Design and Control of Remote Operation Devices for Remote Recycling
Recently in Japan, recovery of precious and critical metals from used electronics, the so-called urban mines, is an emerging problem. In order to promote extraction of metals from used products, a legislation started from April, 2013. However, return rate of used products is insufficient. As a countermeasure of the situation, the authors’ research group has proposed a new recycling method named remote recycling, in order to reduce the recycling cost. The method is to separate valuable parts from printed circuit board with non-valuable parts mainly from outer case, by remote operation. Using smartphones as a case study, the paper explains that the method is a promising way for replacing the conventional recycling process for intermediate treatment of used products. Through the remote separation operation by the improved system, it was shown that the work rate was much higher than that of manual disassembly. The recovery rate of metals such as Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, and Sn was over 85% and high enough. On the other hand, recovery rate of Ti had some space of improvement. However, in general, remote separation had some advantages in separation time, work rate, easiness of operation, and overall metal recovery rates, as well. Through the experiment, the study concluded that the remote recycling is a hopeful method for intermediate treatment.
KeywordsUrban mine Recycling Remote operation Printed circuit board
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