Recycling acoustic products - improving circular economy in an industrial company

University essay from Lunds universitet/Produktutveckling

Abstract: The construction and demolition sector stands for a large amount of the waste produced every year, roughly one third of all waste produced every year in Sweden, comes from this sector. The construction material manu- facturer Ecophon is a world leading company in manufacturing of acoustic products made out of glass wool, which are used in all kind of buildings and the general geometry of an acoustic product can be described as a rectangular board. Today, Ecophon use up to 70 % recycled glass in their acoustic products, but after the lifetime of their products, they usually goes to landfill. This answers to the definition of Linear economy, where the product is con- sidered as waste when it reaches it end life. Therefore, actions have been taken to obtain a viable recycling process with the goal to improve cir- cular economy, and hence increase their value proposition to the market. This is where this thesis comes in place. The purpose of this thesis was to create concepts and carry out a pre-study to get insight of what areas that needs to be adapted, in order to reach a viable recycling process. The concept which the project aims to evaluate, is the possibility to recycle products out of bits and pieces from old and used acoustic products. There were several research areas of interest like manufacturing techniques, production, and product compositions. This resulted in three different acoustic product concepts, which are analyzed from a production and environmental perspective. The product concepts resulted in a 600x600x40 mm3 volume tile, which uses rectangular rods or pieces as core material. The rectangular pieces are enclosed with surface layers and uses no glue between the pieces, this concepts is called Glue surface. The other two concepts could be seen an extension of the Glue surface, where additional thin virgin cheats of glass fibre wool are added to improve strength, these are called Virgin board and Sandwich. The concepts can be considered to have improved properties in comparison to corresponding products in different aspects, and could result in a good business case. The conclusion is that the generated product concepts are considered to provide a good starting point of which a recycle program can be build upon, and hence reach towards a Circular economy.

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