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E-waste outfit automates to ramp up (photos)

An electronics waste center in Ontario, Canada, uses a high level of automation to handle an expected higher rate of volume.

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Martin LaMonica
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.
Martin LaMonica
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1 of 5 Sims Recycling Solutions

shredded e-waste

From a pile of electronic waste, a Sims Recycling Solutions center in Ontario, Canada, is able to separate glass, metals, and plastics from a single stream of TVs, PCs, mobile phones, and CRT displays. The center uses a series of specialized machines to shred and then separate using optical scanners, X-rays, magnets, and eddy currents. This pile here is material which contains copper, a valuable commodity. The following photos are from an existing e-waste facility in Ontario which handles a subset of the materials that a new center in Mississauga will treat.

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2 of 5 Sims Recycling Solutions

CRT shredding

For single-stream recycling of mixed electronic waste, material is sorted by machines which are overseen by quality assurance people. This photos shows CRT monitors going up one of many belts for shredding.

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3 of 5 Sims Recycling Solutions

Plastics

Steel and iron are sorted out by magnets and an eddy current machine which separates non-ferrous metals. An optical scanner can tell whether something is transparent to sort out glass. Plastics, seen here, are directed to another belt where they are collected and sold as raw material.

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4 of 5 Sims Recycling Solutions

CRT separated from plastic

The newly opened Sims center can separate glass with lead from plain glass using an X-ray. The company invested in the automated system in anticipation of higher rates of e-waste recycling due to mandates in Canada.

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5 of 5 Screen capture by Martin LaMonica/CNET

Control room

The view from the control room in one of Sims' e-waste recycling centers. Machines first shred, then sort materials as they flow along a series of belts. Dust from the shredding is captured and recycled too, allowing all material to be recycled and sold.

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