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  • Launching 'REMAIN', a project that will offer a second life to products from the manufacturing industry

Launching 'REMAIN', a project that will offer a second life to products from the manufacturing industry

The REMAIN project aims at developing new tools to detect damage in used products and a multi-robot system capable of disassembling them and preparing them for their reintroduction into manufacturing chains. To this end, the remanufacturability of current products will also be evaluated, offering improvement criteria related to product design and manufacturing systems, which will be included in an Ecodesign Guide. REMAIN is part of the Interreg Sudoe programme, the cooperation programme for the territory of South-West Europe, which supports regional development through the co-financing of transnational projects by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

Nine partners from Spain, France and Portugal participate in 'REMAIN (Robotic REMAnufacturing of deformable INdustrial Products)', an ambitious project of the Interreg Sudoe programme, whose aim is to offer a second life to manufactured products, especially from the footwear industry, which produce an enormous amount of inadequately discarded waste. This contributes to environmental sustainability, thus complying with the requirements set by the European Union in this regard.

INESCOP plays the leading role in this project, which brings together the following participants: FICE (Federation of Spanish Footwear Industries); Chamber of Commerce AIDA-CCI (Portugal); the universities UNIZAR (University of Zaragoza), UA (University of Alicante), UC (University of Coimbra) and CA-INCP (Polytechnic Institute of Clermont-Auvergne); the companies ACN and SMA-RTY (France). The Spanish social organisation Proyecto Lázaro collaborates as a source of information on the most relevant damage found in consumer products discarded by consumers.

Representatives of these organisations recently gathered at INESCOP’s headquarters (Elda, Spain) for the first working day in which the actions that will be implemented in this European programme, which will last until December 2026, were presented.
Before starting the meeting at INESCOP, participants visited Proyecto Lázaro’s facilities, in Alicante, where its manager, Jaime Aznar, explained the work for social insertion they carry out, favouring the integration of people in situations of vulnerability by generating employment through the management of domestic textile waste in all its collection, classification and sale processes, under the circular economy principles.

The Sudoe area is comprised by many small and medium sized companies with a low technological level that produce different products of common use with a short life cycle, mainly due to: low cost, difficulties to repair/refurbish, thus generating a large amount of waste. Consequently, REMAIN's objective is to introduce remanufacturing as part of the business model.

The process starts by detecting damage in used products and then developing a multi-robot system capable of disassembling and preparing products for remanufacturing. Another of the project's initiatives is the recommendation of ways to eco-design products to facilitate the repair or recycling of products.

The aim is to make product repairs feasible as an alternative to buying new or disposing of used products in a way that is technically and economically viable.

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