"Fortune" described in the report: the robotic arm can move up and down quickly and accurately on the conveyor belt. Several technicians in blue lab coats, goggles and gloves watched one of the robotic arms roll around them through the fog on the glass. The fog is caused by the extreme cold in the room. The loud mechanical impact sound broke the low hum of the machine and gave a uniform impact.
According to reports, this complex automated mechanical system is called "Daisy", the successor to the previous generation of robot "Liam", which combines automation and humanized operation, which can be used from the original.iPhonePure plastic, metal and glass fragments are separated.
"We spent a lot of time on this project to ensure the coordinated operation of the machine," said Lisa Jackson (Lisa Jackson), Apple's vice president of environmental, policy and social initiatives. "Daisy will ensure that we disassemble the product in an effective way." Before joining Apple, Jackson served as director of environmental protection for five years.
“Western” not only represents a breakthrough in electronic recycling – robots dismantle electronic devices piece by piece, and represent the direction of minimizing environmental impact.
Apple has always been proud of its green development, for example, a large part of its supply chain is driven by renewable energy. Now, it turns its attention to a equally thorny problem: the fast-growing, toxic waste electronic equipment fragments, also known as e-waste.
E-waste management is becoming an increasingly complex issue. According to the Global e Waste Monitor, there were 44 million tons of e-waste in the world in 2016, which is equivalent to the height of 4,500 Eiffel Towers.
Callie Babbitt, an associate professor at the Golisano Institute, said that as companies introduce more fashionable and smaller products, the total amount of e-waste is actually decreasing. But she explained that a new problem is emerging: “The products we use now depend on increasingly complex rare earth materials and precious metal mixtures.” As companies introduce new products faster and faster, even with automated systems. It may be difficult to keep up with this processing speed.
However, Apple did not give an indication of the extent of e-waste coverage caused by its products, but data cited by Fortune shows that Apple sold 217.7 million iPhones last year.Mobile phoneThe average volume is about 5 ounces (about 147.85 cubic centimeters), which means that Apple has invested about 68 million pounds of electronic materials on mobile phones worldwide. If consumers lack a better choice for handling old phones, Most of them will eventually become waste.
Apple announced a goal in 2017 that all products will use recyclable or renewable materials and will eventually use only that material. Apple did not say when the goal will be achieved, but it will not be realized soon. The above-mentioned Apple Material Recovery Lab in Austin was officially opened in April this year. Apple hopes to conduct research on recyclable materials through this laboratory. It further hopes to realize the company's recyclables here. aims.
Jackson said that "Western" represents Apple's "critical step" toward the goal. The robot debuted before Earth Day last year and was able to disassemble 15 different models of the iPhone at 200 units per hour (starting with the iPhone 5). Since April of this year, through Apple's "Trade-in(trade-in) plans to recycle 9 million iPhones. The machine from Austin Labs and another machine in the Netherlands are adding up to about 1 million of them, most of which are refurbished and resold. .
To achieve Apple's goals, this is a long road that requires the joint efforts of many industry players. Even Jackson showed that she didn't believe it was feasible at first, but after talking with engineers and team members, she found that full recycling was not only possible but also crucial. She said: "If we don't spend time investing, ensuring long-term use of hardware and recycling of materials, this will be a problem we can't overcome."