PhD Research Position on Destructive Robotic Demanufacturing

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
September 18, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD Research Position on Destructive Robotic Demanufacturing

(ref. BAP-2023-541)

Last modification : Friday, August 18, 2023

The KU Leuven research group on Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering has, in close cooperation with their industrial partners, acquired significant experience in re- and demanufacturing, or in other words the dismantling and disassembly of products into their components or composing materials for the purpose of rework, reuse, repair, repurposing, remanufacturing and recycling. The KU Leuven has recently established the Re- and Demanufacturing Lab in Heverlee to support these research activities. The ten-headed team working in this lab has in the framework of various national and international projects developed and installed various setups in this lab with state-of-the-art automation, spectroscopic and computer vision equipment for material characterization, robotic sorting and robotic disassembly or dismantling. The group's ambition is to further develop its lab and infrastructure, together with the related software and expertise in this field. This to support system integrators, original equipment manufacturers and reuse, repair, remanufacturing and recycling companies in the development of the next generation of products and processes for a circular economy.

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The envisaged research will be part of the recently approved “AUtonomous Demanufacturing of battery dRIven products” (AUDRI) project that will run over four years with university funding (C2). The project ambitions to bring together a multidisciplinary team to develop the fundamentals for a paradigm shift in the reuse and recycling industry towards fully autonomous dismantling lines that can process a highly diverse stream of battery driven waste of electric and electronic equipment. Within prior research at KU Leuven various technologies have been demonstrated for the robotic disassembly of flat (2D) shaped products e.g., laptops, tablets, etc. In the AUDRI project it is the objective to investigate novel approaches for the dismantling of a broader variety of electric and electronic products, especially those with batteries and with more complex geometries (3D) e.g., electric toothbrushes, toys, vacuum cleaners, flashlights, remote controls, etc. This poses both challenges with respect to feature detection (e.g. batteries under different orientations), autonomous determination of robotic dismantling strategies, and the need for more diverse dismantling technologies that in many cases require 3D dismantling trajectory determination.

Therefore, in the context of the AUDRI project:

• You will investigate state-of-the-art technologies adopted in demanufacturing and today's challenges and requirements for robotic demanufacturing, with a strong focus on destructive/cutting/material removal techniques.

• You will investigate methods for the generation of 3D trajectories/toolpaths with the help of computer vision technologies.

• You will support the designs and programming to update the available lab setups and related software, for robotic demanufacturing tests.

• You will setup and perform tests with battery containing products, to evaluate the impact of the proposed innovations on the efficiency and robustness of robotic demanufacturing processes.


You are part of a multi-disciplinary research group, working on the topic of Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) under the supervision of Prof. Dr. MSc. Ing. Jef Peeters.

• You follow-up literature, patents, company releases, conferences, etc., and use the obtained information to determine the state-of-the-art and identify opportunities for novel contributions to the field.

• You are responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating (design for) robotic demanufacturing.

• You help to define Master thesis topics related to your research and guide Master students with their thesis work.

• You support in teaching activities for bachelor or master students at the faculty of engineering technology, campus Groep T (less than 10% of the working time)

• You report to your senior colleagues, supervisors, and industrial partners

• You present your research results at international conferences.

• You hold a Master's in Engineering for which you obtained a high GPA (in Belgium a cumlaude level is a prerequisite).

• You have good programming skills and experience with Python programming, experience with implementing computer vision algorithms and/or communication with robots is a plus.

• You like to bring theory to practice by hands-on experiments.

• You like to work in a multi-disciplinary team of international researchers and show willingness to learn/explore innovative technologies and techniques.

• You have a creative mindset, like to take initiative, and are not afraid to address innovative ideas and new opportunities.

• You have good communication skills (oral and written) in English.


• We offer a varied and challenging job with an attractive salary package.

• We offer a research position in a stimulating and multi-disciplinary environment and a solid industrial network.

• We will support you in publishing in high-ranked international scientific journals.

• We provide the opportunity to work towards obtaining a PhD degree within an international network.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Jef Peeters, tel.: +32 16 32 25 69, mail: [email protected].

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected].

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