P2: Design and control of supply chains for production and recycling of composites

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Within the Fortschrittskolleg Verbund.NRW the Department of Operations Management at RWTH Aachen University analyses design and control of Closed Loop Supply Chains of composites. The overall aim is to increase resource efficiency within the construction sector, and especially within emerging reverse logistics and recycling management systems for composites. Interdependencies between production and recycling processes will be explicitly regarded when designing the required sustainable supply chains.

The project will proceed as follows: First, existing supply chains of the construction sector are analyzed with a special focus on composites regarding stakeholders, production and logistics processes and material flows. Afterwards, future processing paths are determined, e.g. alternative production and recycling options, alternative technologies, flexible logistic concepts and potential economies of scale. Moreover, methods for design and control of supply chains are developed taking into account the three pillars of sustainability: economical, ecological, social. Due to long planning horizons and innovative products, the focus is on dynamic planning of supply chains as well as on robust and flexible design considering planning uncertainties, like uncertain development of amount and quality of recyclable materials or unknown development of legal framework conditions. In addition, operational planning problems of Closed Loop Supply Chains will be tackled. Herein, flexible control mechanisms for supply chains can be used to handle uncertain quantities and qualities of returned materials.

  Steering system: politics / market / society OM, RWTH Aachen Abstract illustration system level (f.l.t.r. within closed loop: R&D, production, distribution, consumer, redistribution, recycling)

The analysis and evaluation is based on methods of mathematical optimization and multi criteria decision approaches.

The project aims at a close cooperation with industrial partners from the construction respective the composite sector. The use of case studies shall emphasize the applicability of the developed approaches for design and control of supply chains. Additionally, the methods will be validated based on practical data and case studies. Doing so, the advantages of the developed approaches for the construction industry and the enterprises become apparent.