Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 27

ADVANCED ELECTRONICS FEATURE
In2Tec builds on decades of experience in
flexible-substrate electronics (shown) with the
advent of its new ReUSE technology.
CEO Neil Armstrong
promises " a very, very
low barrier of entry "
for his company's
'unzippable' electronics
technology.
opportunity to reuse about 90 percent of the original
substrate and nearly all of the components on that
printed circuit board, at some level. "
By comparison, currently there are at least a dozen
companies including majors Boliden Group and
Umicore N.V. that dismantle PCBAs. The energy and
effort required in their efforts is significant. A widely
used and rather primitive method is mechanical recycling;
it selectively dismantles and crushes the board,
then uses magnetic or electrostatic tools to harvest
various metal particles. Among chemical and thermal
processes are salt and acid baths. One uses methylphenyl
silicone oil as a medium to transmit heat ultrasonically
to the PCBA.
Today's most common board material FR4 (a rigid
glass-fiber epoxy laminate) with soldered component
connections offers 5% recyclability, at best, he said.
The process is amenable to both flexible and rigid
printed circuits. In2Tec offer various substrate materials
depending on the requirement of the end application
and the program's focus on recyclability, Hudman
said. " We have PET [polyethylene terephthalate] and a
variety of plastics including nanocellulose structures
- essentially biodegradables. "
Key enablers of the In2Tec process are the substrate
materials and conductive adhesives jointly developed
with partner Sun Chemical, a New Jersey-based provider
of technologies for printed circuits. Hudman said
compared with traditional solder and other adhesives,
the Sun Chemical-developed adhesives are formulated
to break down via high-temperature water, and thus
loosen the PCBA components quickly. " This is sustained
exposure to hot water for the 3-to-6-minute cycle to
reduce the substrate-to-component bond by up to 90
percent, " he said. " Neither humidity by itself, nor dry
heat, affect it. " The process requires certain conditions,
in sequence, to produce " a really robust solution, "
Hudman explained.
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
The process " provides opportunity
to reuse about 90 percent of the
original substrate and nearly all of
the components on that printed
circuit board. "
For perspective, conductive adhesives used in PCBAs are much
more flexible than solder and are therefore more vibration-resistant,
according to experts. They can also be jet-printed or plotted.
MasterBond, an electronics-adhesive supplier, cites adhesive curing
temperatures that are significantly lower than the 450-deg. F (232deg.
C) minimum temperature required for lead-free solder processing.
Typical temperatures for rapid cure adhesives are between
250-deg.F and 350-deg.F (121 to 177-deg. C).
" We realize that we won't always be able to reuse the components
in the applications they've come out of, say, an ECU or mobile phone
PC board, " Armstrong noted. " But the reuse opportunities in less complex
electronics are mind boggling. And the moment you start reusing
electronic components, you have a significant energy and greenhousegas
reduction on the manufacturing side when you use a component
Buried in e-waste
The United Nations estimates that in 2021, each person on the planet produced
on average 7.6 kg (16.7 lb.) of e-waste, contributing to a total of 57.4
million tons generated worldwide and growing annually. Only 17.4% of this
electronic waste, itself a physical cocktail of toxic substances and valuable
materials, will be properly collected, treated and recycled, the U.N. noted.
China, the U.S., and India collectively account for 38% of global e-waste,
according to the U.N.'s Global E-waste Monitor. In the EU, which leads the
world in e-waste recycling, just 35% of e-waste was officially reported as
properly collected and recycled. Globally, the average is 20%; the remaining
80% is undocumented. None is biodegradeable; much of it ends up buried
under the ground for centuries as landfill.
Future prospects are not bright: the U.N. predicts global e-waste will
reach 74 Mt by 2030. This nearly doubles the total of 2014, due to higher
consumption rates of electric and electronic equipment designed for short
life cycles and few options for repair.
Lindsay Brooke
October 2022 27
BOTH IMAGES: IN2TEC

Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive Engineering - October 2022

Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Intro
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - Sponsor1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRA
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVRB
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 1
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 2
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 3
Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - 4
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Automotive Engineering - October 2022 - CVR4
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