Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies


sustainablySMART will make a change to the life cycle of mobile information and communication devices by developing new product design approaches (including enhanced end-of-life performance, re-use and re-manufacturing aspects; i.e. implementing “Design for a Circular Economy”) for smartphones and tablet computers on the product and printed circuit board level, and by new re-/de-manufacturing processes with improved resource efficiency through

  1. enhanced sorting capabilities and speed (optimized sorting efficiency),
  2. automated disassembly of mobile IT devices for extraction of reusable components / modules, better material separation and depollution of end-of-life devices (increase value creation out of discarded devices significantly to create an economic advantage over shredding processes), and
  3. high-quality performance testing (batteries) and rework (semiconductors and modules) of reusable components/modules (creating a market push for reusable parts through enhanced availability for repair and cascade reuse)
More information
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Start date: 01-09-2015
End date: 31-10-2019
Total budget - Public funding: 7 005 293,00 Euro - 6 989 278,00 Euro
Call topic: Re-use and re-manufacturing technologies and equipment for sustainable product lifecycle management (FoF.NMPB.2015.13)

Made In Europe - Draft R&I Objectives - (6)


This is a set of Specific Objectives and Research & Innovation Objectives that is subject to a consultation in preparation of the Made In Europe Partnership.  For more guidance about the consultation, please see


    sustainablySMART developed a range of circular product designs for mobile ICT devices. The project demonstrated different avenues how to put in place circular design, reflecting on product / market segment, Unique Value Proposition, and available manufacturing base. 

    Such examples are essential to guide others in considering circular design aspects. As the project logically only realised few examples, a broader testing and implementation under various framework conditions is needed.

    Suggested KPIs: Likely lifetime extension; manufacturing costs per year of product use time 


    sustainablySMART explored in another project activity the potential to recover and reuse electronics components, which leads to reused components as an alternative resource for new products. This approach provides ample environmental benefits to de-carbonise the industry, but requires novel approaches to testing and qualifying components from secondary resources. Further reliability research on used components is needed to verify and advance the approaches developed in sustainablySMART.

    Suggested KPI: effort to test and qualify used components


    The Life Cycle Assessments in sustainablySMART indicated the high climate impact of high-tech industries, such as display and semiconductor manufacturing. This leads to the recommendation to advance circularity in these industries in particular, by exploring existing examples for material cycles and manufacturing tools refurbishment, and to progress the level of circularity in these industries in particular.

    Suggested KPIs: Circularity quota for materials in a given industry; refurbishment rate for tools or aggregated lifetime of tools


      sustainablySMART developed a collaborative robotics technology to dismantle smartphones. this technology has not been exploited further as the developing company had to step out of business. The project findings indicate, how useful robotics and automated processes can be for End-of-Life processes, such as reuse, de-pollution and recycling. Although the invest for robotics in this domain is a barrier for a viable implementation, the advantage of using robots in this segment is two-fold and should be pursued further: Partly end-of-life processes can be enhanced to recover components and materials much better than with current technologies (contributing to the circular economy), and achievements are transferrable to other fields of application as well: sustainablySMART developed robotics solutions, which are useful for repair processes as well and can also be exploited in manufacturing processes. End-of-life processes provide an excellent "playground" to advance also manufacturing processes for complex, highly diverse (in manufacting: batch size one) products.

      Suggested KPIs: Material / component recovery rates

Project type - instrument - (1)


Sustainable Smart Mobile Devices Lifecycles through Advanced Re-design, Reliability, and Re-use and Remanufacturing Technologies
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