Recover Printed Circuit Boards
When an electronic device is recycled, it is broken down into its simplest parts so that printed circuit boards and valuable metals can be recovered. The research found that there are four key techniques used in the UK for the recovery of PCBs:
Fully manual segregation – segregation of target items from other WEEE streams, followed by manual dismantling of equipment;
Fully manual segregation, including re-use -– as above but incorporates the recovery of specific PCBs/processor chips for re-use;
Semi-automated with commercial shredding – Mechanical shredding of WEEE for size reduction and separation of saleable ferrous and non-ferrous metals, with manual downstream picking operations to recover PCBs and other components. This process is best suited for recovering PCBs from items which are not cost effective to manually sort or items where the PCBs are physically attached, e.g. welded, and cannot be manually removed;
Semi-automated with commercial smashing – manual removal of streams requiring manual recovery. Spinning and smashing of the remaining WEEE into smaller components followed by magnetic separation; and finally manual picking lines.