The announcement took place on February 2 during a special live broadcast during the Week of the Circular Economy. The entire top 20 were featured in short videos that were recorded by nominees themselves. The five best entries were allowed to pitch their innovations. Then the jury had the opportunity to ask questions. Based on this, the final winner was chosen. During the broadcast, the many people present were given the opportunity to vote and thus decide on the public prize.
The Brabant Circular Innovation Top 20 highlights initiatives that appeal to the imagination and show what a circular economy could look like for North Brabant. The organization is in the hands of VNO-NCW Brabant Zeeland, in collaboration with the province of North Brabant, the BOM and ABN Amro. In Brabant, VNO-NCW Brabant Zeeland is working with these parties on an acceleration program to support entrepreneurs who want to do circular business.
In the manufacturing industry it was customary to purchase large series with long delivery times in order to keep the cost per product as low as possible. A result of this purchasing method are large surplus stocks, of which many parts are now outdated and unusable. (For one of our clients this even adds up to a depreciation (and thus, waste) of €45 million).
The total cost of ownership, including values such as just-in-time, less waste and the reduction of transport costs, has been examined with clients. Corporate social responsibility was the reason for this, and we explicitly looked at how we could translate this into a sustainable business case for all parties. The result: sustainability and cost savings in the rail infrastructure sector!
Below you will find questions asked by VNO-NCW Brabant Zeeland as answered by CastLab founder Koen Melis.
CastLab aims to accelerate the transition to the circular economy in the future by remelting redundant, unusable supplies and broken parts for its own production. As a result, CastLab will remelt its own raw materials and serve as both a smelter and a foundry, placing even more emphasis on the cradle to cradle method.
CastLab provides (re-)production in exact numbers with short delivery times. This is much more sustainable and cheaper because large stocks of spare parts are no longer necessary. Developing the technology is one thing; however, by involving our customers in particular, we were able to develop a business case for them, enabling us to turn around the traditional method of purchasing in the chain, which was responsible for an enormous environmental burden.
CastLab currently focuses on the rail infrastructure sector, but wants to scale up to other sectors in the future in order to make the entire manufacturing industry more sustainable.
CastLab has initiated an innovation ecosystem, CastLab Proeftuin, that brings together SMEs, large corporations, knowledge institutions and end users to realize sustainable and cost-effective solutions through innovative production methodologies. The ecosystem is continuously developing the network and new technologies, such as a digital intake form and a digital platform to re-order produced parts (the Spotify of the metal industry). The partners in the ecosystem are: CastLab, Melis Foundries, ColorFabb, Proven Concepts, Dual Inventive, Scrumble, Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs and Fontys University of Applied Sciences.
In addition, co-creation is used to innovate in order to better respond to the problem of reducing unnecessary stocks of metal spare parts through customized production in all possible production methods. To this end, the parties involved in the steering committee (NS, Strukton, VRS) are providing use cases to develop the reproduction of metal parts.
There is a continuous search for topics to improve the process and the supply chain. MindLabs plays an important role in this, serves as a connector and investigates, among other things, how artificial intelligence and virtual reality can play a role for the manufacturing industry.
CastLab serves as a one-stop-shop and works with a strong partner network to produce exact numbers with short delivery times, thus reducing surplus stock. CastLab combines modern techniques such as 3D printing, 3D scanning and casting simulation software with conventional production techniques, using years of experience, craftsmanship and in-depth knowledge of casting production techniques, alloys and materials. This results in a development process that helps the customer at an early stage with (re)design, prototyping, (reverse) engineering, topology optimization and the required production, tooling, assembly and (digital) warehousing. By creating digital twins - digital 3D profiles - of parts, CastLab is building a "Spotify of the metal industry" in which the customer can look up the part they want.
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