of recycling and recycling composite materials

The composite materials sector has been at the center of the European Commission’s attention. These materials are now widely used in various manufacturing sectors, as they are very advantageous in certain respects, such as greater resistance to corrosion, a lower weight than metals, a fairly long duration.

However, there is – as often happens – the downside. With the increasing spread of composite materials in different areas of use, the problem of their recycling arises, a considerable difficulty given that at the end of their life these products appear as a mixture of different chemical substances that are not easily disposed of.

Taking on the challenge of recycling and recycling composite materials therefore responds to a strong need, as it will not only correspond to the improvement of environmental sustainability, but will have important technical, economic and social repercussions. In fact, it will be possible not only to reduce the flows, but also to identify the technologies that can turn the composite materials into waste from a production, a material that can be reused for products or uses in different supply chains, which also responds to needs, never relevant as at this moment, special history, energy saving and new resources.

Ecologically sustainable products from industrial waste

Delta, leader of the De-Manufacturing project, is moving forward by tracing a double trajectory: on the one hand, by establishing collaborations with other partner companies, with the aim of cross-fertilization, on the other hand, by conducting studies to create eco-sustainable products with starting point from industrial waste.

The Simonelli Group has provided Delta with a mold to enable mold tests with the new green composite materials, for the construction of bodies for professional coffee machines.

In particular, green recipes have been formulated with recycled ingredients that have replaced the original virgin ingredients. These green recipes have been used to obtain the structural walls of the Simonelli Group coffee machines, allowing for a completely recycled body.

The results of the collaboration between Delta and the Simonelli Group are two examples of the possibilities that arise from what can be defined as Industrial Symbiosis, where waste material, the result of a company’s production, does not end its life cycle, becoming waste, but it re-enters the production cycle, becoming a resource, raw material for the production of another company.

Virtuous synergies that require study, experimentation, persistence. The exchange established with the Simonelli Group within the Marlic project is not the only example.

The synergies between research and business

Delta carries out several other collaborations, some still in an embryonic state in terms of the final results, such as the collaboration with HP Composites – another well-known company in the Marche region and leader of the project – which provided a waste of carbon fiber for subsequent processing. And again, the use tests carried out on a sample of hemp waste from Enea, and the use trials for the BIO resin supplied by the company Elantas.

The driving force behind all these activities is the University of Camerino, which carries out chemical/physical analysis and characterization of the scrap and prototypes obtained. The proof of the undeniable importance of the synergy between the world of research and business.

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