Kasugai, Aichi Pref., Japan - Panasonic Environmental Systems & Engineering Co., Ltd., a Panasonic group company, has developed a technology to recycle process chemicals such as solvents used in cleaning and other processes in the electronic device production factories.
A large volume of liquid waste is produced in devices production process and the most of waste is disposed of as an industrial waste. Panasonic’s new recycle technology, which consists of a distillation technique and a blended supply technology, allows for recovering approximately 70-95% of the chemicals to be used again in the production process.
This new technology responds to the needs of electronic device manufacturers who want to cut both production costs and environmental impact, as their production expands on a global scale. The company plans to develop this business globally, mainly targeting devices factories in Southeast Asia, aiming to generate sales of five billion yen in the fiscal year starting April 2015.
The production processes of electronic devices, such as cleaning and separation, use large quantities of chemicals. Until now, the waste chemicals have been disposed of as an industrial waste and subjected to costly biological treatment to remove chemical components, otherwise they have been recycled at dedicated sites.
Panasonic Environmental Systems & Engineering had already developed a process technology which consists of the fractional distillation and refining to collect the process chemicals. The company has improved the factional distillation further and combined it with its newly-developed supply blend technology to create this new chemical recycling technology.
This breakthrough will enable efficient reuse of the process chemicals in factories, reducing factory running costs by over 30% and cutting environmental impact by over 70%.
(1) Fractional distillation
Used process chemicals contain heavy metals, resins, and water as impurities besides original chemicals. This technology uses the different boiling points of such impurities to separate them out by distillation. Whereas the previous technology can recover only two different chemicals, the new technology can separate and collect three to four different chemicals. This means that it is applied to a wider range of different production process chemicals.
The equipment consists of a distillation tower, circulation pump, capacitor, waste water tank, vacuum pump, falling film concentrator, and recycled liquid storage tank. The equipment is installed between the waste liquid processing yard and the chemical supply equipment in factory.
(2) Supply and blend technology
When waste liquid from the production process contains multiple chemical components, this technology blends in only the necessary components in the required quantities to ensure that their ratio within the recycled solution is the same as in the pure solution, so that the recovered solution can be supplied to the production process. The equipment consists of chemical component density sensors, blending equipment, and supply equipment.
Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2011. The company's shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.