Vanderlande teams up with value chain partners in regional circularity programme

Vanderlande recently took part in an initiative overseen by the Province of Noord Brabant to help local manufacturing companies cut waste and develop sustainable solutions. The Circular Value Center’s (CVC) Fast Forward programme explores ways in which circularity can be realised through collaboration in the value chain.

In one of the Fast Forward projects, Vanderlande teamed up with two key suppliers – Zollner and Sioux Technologies – to assess the practical steps required to remanufacture parts from a sorter solution. DHL also joined the project to provide the voice of the customer.

To mark the completion of the programme, a “final chain event” was held in Eindhoven at the end of January, and as part of the celebrations the project team presented a video about their work together. Fast Forward aimed to provide a foundation for actionable next steps, and Vanderlande and its partners have signed a letter of support that will see them continuing the collaboration now that formal support from the CVC has ended.

Genuine commitment

“What surprised me most was the genuine commitment from all parties,” says Bart van Dartel, who pitched the project idea to CVC and leads on sustainability in Vanderlande’s Technology Business Unit. “Everyone was really open and transparent, without the pressure of being only commercially focused or securing the next project – we were all in learning mode.”

Remanufacturing is about the recovery and regeneration of components that are at or near the end of their initial technical life. This project centred around the potential to remanufacture mechatronic assemblies as spare parts. These are difficult to repair on site, and are typically replaced with brand new units.

Through a series of workshops and factory visits, the project team assessed a range of issues that would need to be resolved to create a workable remanufacturing process. The ultimate goal is to have these assemblies remanufactured to an “as new” condition and reused as spare parts with all the essential warranties that customers require.

“We examined elements like business models, product design, how best to deal with return flows, stock management and traceability,” explains Bart. “It was a worthwhile exercise, because it could save us costs and reduce lead times. Remanufacturing in this case is a much more sustainable solution, because it uses less resources and the carbon footprint will be around 50% or less.”

A valuable exercise

While the production of remanufactured parts will come later in the development process, the Fast Forward project has proved to be a valuable exercise that complements Vanderlande’s other efforts to drive circularity.

“We have been training our people on circular design principles and the circular economy,” adds Bart. “In addition, we have a project called ‘Circular Supply Chains’ that will provide a way of working for the three logistical flows – reuse, remanufacture and recycle. Such initiatives, as well as our commitment to working with partners in stimulating projects like Fast Forward, reflect our determination to become a 100% regenerative company, which means no longer relying on virgin resources.”

About the Circular Value Center (CVC)

CVC: Fast Forward is an initiative from the Province of Noord-Brabant and the Brabantse Ontwikkelings Maatschappij (BOM) in collaboration with partners from Smart Industry South Netherlands. Open to all companies in the Dutch Smart Industry cluster, the program is part of a wider ambition of the Province — to reduce the use of raw materials in its manufacturing industry by 2030.

The programme days were facilitated by lmpactX and Yellowchess.

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