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How can we enable a more sustainable industry?

By Melanie Geiger, data innovation alliance

Report-back on the 5th Conference on Industry Perspectives: 4.0 Synergies and Opportunities for the Circular Economy

When academic brilliance and popular enthusiasm meet, it results in the recent ZHAW conference, “5. Konferenz Perspektiven mit Industrie 4.0 Synergien und Chancen für die Kreislaufwirtschaft”, where an economy that works together with the environment is the future. After all, that, in a nutshell, is what circular economy (CE) is about.

The morning was packed with engaging presentations on an abundance of circularity aspects revolving around:

● Manufacturing and production
● Material and raw materials
● Logistics
● Utilization
● Support and service

The Tool manufacturer FRAISA presented the possibilities of digital individualization in optimizing tool utilization. Using their method, tools can be “restored”, leading to a reduction in energy consumption, as well as in materials and logistics costs. This provides a basis for a sustainable economic system.

After lunch (and plenty of networking), the 80 participants divided up into 8 discussion tables, intensively identifying and analyzing current challenges in Industry and the Circular Economy. Key challenges which lead to resource waste in Logistics were poorly packed or empty return-shipping containers were highlighted. The NTN Innovation Booster Databooster and NTN Innovation Booster Applied Circular Sustainability jointly organized the interactive session.

Kündig, a provider of industrial sanding machines, offers remote fault diagnosis and support to their customers in order to reduce travel time and resource requirements. Another excellent example is REMONDIS Digital Services, which globally offers interested parties such as cities and municipalities an innovative solution: road and environmental data on demand! As a fleet operator of waste collection vehicles, REMONDIS Digital drives along all the streets of a city at regular intervals whereby in doing so, their vehicles collect data on the road environment in an automated, data protection-compliant and demand-oriented manner, down to the very last nook and cranny. They can achieve this by using optical sensors together with artificial intelligence.

With all these innovative ideas for making Industry more sustainable, we had the opportunity to explore new possibilities through networking and intense discussion, finally ending with an enjoyable apéro. Thank you to all the participants!