With a month until this year’s E-Scrap Conference, we’re catching up with another expert who will take the stage in New Orleans.
Paudy O’Brien is the executive director of Votechnik Technologies. He’ll be discussing the challenges of managing LCD display devices and his company’s automated technology for safely and quickly dismantling them.
O’Brien will speak during a session titled “Material Obstacles of Today and Tomorrow” on Thursday Oct. 11. To learn more about that session and others, see the full E-Scrap 2018 session schedule.
Could you explain why LCD displays are particularly challenging to recycle?
There are several reasons. They require significant amounts of time to dismantle, and you have to provide specific health and safety training for staff because of hazards such as mercury vapors and liquid crystal exposure. Some fractions, such as glass, lamps and plastic sheets, cost money to dispose of. And because LCDs are much lighter than CRTs, there are more units per metric ton, meaning more work is needed to liberate the values. At the same time, shredding delivers a low-quality fraction.
How is Votechnik Technologies’ process able to overcome those obstacles?
The process is fully automated and provides for safe capture of mercury vapors and other hazards. It involves one machine operator, and the machine is designed for double or triple shifts. The machine knows how and where to cut different types of LCDs. It can also collect data on the weights and numbers of units processed, ensuring the correct charges for inbound material. It recycles 60 units per hour.
How did you develop the technology?
The journey began with the founder of Votechnik, an exceptional material scientist named Dr. Lisa O’Donoghue at the University of Limerick. Numerous hours of research were conducted and papers written exploring every possible avenue to deliver the best economic and environmental outcome of the recycling of LCDs. Once the best practice was established, a prototype ALR1000 was designed, built and tested, patents applied for and the results correlated. This laid the foundation for Votechnik to build a full-scale operating machine, the ALR2000, the first operational model. The ALR2000 was an enormous leap forward, as all issues were observed and engineered out in developing the commercially available ALR3000. The development of the ALR3000 was funded by the EU-funded project “ReVolv,” with earlier research funded by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency.
Why should an attendee make sure to hear your presentation?
LCDs are the next CRT glass issue. At the E-Scrap Conference every year, there are well-documented issues over stockpiles of CRT glass. Every recycler attending the E-Scrap Conference handles flat-panel screens daily. They all need solutions. We are looking to roll out our early adoption program with U.S. recyclers who see the change that is coming in the LCD tsunami and want to future-proof their businesses.
O’Brien will speak during a session titled “Material Obstacles of Today and Tomorrow,” to be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11. He will be joined by Kelley Keogh of Greeneye Partners, Zhan Zhang of BoMET Polymer and Tim Kimmel of Cleanlites Recycling.
E-Scrap 2018 is taking place Oct. 9-11 at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Last year’s conference welcomed more than 1,100 attendees from 45 states, seven Canadian provinces and 33 countries, and the trade show featured 135 exhibitors. Head to e-scrapconference.com for all the latest on attending, sponsoring and exhibiting in 2018.