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REACH obsolescence management for Materials Processes

Tue, 11/21/2023 - 02:00
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This activity aims to develop a management tool with controlled access for the entire European space industry that targets materials, processes and consequently technologies facing obsolescence risk by environmental regulations. This will help to identify upstream and precursor elements at risk in the supply chain of spacecraft assemblies and to provide early or timely solutions to mitigate obsolescence.


Increasing numbers of regulations in Europe (e.g. RoHS, REACH, CLP) are implemented targeting sustainable development, environmental impact and protection of human health. The most imminent implication is the possible obsolescence of qualified materials, processes and technologies, as manufacturers are forced to change materials compositions, alter manufacturing processes or take the decision to remove materials from the European market. The effects to the European Space programmes can be significant in terms of costly new product and process developments and space validation of alternative solutions increasing the schedule and cost risks. REACH exposure of the space industry is mapped through detailed analysis by the Materials and Processes Technology Board (MPTB) under participation of space industry, national space agencies, and ESA. This limits to date the effort to satellite platforms and launchers with direct communication to system integrators and large equipment manufacturers. Major contributors of innovation to space technologies cannot be covered by current efforts - i.e. SMEs - for two reasons, (i) because SMEs often do not have the resources to analyse long-term obsolescence risk by themselves and (ii) direct inclusion of European SMEs in the MPTB would go beyond reasonable scope, impart unreasonable overhead costs to the SMEs and render the MPTB unmanageable. Building on the understanding of upstream manufacturing process (GSP contract for first part of this activity) as well as the work of the MPTB, the current proposal shall focus on the development of a web-based obsolescence management tool including the following functionalities: - Controlled registration system - Allow registered users to verify the REACH status of their materials and processes used, and consequently allow early decisions of replacement and new developments triggered by obsolescence risk - Provide the possibility to include defined materials and processes by registered users into the tool and help them in monitoring their own products (semi-)automatically - Establish a communication link and discussion forum to ESA and the MPTB to address dedicated questions from industry, especially SMEs, on obsolescence risks - Allow to distribute dedicated information from ESA upstream to SMEs and lower tier suppliers via the registered user inventory - Allow ESA to establish a parametric analysis of affected materials and processes to guide new and innovative developments as inputs to RD programmes, necessary to comply with environmental regulations in an early phase, and with this help European space industry to promote green technologies.

Application Domain: 
Generic Technologies
Technology Domain: 
24 - Materials and Manufacturing Processes
Competence Domain: 
2-Structures, Mechanisms, Materials, Thermal
32-Clean Space
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