Heat separates a mobile phone

Nokia Research Center, together with a student group from Helsinki University of Technology, the Finnish School of Watchmaking and the University of Art and Design Helsinki have developed a process for heat disassembly of portable devices. The idea is to disassemble a mobile phone by a heat-activated mechanism without any contact. By using a centralized heat source like laser heating, the shape memory alloy (SMA) actuator is activated, and the mobile phone covers are opened. The battery, display, printed wiring board (PWB) and mechanical parts are separated and can then be recycled in their material specific recycling processes. The required temperature for the disassembly is 60-150 ºC. If it were lower the phone could dismantle by itself, for instance in a hot car, and if it were higher the plastics would melt. Laser heating is a feasible method due to its speed and precision. However, it requires investment in a proper disassembly line.The heat-activated mechanism is a fast and cheap method if compared to manual dismantling, which takes on average two minutes and costs about 0.3-0.8 , per phone. In the project, the heat-activated disassembly took only two seconds and the only cost is the investment cost in a disassembly line. However, the method still needs to be developed further.

Source: nokia.comAdded: 21 August 2006