Sarenet participates in a project on new business models and methodologies for the management of electrical and electronic waste

Bizkaia, News

The company designs and develops a secure IoT platform as a fundamental element of the solution, which centralises and monitors all the information housed in its cloud.

The SOSRAEE project, part of HAZITEK 2022, a business R&D support programme subsidised by the Basque Government, is led by Sareteknika and also involves Purpleblob, Robolan, Emaús, MIK (Mondragón-Unibertsitatea Technology Centre) and ISEA.

Sarenet, the voice and data operator and specialised hosting services for companies, is participating in the SOSRAEE project, which aims to develop new business models and methodologies in the management of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE) to extend the useful life of products. The initiative also seeks to protect the user against “programmed obsolescence” and is a definitive commitment to maintenance and repair, key aspects to meet the objectives of the EU within the framework of its circular economy strategy. In this context, Sarenet is responsible for providing the managed and secured IoT infrastructure for communications and hosting and for hosting the platform in its cloud.

This industrial research project, within the framework of Aclima (Cluster Association of Environmental Industries of the Basque Country), considers Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Cyber-Physical Systems and Cybersecurity as the key elements on which the initiative is based. The company Sareteknika, specialising in global after-sales services for household appliances, is leading the consortium’s project, which aims to improve customer service and increase the speed of spare parts delivery, increasing logistics points, the range of brands and the range of references and spare parts. The project also involves Sarenet and Purpleblob as specialists in ICT tools and system security; Robolan as experts in facility automation and Emaús as a partner in the management and repair of WEEE. In addition, the MIK technology centres of Mondragon Unibertsitatea and the ISEA innovation centre for entrepreneurship will also be involved in the development of the technology and its application to the market.

74 million tonnes of waste by 2030

WEEE represents the fastest growing waste stream in the world, which according to some sources could reach 74 million tonnes by 2030. The value of this global e-waste represents around €47 billion in potentially reusable resources of which, according to some international studies, only 1.5% is ultimately recycled. The SOSRAEE initiative fits into the new European Circular Economy Strategy, which encourages the reuse, recycling and proper treatment of hazardous substances contained in some WEEE, to achieve a positive impact on human health, biodiversity, climate change, water consumption and material resources.

The consortium is aware that these regulatory changes that are already underway to turn this reality around offer a space of challenges and opportunities for the household appliances and consumer electronics sector, which is a great opportunity to strengthen their positions in the face of the challenges ahead. In this regard, the exploration and design of new, more sustainable and efficient methodologies aims to achieve the recovery and reuse of 55% of the value of the WEEE currently managed by Emmaus by 2027 using two different strategies: retaining the value of the WEEE at the end of its life by recovering the entire appliance or extracting the components as valuable spare parts in other recovery processes or as spare parts.

Design and implementation of a secure IoT platform

In order to manage WEEE, Sarenet, together with Robolan and Purpleblob, have implemented a secure IoT platform, which is the core element of the solution, defining its main modules at a high level, functionalities, interfaces, protocols and a software architecture that unifies both internal and external elements. It also includes the development of a sensor integration layer and an artificial intelligence module that enables predictive maintenance in processes, as well as tools based on Machine Learning methodology and multivariate data analysis.

In order to achieve more efficient processes in the automation of the line, the three companies generate a predictive algorithm from the IoT platform especially oriented to the traceability of materials, whose identification is done through QR code labels, to reduce repair times to maximise profitability and efficiency and to optimise the disassembly process to meet the demand for the most sought-after recycling products.

To control all the processes, an intelligent system has been activated to optimise resource management and secure processes, which will be tested at the Emmaus Ekocenter facilities and which works with technologies such as Big Data and IoT, among others. The aim is to optimise the incoming and outgoing flows of reused WEEE and automate internal reconditioning processes.

For the management and interaction of SOSRAEE data, a secure storage and monitoring platform has been designed with monitored access control in the Sarenet cloud, in order to improve the security of each session or access to information. In this way, Robolan exports field signals from industrial equipment and SOSRAEE information to intermediate devices (IoT Gateway, servers…) in the cloud through a router with firewall, with the data being stored in Sarenet’s 8 interconnected data centres. The project data is then connected from the storage to the IoT platform (PurpleBlob) that centralises and monitors the information.

Ultimately, the SOSRAEE project is part of the Climate Change Adaptation Mission of the Horizon Europe programme, which has the overall objective of researching more sustainable waste management systems to meet the challenge of accelerating the transition to a resilient and climate change-ready Europe, in order to achieve a clean economy that leads to healthier lives.

Sarenet currently has more than 4,500 customers, approximately 25% of which are involved in industrial processes, to whom it provides telecommunications services and storage solutions for their applications in the cloud, in addition to advice on cybersecurity issues.


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