The project “Better CNC Factory” aims to reduce wood waste from CNC production by deploying Industry 4.0 strategies (digital twin, automation, workflow and material optimization) that also allow artists and designers to introduce new customizable products that take advantage of the remaining waste. An artist, a technology supplier and a Manufacturing company form this multidisciplinar consortium that will take advantage of the EU funded RAMP platform to deploy this new solution.

Fiction Factory builds custom interiors for B2B global and local brands of different sectors such as retail, hospitality, fairs, pavilions, exhibitions, offices and specials. With building custom interiors, Fiction Factory has a wood waste stream of which 70% comes from digital CNC router production. This wood waste is unused material that will be burned as recycling companies classify this waste as low quality. In the Netherlands, there is an average of 30% of wood waste within interior building companies (research by CBM). The current workflow and technologies used in the industry lack flexibility and are not adapted to highly-customised and one-off projects such as those that Fiction Factory deals with every day.

The project Better CNC Factory (BCF) will challenge opportunities to reduce waste through the development of optimization algorithms and new products that take advantage of the waste. This project proposes to develop a new solution at the intersection of design and technology that can help the manufacturing sector to be more competitive and, at the same time, reduce waste in an innovative way. The technology provider IAAC will bring to the project its unique expertise in automated wood waste recycling and combine it with the artist Jesse Howard’s expertise in systemic design for digital fabrication.

The project plans on one side to deploy and integrate a technological solution for waste reduction and production pre-planning + simulation based on the RAMP ecosystem, and on the other side to develop a series of customizable products that will adapt in shape and design to the waste material available, creating new business opportunities.

The project will demonstrate a successful deployment of this new Lean-Agile production system with an improvement in productivity of 10% and a waste reduction of 30% through 2 small scale pilot projects (products) and 1 large pilot project (architecture). The developed solution will also allow Better Factory optimise project planning and management.

Creating a Better CNC Factory will definitely avoid those losses on wasted material by increasing the efficiency and scaling up production, so the profit will add up. Preventing 30% of the wood waste from being burned will also prevent 28.396 kg of stored CO2 being set free per year. Moreover, the new methodology of pre-identifying CNC waste and proposed technologies, provide a new framework for designers and producers in which not only is material waste minimised, but a new typology of waste-specific object design and manufacturing emerges. Research showed that reprocessing of secondary wood material into new wood material will make a growth of 5 million jobs by 2030. With all the previous, the potential value of waste-use – economic, environmental and social – is expected to influence additional parties in the manufacturing sector.

EU Project Better CNC Factory (2021-2022)
Description The project “Better CNC Factory” aims to reduce waste and create new upcycled products in CNC Wood Manufacturing, using DIgital Twin, Computational Design and IOT technologies.
EU Call Better Factory 1st call, H2020 Cascade Funding
Total Funding 200 000 €
IAAC Department Advanced Architecture Group
Partners Fiction Factory (NL)
Jesse Howard (NL)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 776783