As in many other industrial practices, furniture production generates waste – such as from wood processing, wood preservation and from the use of paints and varnishes. All of the resulting waste can damage the environment and harm people.
The newly launched, EU-funded CTC project (Local flexible manufacturing of green personalised furniture close to the customer in time, space and cost) aims to support European industry in its endeavour to adapt to global competitive pressures. It will do so by devising methods and innovative enabling technologies for local, flexible manufacturing of green personalised furniture products.
Project partners, led by Italy’s SCM Group, believe the actual place where products are made should be close to the customer. The specific features offered for a product, as well as cost and time to delivery, should be closely aligned with customers’ needs and expectations.
By any measure, European furniture manufacturing has to be considered a ‘sector of excellence’, with 151,000 companies, annual turnover of more than EUR 130 billion and a total workforce of 1.4 million. This makes it an ideal candidate for the CTC project demonstration.
The project will aim to set up a green factory, possibly operating behind a glass pane in a shopping mall, where the customers can watch as their personalised furniture items are made. Specialists will directly support customers by analysing their requirements, suggesting solutions suitable for their needs and supervising production.
Actually putting the concept into practice will involve five key steps. First, a formalised design approach and related software technologies will be developed, for ‘design to manufacturing in one step’.
Next, a model of a mini-factory production system will be developed. After this, a local, ‘context-aware factory’ will be created and a CTC woodwork machining system will be developed. Finally, a CTC ‘Green Label’ logo will be unveiled.
Project partners believe the results of CTC could potentially boost the European economy as a whole, considering the overall size of the furniture sector and the number of people employed directly or indirectly in the industry.
- More information
- Project factsheet: http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/94405_en.html
Source: Cordis News (European Commission), 2013-07-05.