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The increasing production of new electronic equipment, combined with the lack of repairs, refurbishing and remanufacturing processes, leads to considerable negative environmental impacts and loss of resources. The project "EffizientNutzen" takes up this challenge and develops, based on real case studies, innovative, data-based business models for the extended product use and cascade use of electronic products.

The global challenge

The new production of electronic products in so-called low-wage countries is currently often cheaper than repair, refurbishing and remanufacturing processes in high-wage countries such as Germany. In addition, ever shorter innovation cycles are generating new customer needs. Despite the desire of many people for used equipment or repair solutions, repair or refurbishing is generally not considered, even for high-quality electronic products. As a result, after a limited period of use, old products are replaced by new products and, at best, recycled as material or energetically recovered. The extent of this global problem reached a new peak in 2016 with 44.7 million tons of electronic scrap.

Data-based business models

Against this background, the project “EffizientNutzen” will develop innovative data-based business models for cascade use and extended product use of electronic products. This will be done by means of two central lines of action. The first strand focuses on the development of a sustainable business model for the manufacturer-neutral repair of high-quality electronic products as a service in the field of multimedia products, e.g. loudspeakers, radios, televisions, electronic toys. The second strand of action focuses on the development of business models for the take-back and, if necessary, refurbishment of electronic products for re-marketing in the context of product service systems, using the example of high-end laptops.

The repair and reconditioning processes carried out in the project, as well as the data and knowledge gained in the process, are incorporated into the development of an information portal and support the derivation of new types of business models for the circular economy. The portal realizes the offer of repaired or refurbished electronic products as a product service system as well as the marketing of the gained data and knowledge. The information portal enables an efficient exchange of information and serves as a link between the real case studies as well as between experts and external stakeholders.

Value-added and revenue models

Starting point of the project is the collection and analysis of current market structures and market conditions and existing barriers for the circular economy of electronic products. From this, customer requirements are derived for which the barriers should be removed as completely as possible. Based on the two lines of action, the systematic development of innovative business models for the circular economy of electronic products will be carried out. This involves the design of the sub-elements digitization strategy, systems for simultaneous production and retro production as well as networks and spare parts strategies. They will be integrated into a suitable architecture for value creation and supplemented by an earnings model.

Economic and ecological impact analyses will be carried out to determine the economic viability and suitability for reducing environmental impacts. The knowledge gained in the project will be transferred to other application domains and recommendations for the design of circular economy systems and the design of business models will be made available in the form of a guideline.


Publications

Project sheet - in German (August 2019)
The project sheet provides a clear overview of the research project.