New technologies continue to emerge to maximize resources recovered from obsolete electronics.
Several recycling technology vendors described the methods and techniques they are bringing to the e-scrap market during presentations at Electronics Recycling Asia, held in mid-November 2013 in Singapore.
Among the equipment makers and the technologies they described were:
• Zhou Jun of China-based shredding equipment maker Hunan Vary Tech Co. Ltd., said his company enjoys 60 percent market share in China’s e-scrap shredding sector and also has sold plants in Turkey and Spain. He said a typical Hunan Vary system includes a double-shaft primary shredder and a vertical crusher with a “specialized kneading technique” designed to separate materials found in electronic scrap.
• Akio Yoshinari of Dowa Eco-Systems Singapore Pte Ltd. said the company’s Japanese-designed smelting system is increasingly being used to “turn old cell phones into a gold mine.” Users of the system have been able to extract about 300 grams (10.6 ounces) of gold and 200 grams (7 ounces) of silver from one ton of cell phones (or about 100,000 phones), according to Yoshinari.
• Andres Krebs, CEO of Switzerland-based BluBox Trading AG, says his company’s system has been designed to properly handle end-of-life LCD, LED and plasma screens as well as fluorescent tubes, LED lighting and new CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs. The BluBox shredders are enclosed and contain vacuums to collect the vapors and dusts that would be hazardous in a typical shredding plant environment.
• Ekin Kis of Turkey-based Emak Refining & Recycling Systems described that firm’s crushing and electrolyte solution-based systems designed to handle printed circuit boards, motherboards and CPUs (computer processing units). The system is designed to fully recover precious metals and copper in a less capital intensive manner than a smelter, according to Kis.
• Les Liddiard of United Kingdom-based Tectronics International Ltd., told delegates his firm has commissioned more than 80 of its plasma arc technology systems to recover precious metals from such streams as shredded printed circuit boards. He said the system does not use combustion and can convert the organics (plastic) fraction into a marketable syngas.
• Scott Newell III of The Shredder Co., Canutillo, Texas, provided an overview of how hammermill shredders can be used to process electronic scrap. The system described by Newell focuses on scrap metals recovery by using eddy current separators and other sorting units downstream of the shredder.
Electronics Recycling Asia 2013 was Nov. 12-15 at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore.