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EU supply chain project: working group from the Technical University of Hamburg is part of the "MaaSiveTwin" project

Rechargeable batteries and wind turbines are just two examples of new technologies that will see demand increase in the future. These technologies require a wide range of raw materials, some of which are only available in certain regions of the world. As part of the EU-funded project "MaaSiveTwin", the initiators aim to make the complex supply chains of these raw materials more transparent in order to anticipate imbalances between supply and demand and to reduce environmental impacts and social risks. A working group led by junior professor Christian Thies at the Technical University of Hamburg is part of the consortium.

The working group on resilient and sustainable operations and supply chain management is responsible for evaluating the sustainability aspects. Together, the initiators of the "MaaSiveTwin" project (derived from "Manufacturing as a Service" = "MaaS") want to use advanced digital tools and predictive analytics to develop a real-time monitoring and forecasting platform.

This platform should be able to recognise and mitigate disruptions in the supply chain caused, for example, by accidents, armed conflicts or climate change. To this end, a digital twin is being developed. This tool is a digital representation of real events into which data relevant to the project is fed in order to better cushion unexpected events.

With the "MaaSiveTwin" project, the EU and the participating institutions aim to overcome complex challenges associated with the production and logistics of critical raw materials for clean energy technologies. A budget of 5.2 million euros has been earmarked for the implementation of the project. The main focus of the project, which is scheduled to run for four years, is the flexible rescheduling of supply chains after disruptions occur through the use of MaaS. "MaaSiveTwin" is not only intended to increase efficiency in supply chains, but also to reduce downtime and enable the transition to a more sustainable economy.

The project has three main objectives:

  1. The development of a digital twin that enables the identification of key factors for a resilient and sustainable supply of raw materials, such as production capacities, demand volumes or sustainability characteristics.
  2. Modelling current production bottlenecks with short- to long-term forecasts of supply and demand bottlenecks and risks.
  3. Designing a dashboard for flexible rescheduling of the supply chain after disruptions occur by using "MaaS" to identify alternative options for the procurement and processing of critical raw materials.

"Participating in MaaSiveTwin is an excellent opportunity for our working group to contribute our expertise in the field of sustainability assessment of products with global supply chains and to expand it with regard to the processing of real-time information," says Professor Thies, who is looking forward to the new project.

A multinational team from Germany, Serbia, Poland, Greece, Cyprus and Switzerland is working together to implement the "MaaSiveTwin" project. The diverse expertise comes from the Technical University of Hamburg, the Bern University of Applied Sciences and the Technical University of Crete. Six companies are involved in the project, including the German battery company Battronics, which is coordinating the project, the Serbian company ElevenEs, which manufactures large batteries, and RTD Talos from Cyprus, which is responsible for communication and information dissemination.