P Nowakowski - Application of information technologies in handling waste electronicand electric equipment - страница 1


УДК 628.477:628.544

Nowakowski P. г. Катовице, Польша



Waste electronic and electric equipment became a serious problem in XXI century. Within last few years there were many initiatives undertaken to solve the problems with natural environment pollution and recovery of raw materials from the waste. It is almost impossible to manage, acquire data and disassemble the electronic products without information systems.

In the paper there are described several systems that help to collect data and use them in end of life of the equipment. It is proposed system helping to send information about type and details of electronic and electric waste by end user. It should enable better collection schedule and preparation for dismantling.

Keywords: waste electric and electronic equipment, WEEE management, collection and dismantling of equipment, information systems used in waste management

1. Introduction

Waste electronic and electric equipment has become a serious problem for many developed countries around the world. Growing number of appliances and creation different products helping in communication, education and household implied growing number of appliances put on the market. Many of the products already reached end of life and due to developing technology life time of electronic products is not very long.

There are many initiatives and law solutions found in different countries to face the problems with waste equipment. First attempts were made in Switzerland by promoting EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) [1]. Then new regulations were introduced in European Union basing mainly on two directives WEEE (Waste Electronic and Electric Equipment) and RoHS (Restrictions of Hazardous Materials) [2,3].

In other countries it is also in the interest and in highest populated countries like China and India such regulations are already prepared and are on the schedule to be introduced [4].

On the other hand it is necessary to prepare reverse logistics supply chain that will be able to operate effectively. It is important to prepare chain of collection points and disassembling plants. They should operate according to regulations taking into consideration environment safety, removal of dangerous substances and preparing materials for further processing.

There are many tasks to be done in management of waste electronic and electric equipment and therefore different information systems need to be applied.

2. Application information systems in management materials data in products

Waste electronic and electric equipment is a source of many constructional materials. It can be classified into main groups like: ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals (iron, aluminium, copper, zinc, lead). They are used mainly for housings, sheet metals, wiring (electric motors) and batteries.

Other important group are plastics (PE, PP, ABS, and PVC). They are used for housing, insulation, other elements carriers, assembly plates etc. [5].

Effectively working system can supply large amount of raw materials returned after recycling to manufacturing. In the figure 1 it is presented total mass of collected WEEE in European Union. In 2008 it reached over 3 million tonnes. And it shows growing tendency [6].

WEEE put and collected from the market in EU


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Fig. 1. Total mass of waste electronic and electric equipment put and collected from the market from 2006-2008 in EU

Regarding how much energy is possible to save in processing materials from waste collection, it is important factor in protecting natural environment but also minimizing use of natural resources. In the table 1 there are presented numbers indicating energy saving for different materials [5].

Tab. 1

Energy saving in materials use coming from recycling


Energy saving [%]















1. Collection and dismantling of waste equipment

Collection and subsequent dismantling of equipment is the stage where materials recovery can become effective and profitable.

At the beginning of life cycle a product structure is prepared. It includes BOM (bill of materials). At this stage all hazardous materials content is defined. It is possible to introduce different designing startegies taking into consideration recycling and environment.

One of the most important methodologies is Design for Environment (DfE) where all major impacts are included and best techniques and technologies in design and manufacturing are applied [7]. About 80% of influence on environment is set on design stage of the product. It includes its manufacturing, use and recycling stage [8]. Other methodology - Design for Assembling (DfA) is connected with manufacturing stage and its main aim is to minimize manufacturing time and make production steps easier. In DfA the main criterion is minimizing assembling of the product [9].

Producers of equipment usually use different CAD programs or ERP systems. Product structure and BOM is approved. At this stage it is possible to save all data that could be used again at end of life of devices. In the figure 2 it is presented scheme of physical materials and information data flow.

