Capturing composites manufacturing waste flows through process mapping

January 19, 2024


The necessity of high performance materials has become latent in high technology sectors such as aerospace, automotive, renewable energy, nuclear engineering and sports. The expanding impact on future manufacturing of the EU waste management legislation and increasing price of current waste management methods stress the importance of an efficient and sustainable way of recycling waste generated in the composites industry. Aerospace companies estimated that 30–50% of materials in aircraft production are scrapped due to the way it is manufactured. Companies need to pay for landfilling the composite materials that otherwise can be a valuable resource. In a view that looking at individual production waste outputs could maximise the material reuse or recycling capability, gaining information about the type of scrap materials could inform the development of composite reuse/recycling supply chain. This research paper focuses on understanding the scale of scrap created in individual composites manufacturing processes to assess its potential value in terms of reuse/recycle capabilities. A Material flow analysis based data collection workshop has been performed with four composite manufacturers. Through the case studies it has been identified that there are three fibre related waste outputs captured: dry fibres, fibre material sheet off-cuts, and curried composite off-cuts. The captured information allows for the material specification development. This allows bridging the gap between the manufacturers and the waste processors in composites to address the lack of infrastructure and lack of waste material specification barriers outlined by the Composites Strategy 2009.


Justyna Rybicka, Ashutosh Tiwari, Pedro Alvarez Del Campo, Jack Howarth


Justyna Rybicka, Ashutosh Tiwari, Pedro Alvarez Del Campo, Jack Howarth. (2015), Capturing composites manufacturing waste flows through process mapping. Journal of Cleaner Production 91: 251-261.