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From an economic point of view, waste PC mother boards have very high recycling value. One PC mother board is inlayed with large quantities of IC chips and metal connectors, and inside it contains many types of precious metals, such as gold, silver, palladium, copper, and tin with very valuable content.
First Environmental Tin Stripping then Sorting and Recycling Materials
Nevertheless, recycling waste PC mother boards is extremely difficult. This is mainly because the valuable metals and IC components have been welded to the substrate, and there is no simple way to remove them.
Currently countries all over the world use incineration and crushing to deal with waste motherboards and waste household appliances boards. However, this method produces Dioxin, fines suspended particles (PM 2.5) and airborne ash. After incineration, a wet processing method must be used to isolate and purify the metals in the metal alloy bricks, and this method is incapable of recycling tin and aluminum metals.
In order to change this difficult situation and provide recycling entrepreneurs with a better working environment while also maintaining sustainable ecological development, UWin Nanotech Co., Ltd. has researched and developed an innovation type of environmentally-friendly agent for tin stripping, (SnST-550A Tin stripper), which can directly strip tin from waste boards and make it possible to quickly remove metal components and chips from boards so that they can undergo further recycling.
Currently, invention patents have already been filed for the SnST-550A in Taiwan, United States, Mainland China, Singapore, and Switzerland, and in 2013 it won an award for the Environmental Protection Administration, Executive Yuan, R.O.C./Taiwan’s Environmental Innovation and Technology Research and Development Plan.
Barrel One is a new type of treatment program which can be used with the SnST-550A green tin stripper to automatically strip tin from waste PCB boards. It allows metal parts to be completely sorted in order to obtain higher recycling value and purity while also leaving behind tin and aluminum.
Barrel One is also equipped with an immersion tank and a cleaning tank as well as a 400 liter capacity material handling cylinder which enables it to automatically carry out the process of immersing materials in the solution and rinsing.
Furthermore, the equipment used by the machine features a Programmable Logic Controller(PLC) with Human Machine Interface (HMI); therefore, employees need only use the controller in order to control the entire tin stripping process.
Barrel One can be used to treat one ton of waste motherboards in a single day
In just one day (taking eight hours working day as an example), the Barrel One can be used for the treatment of as many as two thousand motherboards weighing a ton. In one year, it can be used to treat 600,000 boards, weighing 300 tons, and this is enough to satisfy the demands of a small to medium-sized electronics recycling company.
It is also worth mentioning that the Barrel One material tanks and treatment procedures can be re-customized to suit different clients’ requirements and satisfy different companies’ specifications and operating environments.
According to UWin Nanotech’s laboratory, after carrying out tin stripping on one ton of motherboards, twelve types of semiconductor and metal parts can be obtained, including CPU chips, capacitors, resistors, connectors, and heat sinks, and these components can yield a recycling value of US$2,800.
If a yearly volume of 300 tons is calculated, 58 kilograms of gold, 8.7 tons of tin, and 13 tons of copper can be recycled to yield a total value of US$250,000. If the cost of the formula is subtracted from the total, the treatment cost amounts to NT$140,000. Therefore, companies can earn a yearly profit of approximately NT$107,000.
From the standpoint of companies that are considering using this program, the cost of setting up the Barrel One is actually relatively economical. The current sales price is only US$300,000, and if this cost is spread out over ten years only US$30,000 is needed a year.
“Including the stripped materials and recycled precious metals, Barrel One can yield approximately NT$1.1 million yearly. If the cost of purchasing waste PC boards and the cost of purchasing the SnST-550A tin stripper is spread out yearly and subtracted, the yearly profit amounts to approximately US$413,000,” said Kenny Hsu, Managing Director of UWin Nanotech,.
Barrel One is very valuable in terms of conversion capability, and it can be used to pursue urban mining goals almost immediately. In addition, the operation and maintenance of its equipment is 100% simple. To operate it, only two employees are needed for the tasks of loading and unloading materials, and the entire process is controlled through PLC computer operations. In addition, employees only need simple training in order to learn the necessary maintenance, and specialized workers are not needed.
UWin Nanotech states that only three months are needed to set up the Barrel One, and during this time UWin Nanotech will provide educational training courses about the equipment in order to assist companies to quickly enter the commercial model.
Green Opportunities are Rapidly Popping Up
2016 will be a very active year for global environmental protection.
After standards regarding carbon that were clearly set forth in the Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), all countries around the world have enacted strict environmental regulations concerning manufacturing processes and materials in order to reduce the influence of global warming on the ecological environment.
At the same time, recycling and reuse of waste materials has become a major national policy initiative for countries around the world – especially for the treatment of e-waste.
According to United Nations University (UNU) tracking, by the year 2014 global e-waste had reached a total volume of 41.8 million tons, and it is estimated to increase 33% to a volume of 50 million tons in 2017. This will be a global disaster.
Unlike regular garbage, e-waste contains numerous semiconductor components and metal parts that are not easy to recycle or handle. The traditional treatment method entails using incineration and landfills; however, this kind of method not only gives off toxic gases and particulates but also leaves behind heavy metals in large-scale burial sites, which produces long-term harmful effects on the soil.
Although e-waste is harmful to the environment, it also presents business and economic opportunities.
McKinsey & Company former senior partner Stefan Heck and former United States Department of Energy consultant Matt Rogers coauthored the “Resource Revolution,” which points out that Global Recovery of Waste is the most lucrative mining work in the world. High-value rare earth metals obtained through the Global Recovery of Waste will bring about massive economic benefits.
When considering environmental protection and sustainable industry the only question is how to establish a recycling industry chain with economic benefits.
It is regrettable that currently the majority of waste motherboards around the world are purchased in unison by western recycling companies and then shipped to poor third-world countries in Africa to be incinerated.
UWin Nanotech's Environmentally-Friendly Solution Program Is the Best First Step
We have the opportunity to change this tragic state of affairs and enable the recycling of e-waste to have a brighter vision and development.
Using UWin Nanotech’s solution program is a good start. The company provides a wet recycling program which does not require incineration and eliminates danger from generating pollution and incinerating materials. UWin Nanotech currently provides automated Barrel One facilities which allow companies to quickly begin operations in the industry and meet the goals of being both environmentally-friendly and profitable.
On the other hand, using Barrel one also assists in reducing carbon emissions. According to Taiwan’s Executive Yuan EPA data, the amount of carbon produced using Barrel One to carry out tin stripping is far lower than that produced by traditional infrared baking sheet machines. The treatment of a ton of computer motherboards only produces an average of 181(KgCo2e), which is only one-tenth of the amount produced using the traditional method. Therefore, it is truly the best program for recycling companies to use when carrying out carbon reduction and treatment transactions.
Today the implementation of environmental protection is imperative, and regardless of whether is it is from the standpoint of concern for humanity, ecological sustainability, or company profits, enterprises should all quickly introduce green programs and procedures in order to protect our fragile ecological environment. Of course change cannot be achieved overnight; however, using the proper methods is the only way to achieve this vision.
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