REFORM | Resource-Efficient Factory Of Recyclable Manufacturing composite Components


The overall goal of REFORM is to reduce the environmental footprint of composites use. Composites are in-demand as they can produce large weight-savings without compromising on product quality. However, methods of machining and assembly have been taken from traditional manufacturing processes and have not been optimised for composite production. The goals of REFORM are to reduce manufacturing scrap, waste and pollution and to develop methods to improve the recylability and reuse of composite components.

Specifically, REFORM will

  • Reduce scrap in the lay-up process through the use of laser templates or virtual / augmented reality
  • Reduce energy consumption during curing by using low thermal mass tooling and fixturing - Reduce waste in Abrasive Water-jet machining (AWJM) through process optimisation and water recovery
  • Reduce the number of parts by allowing large components to be built through the use of intelligent, lightweight fixturing
  • Develop methods of recycling CFRP using new low-temperature, low-pressure processes

REFORM (Resource-Efficient Factory Of Recyclable Manufacturing composite components) is a 4 year project funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Factory of the Future Programme to develop the next generation of production technologies.

We will develop clean and resource-efficient technologies for the manufacture and disposal of composite material, looking at each individual production stage. Composites are popular as they allow component weight to be reduced without affecting part strength. In many applications, weight reductions leads to energy savings during the service-life of the product - there is an oft-quoted statistic that every kilogram of weight saved in the manufacture of a plane reduces emissions by 1 tonne of CO? per year. When calculating the environmental footprint of a component, it is important to investigate the entire life-cycle, including material extraction,manufacture, end-of-life disposal and whether or not the composite material can be recycled. This ensures that gains made in one area do not cause waste and inefficiency elsewhere.

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Start date: 01-12-2011
End date: 30-11-2015
Total budget - Public funding: 7 090 915,00 Euro - 4 999 995,00 Euro
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Original description

REFORM focuses on more resource-efficiency and cleaner manufacturing technologies for composite components to be exploited in different industrial sectors (e.g. Transport, Energy, Construction, ..). Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composites are becoming very popular as their use reduces weight and allow innovative designs for energy-saving products during service-life. Nevertheless, service-life does not represent the total solution. A total life cycle view must be taken including manufacturing and end of life reuse, recyclability and/or disposal.
The central idea of REFORM is to focus on the manufacturing processes of FRP components considering, with an holistic view, the whole manufacturing cycle.
The environmental friendly process technologies for Forming, Machining (cutting & trimming), Assembly and Recycling are specifically considered, as well methods to integrate the proposed technologies into the eco-factory of the future.
REFORM considers specific RTD and Demonstration activities capable to provide advances towards full green economically viable manufacturing.



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Comment: Right-first-time layup Reduction in scrap and waste Recycling of prepreg Demonstrating recycled material in real products
Comment: Method for recycling currently scrapped prepreg into fixtures and other marketable products
Comment: 95% of water and abrasive can be recycled for abrasive waterjet machines Milling tool-life on hybrid waterjet-milling machines has been trebled
Comment: Hard to estimate as a percentage. Based on reduced energy-use across a product using all the REFORM technologies, a figure of 10% can be estimated, although for one case study, a reduction of 92% was achieved, by moving from a metallic part to one made from recycled composite.
Comment: Methods to produce recycled carbon fibre use only 10% of the energy required to produce virgin fibre The new waterjet nozzle gives 65% energy savings due to reduced cutting time Can reduce energy needed to set resin by 50% using laser-assisted layup for composites, rather than oven curing.
Comment: Development of water and garnet recycling unit -
Comment: Laser-assisted tape layup Augemented reality for ply positioning - Accurate and energy-efficient 5-axis waterjet machining
Comment: Advanced assembly concepts for large composite components Novel fixtures Jigless fixturing for composite parts -
Comment: Inspection of layup during production (augmented reality system shows ply position and direction and records layup)
Comment: RE-Form, RE-Lam and RE-Fib processes -
Comment: Control systems for 5-axis waterjet
Comment: Demonstrators are on large scale products such as boats and bridges -
Result items:
Abrasive waterjet manufacture of metals and composites
Augmented reality lay up of composite plys. Can also be used in any situation where hands-free work-instructions are required.
Waterjet cutting
Waterjet manufacturing