Fig. 2. Physical material and information flow at life cycle of a product

At the end of life cycle there are important two stages: collection and dismantling. Collection should be provided with special care of the objects e.g. refrigerators, batteries or fluorescent lamps. Dismantling should be made in specialised plants. Some of the firms try to make maximal profit and they concentrate on disassembling and collecting only the most profitable materials like metals and the rest including hazardous materials, PCB and circuit boards is land filled.

2. Product data exchange using bar codes and RFID

In global supply chain a unique number is assigned to a product. There are two methods mainly applied. One of them is bar code. In this method a product is labelled on a package or inside with one type of a code [10].

At the end of life cycle it can be used for recognizing a product after previous database search. Then the product structure and the presence of hazardous materials could be known for dismantling/recycling plant [11].

Other method uses radio frequency technology already applied in other areas of economy. However, application in logistics, especially in recycling is relatively new [12].

The information is included in the special tag that could be placed inside equipment. It is necessary to keep the tag until end of life of a product. After connection to database the complete BOM can be displayed and also disassembly procedure. At this stage it could be also possible to indicate amount and localisation of hazardous materials containing part or subassembly.

The Framework of the global system has been described by Global System 1 - organisation that coordinates global information exchange in supply chains around the world. For the purposes of life cycle identification and exchange of important data between producer and recycler EPC [13] (fig. 3).

The EPC is a unique number that is used to identify a specific product in the supply chain. The EPC is stored on a RFID tag, which could be placed inside electric equipment.

EPC-Global System 1

Fig. 3. EPC framework in global supply chain

Once the EPC is retrieved from the tag, it can be used as a key for data held in a secured database, from producer. Several major retailers and product manufacturers are testing EPC technology as a way to improve supply chain management.

General principle of identification product using bar codes or RFID by recycling company is shown in the

figure 4.

Fig. 4. Retrieving data from producer after scanning barcode or RFID tag from electric equipment

Recycler can use information included in EPC to connect to database and obtain necessary information. Collecting and inventory management for End of Life (EOL) products where the recycler requests a high level of product.

Consumer electronics are manufactured throughout the world, although there is a particularly high concentration of manufacturing activity in Japan, the United States, South Korea and China. The producer should take responsibility for tag placement and data storage.

3. Information exchange in collection of waste equipment

Disassembly of equipment is essential process in recycling of WEEE. It can be done using one of the methods of disassembly.

There are 3 types of disassembly [14]:

manual - using basic tools and devices. This way elements and assemblies for reuse are selected. The rest is supposed to be land filled,

• mechanical - used by more advanced companies. First step is done manually but in another sequence equipment is shredded and granulated. Then after passing different filters obtained fractions are sorted,

• automated - disassembly process is provided automatically with more sophisticated machines or robots equipped with adequate programmes depending on type of disassembled equipment.

Regardless the type the first step of disassembly is identification and separation of major subassemblies of a product. This step is usually made at recycling plant but it can be improved by users of equipment who make a decision of end of life of the product. Detailed information of the product which is supposed to be recycled can help in determination if it has hazardous or precious materials that can be separated other way. The proposed system scheme is presented in the figure 5.















Fig. 5. Scheme of materials and information flow in WEEE collection system

The system is based on database driven website and is simply in use. A user who wants to dispose end of life product uses special form available online. This can be done on stationary computer or via mobile phone.

Special form requires sending product data (model, type, weight etc), user data, hours and day a product is available to be collected. This way it is possible to prepare adequate schedules of collection but especially to prepare for disassembly with regard to environmental or economic demands.

4. Conclusions

Growing number of electronic and electric equipment waste requires efficient system of management.

It requires very important components including activity of governments, local authorities, producers, distributors, customers (users) and recyclers. Effectiveness of these systems requires implementation information technologies in different activities.

In the paper there are presented different forms of information systems that can be applied and used during life cycle of the product.

The most important is to create global system supported by all manufacturers of product structure and BOM data for electric and electronic equipment that could be used especially during recycling.

That kind of data could be used for identification of hazardous materials and or precious materials included in the equipment designated for recycling. Information of other materials would be profitable for economic analyse of disassembled products.

