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New technologies for a sustainable printed circuit board manufacturing process: further results

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Purpose ‐ To present an update and the latest results from work on a project aimed at enabling printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing to become more sustainable. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Various individual treatment technologies were studied individually under laboratory conditions and then combined into a pilot-scale demonstrator line that was used to process effluent from a nickel-gold plating line in a PCB production environment. Findings ‐ The use of these novel processes, including special electroplating techniques, advanced oxidation methods and a new ion exchange system can be combined to give a more sustainable treatment process for effluent emanating from PCB manufacturing. The approach also generates high quality pure water that can be recycled and reused in the manufacturing process. Research limitations/implications ‐ The combined technology has been demonstrated with a nickel-gold plating line. Further development work should be undertaken to tailor the technology for other parts of the PCB manufacturing process. Originality/value ‐ The paper details how individual treatment technologies can be combined to enable a much more sustainable approach to PCB manufacturing which offers the benefits of reduced effluent levels and a source of high purity recycled water.
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Keywords: Assembly plants; Circuit boards; Electronics industry; Recycling; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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