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Electronics recyclers strive to increase their revenues by balancing the recycling costs of disassembly, shredding, and materials separation against returns from the sale of value added products. While many studies exist that help to clarify the metals and glass recycling potential from end-of-life electronics, much less is known from quantitative models about the optimal disassembly and separation of other materials such as plastics from personal computers. In this paper, the value relationship is examined between the time required for disassembly and segregation with and without the proposed symbolic methodology. Labor costs for disassembly can contribute substantially to the total cost of recovered material. We seek to answer the question: how can the extended supply chain label a large variety of products to reduce the exploration and familiarization activity time prior to disassembly. Work measurement studies were conducted on the disassembly of seventeen computers manufactured by nine producers from 1986 to 1998. The improvement in the initial disassembly processing time with symbolic methodology is examined.
Date of Conference: 19-22 May 2003