Aerocircular is a Belgium-based company, introducing the circular economy in the sector of end-of-life aircraft dismantling. The company is based at the International Airport of Ostend-Bruges, and is developing sites in the US and in the Middle-East. As preferred supplier of Lufthansa for the dismantling of all of its aircraft and engines, the order book of the company is steeply rising. Dismantling services cover both aircraft landing at the dismantling facility at the Ostend-Bruges airport, as well as remote location dismantling of non-airworthy airframes.
In SUSTAINair, Aerocircular will lead the development of a rivet removal robot. Additionally, it will assess impact of embedding SHM sensors in composite and metal materials on their recycling process. Aerocircular will also support the development of upcycled materials in the thermoset (prepreg), thermoplast and metal domain.
Daniël Declercq is Technical Engineer at Aerocircular. Daniel is responsible for the Technical / Design development of the Rivet Removing Robot Head. Studied Mechanical Engineering abroad (ME). Extensive experience as Technical project Management professional, Consultant and Project overall Technical Engineer on state-of-the-art world-renowned projects in the Middle East region.
Being able to create an autonomous machine capable of removing the thousands of rivets that hold an airplane safely in the sky, while saving the planet? It does not get better than that.
Jeroen Depraetere is COO at Aerocircular, also responsible for all press- and marketing activities of the company. Jeroen holds a Master Degree in Economic Science and Business Administration, and has been active in the media business since 1995, holding positions as President of the Board at the VAF (Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds), Head of Television and Future Media (EBU-Eurovision), and as independent media consultant.
The quest to a fully circular aircraft dismantling is a continuous effort with great challenges, but also great opportunities. Sometimes these challenges are situated on the operational side as well, in the process of product end-of-life treatment. SUSTAINair allows to develop and test innovative equipment that, if proven successful, will allow operations to realize higher material segregation -hence value- in an economically viable way.
Stein Janssens is responsible for R&D activities of AEROCIRCULAR, since his departure from ASCO Industries (now taken over by Spirit Aerosystems). Next to being Approved Materials Authority for Bombardier and Airbus, he is a guest professor at KU Leuven, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, teaching Aircraft Materials. He is member of several professional organisations, such as VOKA (Flemish Network of Companies) Innovation Working Group, Technology Working Group at FLAG (Flemish Aerospace Group), Industrial Advisory Board of the KU Leuven Materials Engineering Department. Additionally, he is an EU Expert for the European Commission (EX2013D139205). Stein Janssens is holder of three EU and US patents, and five patents in admission stage.
SUSTAINair allows Aerocircular to introduce Industry 4.0 measures in aircraft end-of-life dismantling. Developing new automated de-manufacturing equipment for riveted assemblies including aircraft fuselages, will set new standards and allow an increased circular dismantling process through increased material upcycling.
Robbe Simons is part of the Industrial Circularity Lab, the research and development entity of Aerocircular. As Project Manager, he is responsible for the development and improvement of new and current recycling processes. Robbe graduated from the Aerospace Engineering Department of Technical University of Delft in 2011. Since then, he has been working in the field of Design and Development of high-end composite structures in different sectors (yachting, sporting goods, construction,…) in both thermoplastic and thermoset production processes.
SUSTAINair sets a next big step in more sustainable air travel with advancements in smarter and lighter design but also addressing the airplanes End-of-Life problem.