To achieve the objectives of the End of Life Vehicle directive (ELV), the automotive industry and its suppliers needed to come together at the design stage of the next generation of vehicles, and develop innovative processes and methodologies used for maintenance, dismantling and recycling of car elements.
Currently the automotive industry suffers from a lack of solutions that could combine cost-effectiveness, speed, low energy consumption and selectivity for maintenance with the dismantling and recycling of materials, such as plastic, composite, glazing, metals and aluminium parts, which are being used more and more.
The purpose of the project was to propose to car manufacturers and automotive suppliers innovative technologies and methodologies based on smart bonding and de-bonding techniques that would be integrated at design stage of new vehicles in order to facilitate maintenance and dismantling operations for materials as plastic, composites, glazing metals and aluminium bonded parts in vehicles. Developed systems would have a duration life and chemical stability over 15 years. In this goal, the project consortium defined the following sub-objectives:
- Design active systems that could be integrated in adhesive systems for the several applications.
- Formulation of the chemicals according to the type of active systems, the elements to bond and the targeted stability and durability.
- Assembly line compatibility of the adhesives at the industrial scale.
- Selection and optimisation of the suitable energy source and methods to bring energy to the bonded assembly. Different energy sources would be considered.
- Computer modelling and optimisation of the debonding process.
- Definition of a dismantling protocol for further maintenance, reuse or recycling of vehicle parts.
The final objectives of the project were the following:
- Setting efficient maintenance and dismantling protocols in order to reach the ELV directive objectives.
- The ELV directive would impose a maximum ASR weight of 5%.
The work on the Project was split in nine work packages as follows:
- WP1 Specifications of Car Makers & Dismantlers, Technology Watch
- WP2 Design and Development of Active Systems
- WP3 Formulation of Chemicals
- WP4 Assembly Line Compatibility of Adhesives
- WP5 Selection of Adapted Energy Sources
- WP6 Computer Modelling and Optimisation
- WP7 Definition of the Maintenance and Dismantling Protocols
- WP8 Life-cycle Anaylsis, Dissemiation and Exploitation of the Results
- WP9 Management of the Project
The first step (WP1) of the project was to gather car makers' and car dismantlers' specifications and proceed to frequent technology watch to survey the state-of-the art.
Second step (WP2) consisted in developing two types of active systems:
- one based on thermo-expandable microspheres that was quite advanced at project start but fundamental knowledge was needed to be better understand and control debonding process and interface mechanisms
- one based on active systems that were completely new.
The third step (WP3) consisted of combining those debonding elements in adhesives and secure durability of the systems. The fourth step consisted of assembling different vehicles parts and materials to assess the adhesives with the debonding elements and check car makers specifications.
In parallel, two WPs were dedicated to the energy source able to trigger the debonding mechanism:
- WP6 proposed computer based model to anticipate energy propagation and also optimise it,
- WP5 tested different energy sources (infra-red lamps, microwaves, induction).
WP7 was dedicated to the end user to define the most suitable dismantling protocol and assess solution proposed within the project.
A life-cycle analysis and life-cycle cost analysis were also performed to secure the effectiveness of the solutions proposed.
The main work items and achievements of the project consisted of:
- Understanding of the behaviour and conditions of efficiency of adhesive primer modified with Thermo-Expendable Microspheres. First cases studied were with glass primer, but adhesive for other types of materials were also considered. Stability of the modified primers was assessed, as well as durability of bonded joints. Efficiency of the debonding effect was validated according to methodology developed within the project.
- Understanding of the behaviour and conditions of efficiency of chemical agent as active system in modified primers or adhesives. Stability of these systems was also studied as well as durability of the bonded joints.
- Assessment of the feasibility of the application of modified primer or adhesive systems in industrial conditions.
- Studies of different type of energy sources, assessment of their performance regarding different types of materials to be bonded. Different systems were developed to perform the trials. Energy delivery was modelled.
- Life Cycle Analysis and Life Cycle Cost study was launched to assess the benefits of the technologies studied in the project.
- Dismantling process was studied in order to integrate the technologies developed in the project in an optimised ELV treatment scheme.