promoting a circular economy
- Aalberts advanced mechatronics is working with a key customer to drive sustainability by cutting waste and promoting a circular economy
- the programme reuses subcomponents to produce modules that achieve as-new quality
- the programme is seen as a great opportunity for Aalberts advanced mechatronics to start looking for similar opportunities along its own supply chain
Aalberts advanced mechatronics is working with a key customer in the semiconductor industry to reuse system parts, enabling both companies to drive sustainability by cutting waste and promoting a circular economy that helps contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
“We produce a high-level qualified module for the customer’s lithography machines,” says Roy Peters, business development director at Aalberts advanced mechatronics. “Until recently, when these were returned they were checked to see what could still be repaired, for example by removing components for use as spare parts. But most were scrapped. The customer wanted to develop new ways to reduce and prevent waste along its value chain, so began working with us on a reuse-as new programme. The programme’s aim is to only replace broken equipment on end-of-life modules, and then reuse or requalify subcomponents, whether it's a bolt or a panel, to produce modules that achieve as good as new or better than new quality. These can then be reused in complete machines. It has proven to be a real success, saving around 200 kg in waste per module, which is a tremendous achievement.”
One important aspect of the reuse programme is ensuring that the right quality standards are reached. “The customer expects suppliers to meet the highest quality standards, which we do,” explains Roy. “But the programme is also a great learning opportunity, giving us the chance to start looking for similar opportunities along our own supply chain. As well as focusing on the benefits of a circular economy, the programme is also an effective way to help solve scarcity issues within the supply chain. Looking ahead, we see this programme as a catalyst for a new way thinking and plan to look at operating a similar initiative with our own supply chain partners.”