Circular Manufacturing Systems (CMS)

Transition of our industrial systems and society to Circular Economy (CE) has become vital, on one hand to mitigate the impending impact of resource scarcity on businesses and society and on the other hand to adapt our industrial systems to minimise dependence on virgin material resources. The CE approach, directing towards reuse of material resources in combination with renewable energy, is considered an effective solution to dealing with the challenges of competitive market tensions due to resource scarcity and serious environmental degradation and climate change due to continuously increasing use of virgin and non-renewable resources.

Although the overarching concept of CE has been proposed by scholars several decades ago, the concept has been recently popularized by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF) in 2012. The CE concept became a major research and educational paradigm as soon as the European Commission declared Circular Economy Action Plan in 2015. Following the footstep of the EC, the Swedish government has also identified circular and bio-based economy as the key area to reinforce a sustainable society.

Circular Manufacturing Systems (CMS) is an emerging paradigm in the context of Circular Economy (CE) where the manufacturing systems are designed to function as closed loops of products and materials emphasising on manufacturing products which are long lasting, easy to repair, refurbish, remanufacture and recycle.  

In developing and implementing CMS, we use a systemic approach that takes into consideration strong and mutual interactions, among business models, products design and supply chains, enabled through state-of-the-art infrastructure and innovations in information and communication technologies (ICT). CMS research addresses the questions such as:

  1. How does circular manufacturing differ from the traditional linear manufacturing both in terms of business and technical challenges?
  2. What competitive advantages circular manufacturing offer in the context of economic sustainability and environmental performance of manufacturing companies?
  3. What role circular business models play in the success of circular manufacturing and thus of manufacturing companies?
  4. How product design and supply chains play a critical role in realising economic and environmental advantage of circular business models
  5. How can system analysis, through modelling and simulation help in understanding the challenges of implementing CMS in real industrial and business environment?
  6. How does transition to CMS impact design and production entities of a manufacturing company where the products should be produced for longer service lives, easy repair and refurbishment, efficient remanufacturing and effective recycling?

Since we are dealing with a multidisciplinary area that demand system approach, a diverse research team is needed to ensure that all perspectives are taken into consideration. The current CMS team is diverse in terms of gender, area of expertise, knowledge and international experience. The team members’ expertise covers traditional discipline of mechanical and production engineering, environmental engineering, management and systems modelling. The team members are carefully chosen to address the multidisciplinary characteristics of research in CMS. The CMS team besides leading one of the largest EU H2020 funded project ReCiPSS , is also leading the circular economy initiative at KTH ( CE@KTH ).

Belongs to: Department of Production Engineering
Last changed: May 11, 2020