Something for the engineers
Remanufacturing is a key component of a circular economy. It enables the reduction of landfill and the preservation of natural resources, therefore benefiting the environment. Disassembly is the first stage in the remanufacturing process, but, so far, has been mostly a manual operation. Transitioning from manual to robotic disassembly is desirable in the Industry 4.0 era. A model for planning the sequence of steps a robot needs to take to dismantle a product is proposed in this study. The model has three objectives: to maximise profits, energy savings and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Bees Algorithm, an algorithm inspired by the foraging behaviour of honey bees, was used to obtain near-optimal plans for disassembling gear pumps. Statistical tests were performed on the results obtained with different optimisation parameters to establish statistical significance. They show that the Bees Algorithm was able to optimise disassembly plans for profits, energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.