How can PCB laminate be recycled?

Time:2023-06-04 16:50:59 Author:Suny Group

PCB laminates are materials that make up the substrate of a printed circuit board (PCB). It is usually made of FR4 epoxy glass laminate, which is a composite material of fiberglass and resin. PCB laminates can be recycled, but not fully. The main component that is recycled is the copper layer that covers the laminate. Copper can be separated from laminates by various methods such as thermal recovery, chemical recovery or physical recovery. The copper can then be reused to make new PCBs or other products.

Laminates contain small amounts of gold, silver or tin, which can be recycled, in addition to large amounts of copper. There are also complete production lines dedicated to recycling PCB laminates.

PCB laminate structure

PCB laminate structure

How much copper is in a PCB laminate?

The copper content in a PCB laminate depends on the type and thickness of the copper layer covering the laminate. Copper layers are usually measured in ounces per square foot (oz/ft2) or micrometers (µm). The most common thicknesses are 0.5 oz/ft2 (17.5 µm), 1 oz/ft2 (35 µm) and 2 oz/ft2 (70 µm)1. The thicker the copper layer, the higher the conductivity and current carrying capacity of the PCB.

For example: a PCB with an area of 10 in2, a copper thickness of 1 oz/ft2, and a substrate thickness of 1.6 mm has a copper content of approximately 62.8%. This value may vary depending on the actual size and material of the PCB.

PCB laminate recycling machine

PCB laminate recycling machine

PCB laminate recycling machine

A PCB laminate recycling machine is a device that can separate copper and other metals from PCB laminate materials.

Physical recycling machines use mechanical force to shred, crush and separate copper and other metals from PCB laminates. It has the least impact on the environment, and the technology is very mature. It is one of the mainstream recycling methods in the market.

Depending on the type of PCB laminate recycling machine, the process may involve several steps such as sorting, shredding, crushing, grinding, separating, refining, etc. The end product is copper and other metal pellets or powders that can be reused to make new PCBs or other products.


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