CircThread Fifth General Assembly in Bilbao

Last week from the 21st to the 23rd we gathered in Bilbao for the CircThread 5th General Assembly. We are changing the way we work on these meetings, advancing towards a more dynamic and hands on activities. Several internal workshops took place during these two days dealing with the use cases, the generation of the digital thread, how we advance on the spare parts recovery for repair for manufacturers and recyclers, how to go along for consumer digital information and access points for repair and collections, product environmental declarations or end of use recommendations.

There were also workshops on the difficulty of creating a potentially sensitive dataset and how to share it, including the design disassembly date format and the management of the bill of materials. We also learnt about the Ecomanager service and how it integrates with the manufacturer information systems and how it can be linked to the DPP and product model meta-data catalogue. Other workshop deal with the plastic products information capture. Finally, we also learn on how to create communication materials that can benefit the project, the organization and also help disseminate CircThread philosophy.

On top of these interesting discussions there were visits to four different locations. There were four visits to organisations that participate in the project where participants could better understand the work modes and procedures for these organisations.

DOMUSA– Manufacturer of boilers, burners and other heating sector products.

After a beautiful drive out of central Bilbao, enjoying mountains and villages, we arrived at the Domusa factory buried in the hills.  We were warmly greeted and given a short presentation in the boardroom by Mikel about the history of Domusa (such as that the name Domusa is a combination of the owner’s and his wife’s first names).  They have retained this family perspective and flexibility whilst also enjoying the benefits of being part of Mondragon Corporation now.

The site tour covered both floors of the factory and we were walked through the whole process from taking thin sheets of stainless steel in to create the boiler’s tanks to welding of components together by hand and also using automation where appropriate.  We were shown the whole assembly process including even building of wooden crates to transport the finished boilers.  The scale of the production was impressive but also the skill involved of the employees.  We were able to ask questions and learn how Domusa is able to build boilers to a wide variety of specifications due to their size and flexible production processes.  

The tour ended with some wonderful Spanish omelette whilst we viewed the finished boilers in a nearby showroom – these ranged from gas and oil domestic boilers through to large wooden pellet industrial boilers and solar boilers also.

SARETEKNIKA– Official Repair Service (Household appliances and air conditioning)

We were very lucky to visit the Sareteknika premises in Bilbao. We are talking about a big warehouse where thousands of parts and components from hundreds of appliances are ready to be send to those in charge of the appliance repair tasks. They also have a certified lab where new appliances are tested and training for technicians is also carried out.

MONDRAGON ASSEMBLY– Global benchmark in the automated assembly and equipment sector

Following the 5th CircThread General Assembly partners had the chance to visit Mondragon Assembly and learn about special machine engineering and the production of solar panels. At Mondragon Assembly, visitors were informed how they’re pitching in by keeping tabs on how much energy our machines use to make our products. We upload that info to the cloud, so we can see exactly how much energy each product uses. We were able to experience the advancements and contributions to the DPP efforts concerning the engineering of sustainable production lines and learn about the interesting company philosophy. Thanks to Mondragon Assembly staff for showing us around and answering all our questions.

CEGASA– Designer and manufacturer of energy storage solutions including batteries.

We visited the Cegasa facilities in Vitoria, where they manufacture Lithium and Zinc Air batteries. They told us that the Digital Product Passport is one of the advancements outlined in the European battery directive, and they showed us how they assemble and perform quality tests on their models to ensure safe operation even in extreme conditions.

Big thanks to the CircThread partners for making the 5th GA a success and for working together to make a positive impact on our planet! 🌍