Harms & Wende GmbH & Co.KG13 million euros boosting circular economy in the manufacturing industry
The EU RECLAIM project aimed to transition from traditional production methods into a circular economy, with a focus on outdated machinery in the manufacturing industry. Such machinery is more prone to unplanned breakdowns and downtime, resulting in considerable losses. To combat this, digital retrofitting is being employed to prevent malfunctions and improve energy and material efficiency, with the ultimate goal of extending equipment lifespan. Furthermore, novel circular business models, that are unlocked by this approach, have been explored.
Harms & Wende GmbH & Co KG, an innovative medium-sized company with its headquarters in Hamburg and a branch office in Karlsruhe, was leading the coordination of RECLAIM. The company has a long-standing partnership with Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, having successfully collaborated on numerous projects. Harms & Wende conducts research and development in the field of welding machines and offers customized solutions. Steinbeis Europa Zentrum has provided support for project applications, project, knowledge and innovation management, intellectual property rights clarification, and exploitation of project results.
In RECLAIM, Harms & Wende utilized the received funds to develop an "Intelligent Health Management Toolkit" comprising of sensors and software that monitor the performance of their welding equipment. The toolkit enables efficient equipment utilization through actual analysis and forecasts, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction by providing rapid and targeted responses to customer problems, as well as advice on plant optimization. The beta version of the toolkit has already received significant interest from customers and will soon be implemented in the first production plants.
The Harms & Wende toolkit is an essential component of the overall project, which involves 22 partners and is funded by the EU with 13 million euros. The RECLAIM approach is simple: outdated analogue machines are upgraded digitally using a sensor package to capture essential parameters (such as operating temperature). The data obtained is fed into various algorithms and analyzed for patterns/irregularities. Based on these analyses, predictions can be made about possible failures. Maintenance and repair windows can be scheduled in advance accordingly, and unforeseen failures can be significantly reduced.
However, the central result of RECLAIM, an interactive user platform, goes one step further: the analyses are presented in an easily understandable way and are complemented by cost-benefit analyses of the various strategies for extending the lifespan of the machines, using actual costs of the equipment/parts. This makes it much easier for plant operators to choose the right strategy.
Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supported the project partners in exploiting the results, i.e., preparing the developed technologies for the relevant target groups and facilitating successful market entry. In addition, synergies with national and European projects and initiatives are encouraged and specifically utilized, such as EFFRA, the European Association for Research in the field of Factories of the Future.
Project website RECLAIM: RECLAIM - Refurbishment and re-manufacturing of large industrial equipment (reclaim-project.eu)
Video Final Conference: Rejuvenation - The Future of Manufacturing - RECLAIM Final Event Livestream - YouTube
„With RECLAIM, we have not only succeeded in upgrading our existing friction welding systems to the latest state of the art, but we have also managed to develop an entirely new generation of friction welding machines that are more than capable of meeting the future demands of the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). Thanks to the excellent support provided by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, we have achieved groundbreaking results in this project.“Dr. Michael Peschl, Harms& Wende