Superior New Chip Recovery Technology
TF1 is a non-chemical process that uses a specific dielectric fluid in a proprietary application to recover chips from populated circuit boards (i) for secure data destruction, (ii) for reuse, or (iii) as a first step to refining the PM in the chips. TF1 is cheap and safe. The dielectric fluid never absorbs any of the materials on the boards, including the solder or underfill attaching the chips, and it can be recycled and reused almost indefinitely. The TF1 process can be contained in a closed system and does not discharge any hazardous materials.
While most data destruction efforts have focused on the data in hard drives, sophisticated electronics users are now concerned with the data contained in the chips on populated circuit boards, particularly with the increasing use of "solid state drives". Techniques similar to "wiping" hard drives cannot guarantee the destruction of all data in chips, and shredding a populated board may not result in sufficiently shredding each data-bearing chip on the board. Chips can be removed for separate destruction manually or by using infrared heating units, but manual removal raises significant health and safety issues, and an infrared process is likely to be inefficient due to the difficulty of achieving uniform heat over the full surface of the board at a temperature that avoids creating toxic lead vapors.
By recovering all chips from a populated circuit board, TF1:
- Ensures all data-bearing chips can be destroyed by shredding.
- Reduces the volume of materials to be shredded (compared to whole boards) by about two-thirds, which avoids excessive wear and tear on shredder blades and reduces costs.
Recovery of chips for reuse is possible because TF1 is cheap and does not destroy the functionality of chips. We have recovered chips for two OEMs, who successfully tested the chips for functionality. Likely users of this application of TF1 are certain OEMs, repair/refurbishment companies, and companies that manage their recycling function internally.
Separate Refining of Chips for Precious Metals
Although, on average, chips constitute only 30%-35% of the weight of circuit boards, they contain substantially all of the PM value. TF1 could be the first step in an integrated process to remove chips from populated circuit boards and then refine them for PM.
We have a patent pending for TF1.