Circular Economy-oriented Simulation: A Literature Review Grounded on Empirical Cases

Claudio Sassanelli, Paolo Rosa, Sergio Terzi

Abstract

Nowadays, manufacturers are increasingly impelled in adopting Circular Economy (CE) strategies and consistently adequating their business models to more environment-oriented practices. However, several barriers can be encountered during the transition from linear to circular behaviours. Here, simulation methods can play a strategic role in supporting companies during the assessment of potential solutions to make their products’ lifecycle circular. To this aim, simulation (as part of Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies), have been detected through a literature review as one of the main technologies supporting CE. Basing on results, the End-of-Life (EoL) stage seems to play a strategic role within CE practices, with disassembly processes as the enabler for most of these circular strategies (e.g. reuse, reman, recycle, etc.). Moreover, a big focus is on how to foster CE through the improvement of disassembly processes of Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEEs) and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). Hence, a deeper analysis of how simulation approaches can contribute to enhance these processes is presented, by defining those technologies needed to improve specific product lifecycle stages.

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