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New UK technologies to enable the RApid DIsassembly of Automotive Components And Mattresses

New UK technologies to enable the RApid DIsassembly of Automotive Components And Mattresses

The Problem

Annually in the UK, about 30 million vehicles are in use and approximately 2 million are scrapped. A rapid automated method for car seat disassembly can enable processing of the ca. 8 million car seats disposed of each year in the UK, without compromising recyclate quality and transform these components from waste to a source of separate recycled raw materials with a commercial value.

The recycling rate of end of life mattresses in the UK in 2014 was just 16%. The lack of recycling facilities available locally has been identified as the main barrier to mattress recycling faced by both Local Authorities and small retailers. This is largely due to the recent closure of some major facilities in 2014 and 2015, due to the low commodity prices - including, but not limited to, steel and secondary textiles. By reducing the time taken and cost of mattress disassembly a greater number of used mattresses could be diverted from landfill and used as a raw material resource.

The RADIACAM project was founded to tackle these issues.

Annually in the UK, about 30 million vehicles are in use and approximately 2 million are scrapped. A rapid automated method for car seat disassembly can enable processing of the ca. 8 million car seats disposed of each year in the UK, without compromising recyclate quality and transform these components from waste to a source of separate recycled raw materials with a commercial value.

The recycling rate of end of life mattresses in the UK in 2014 was just 16%. The lack of recycling facilities available locally has been identified as the main barrier to mattress recycling faced by both Local Authorities and small retailers. This is largely due to the recent closure of some major facilities in 2014 and 2015, due to the low commodity prices - including, but not limited to, steel and secondary textiles. By reducing the time taken and cost of mattress disassembly a greater number of used mattresses could be diverted from landfill and used as a raw material resource.

The RADIACAM project was founded to tackle these issues.

Image Copyright Edward Crook

The Project

Six organisations came together to create the RADIACAM project, with an aim to develop a novel technology which addresses the pressing need for the recovery and reuse of the valuable metals, fibres, fabrics and foams that make up mattresses and automotive components, once these products have come to the end of their useful life.

In line with the European End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive, this project intended to provide the UK automotive industry with a market-leading capability. The RADIACAM technology will also allow a higher proportion of the six million mattresses currently disposed of in the UK every year to be diverted from landfill, in line with the European Union Landfill Directive.

Six organisations came together to create the RADIACAM project, with an aim to develop a novel technology which addresses the pressing need for the recovery and reuse of the valuable metals, fibres, fabrics and foams that make up mattresses and automotive components, once these products have come to the end of their useful life.

In line with the European End of Life Vehicles (ELV) Directive, this project intended to provide the UK automotive industry with a market-leading capability. The RADIACAM technology will also allow a higher proportion of the six million mattresses currently disposed of in the UK every year to be diverted from landfill, in line with the European Union Landfill Directive.

The Technology

The patented process incorporates a unique sewing thread into selected seams and joints during product manufacture. The thread is durable in use but can be easily disassembled with the application of a simple end-of-life treatment.

Microwave energy is used to activate the seam separation at disassembly, by degrading the thread’s tensile properties. This allows the product to be completely or partially disassembled (depending on where the thread is used and by controlling the microwave treatment, and/or allows discrete components such as fasteners and labels to be removed with minimal force. The rest of the product remains undamaged and complete, ready for re-use or recycling.

The patented process incorporates a unique sewing thread into selected seams and joints during product manufacture. The thread is durable in use but can be easily disassembled with the application of a simple end-of-life treatment.

Microwave energy is used to activate the seam separation at disassembly, by degrading the thread’s tensile properties. This allows the product to be completely or partially disassembled (depending on where the thread is used and by controlling the microwave treatment, and/or allows discrete components such as fasteners and labels to be removed with minimal force. The rest of the product remains undamaged and complete, ready for re-use or recycling.

Image Copyright Daniel Goude

The Team

Click a logo to learn more about the members of the RADIACAM development team.

Click a logo to learn more about the members of the RADIACAM development team.

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Innovate UK

The RADIACAM project was co-funded by Innovate UK, following an open competition.

Innovate UK is an executive body established by the UK Government to drive innovation. It promotes and invests in research, development and the exploitation of science, technology and new ideas for the benefit of business - increasing sustainable economic growth in the UK and improving quality of life.

The RADIACAM project was co-funded by Innovate UK, following an open competition.

Innovate UK is an executive body established by the UK Government to drive innovation. It promotes and invests in research, development and the exploitation of science, technology and new ideas for the benefit of business - increasing sustainable economic growth in the UK and improving quality of life.

Contact Us

  • Jennifer Sutton
    C-Tech Innovation Ltd
    Capenhurst Technology Park
    Capenhurst
    Chester
    CH1 6EH
    United Kingdom
    0151 347 2900
    jennifer.sutton@ctechinnovation.com

  • Dr Andrew Hewitt
    NIRI Technologies
    Clothworkers' Building Central
    University of Leeds
    Leeds
    LS2 9JT
    United Kingdom
    0113 343 3790
    andrewh@nonwovens-innovation.com

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  • Jennifer Sutton
    C-Tech Innovation Ltd
    Capenhurst Technology Park
    Capenhurst
    Chester
    CH1 6EH
    United Kingdom

    0151 347 2900

    jennifer.sutton@ctechinnovation.com

  • Dr Andrew Hewitt
    NIRI Technologies
    Clothworkers' Building Central
    University of Leeds
    Leeds
    LS2 9JT
    United Kingdom

    0113 343 3790

    andrewh@nonwovens-innovation.com

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  • Dr Andrew Hewitt
    NIRI Technologies
    169 Meanwood Road
    Leeds
    West Yorkshire
    LS7 1SR
    United Kingdom

    0113 350 3829

    andrewh@nonwovens-innovation.com

  • Jennifer Sutton
    C-Tech Innovation Ltd
    Capenhurst Technology Park
    Capenhurst
    Chester
    CH1 6EH
    United Kingdom

    0151 347 2900

    jennifer.sutton@ctechinnovation.com