It is also proposed website based information system for collection purposes of waste equipment. It would help in preparation of collection schedules and equipment identification.


1. Hischier R., Wager P., Gauglhofer J.: Does WEEE recycling make sense from an environmental perspective? The environmental impacts of the Swiss take-back and recycling systems for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE); Environmental Impact Assessment Review, v.25, 5.2005, p. 525- 539.

2. European Union Directive WEEE 2002/96/WE

3. European Union Directive RoHS 2002/95/WE

4. Widmer R., Oswald-Krapf H., Sinha-Khetriwal D., Schnellmann M., Boni H.: Global perspectives on e-waste; Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol. 25,5.2005, p. 436- 458.

5. Huisman,Jaco:2008 Review of Directive 2002/96 on Waste electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Final Report, United Nations University 2008

6. www. epp. eurostat.ec. europa.eu/portal/page/portal/waste/data/wastestreams/weee

7. Gungor, A. & Gupta, S.M., Issues in environmentally conscious manufacturing and product recovery: a survey. Computers & Industrial Engineering, 36(4), s.811-853, 1999.

8. Hendrickson C., Lave L., Matthews S.: Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Goods and Services: An Input-

Output Approach, Denver, USA 2006

9. Lai, H.-Y., Huang, C.-T., A systematic approach for automatic assembly sequence plan generation. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 24(9-10), s.752-763 2004.

10. Saar S., Stutz M., Thomas V.: Towards intelligent recycling: a proposal to link bar codes to recycling information. Resources, Conservation and Recycling nr. 41, 2004.

11. Villalba G., Segarra M., et al.: Using the recyclability index of materials as a tool for design for disassembly. Ecological Economics, 50, 2004.

12. Roussos G., Computing with RFID: Drivers, Technology and Implications Advances in Computers, v. 73, p. 161­217, 2008

13. http://www.gs1.org/docs/epcglobal/an_overview_of_EPC.pdf

14. Cui J., Forssberg E., Mechanical recycling of waste electric and electronic equipment: a review Journal of

Hazardous Materials 200,3 243-263

Использованное электрическое и электронное оборудование стало серьезной проблемой в XXI веке. В течение последних нескольких лет было много инициатив по решению проблем, связанных с загрязнением окружающей среды и получения сырья на базе отходов. Этим процессом сложно управлять без получения соответствующих данных и разбирать электронные продукты без применения информационных систем.

В статье описаны несколько систем, которые помогают собирать данные и использовать их в конце срока службы оборудования. Предложенная система помогает собрать информацию о типе и маркировке деталей электронных и электрических отходов конечным пользователем. Это должно позволить улучшить сбор данных и подготовку к последующему демонтажу.

Ключевые слова: отходы электрического и электронного оборудования, управление WEEE (отходами электрического и электронного оборудования), сбор данных и демонтаж оборудования, информационные системы, используемые в сфере управления отходами

Відходи електричного та електронного устаткування стали серйозною проблемою в XXI столітті. Протягом останніх кількох років було багато ініціатив щодо вирішення проблем, пов'язаних із забрудненням навколишнього природного середовища та отримання сировини на базі відходів. Цим процесом складно керувати без отримання відповідних даних і розбирати електронні продукти без застосування інформаційних систем.

У статті описано кілька систем, які допомагають збирати дані і використовувати їх після закінчення терміну служби обладнання. Пропонована система допомагає зібрати інформацію про тип і маркування деталей електронних і електричних відходів кінцевим користувачем. Це має дозволити поліпшити збір даних і підготовку до подальшого демонтажу.

Ключові слова: відходи електричного та електронного устаткування, управління WEEE (відходами електричного та електронного устаткування), збір даних і демонтаж устаткування, інформаційні системи, що використовуються у сфері управління відходами

Новаковски П.    к.т.н., доц., адъюнкт кафедры логистики и промышленного транспорта, транспортного факультета Силезского технологического университета, г. Катовице, Польша


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