LCD recycling and FPD recycling – Votechnik Ireland

LCD recycling and FPD recycling – Votechnik Ireland

How Votechnik helps with LCD and FDC recycling.

LCD recycling and FPD recycling challenge.

Over 200 million TVs are sold globally every year – it is one of the fastest selling products with in electronics and hence one of the fastest growing waste streams on our planet. Today, there are different types of TVs available on the market and wise range of terminology including LCD, LED and FPD displays.

To shed a little light on this, the key explanation for these terms is described below: 

  • LCD: Liquid Crystal display- These LCD displays represent the majority of the TVs on the market using a substance called liquid crystals to block or transmit light to the pixels in order to form the images on the display. The light source comes from a miniature fluorescent tube at the rear of the display.
  • LED: Light Emitting Diode display – Some people don’t realise that these LED displays are actually still LCDs as they contain and use Liquids Crystals to form the image similar to an traditional LCD. However, the difference is the light source where in the case of LED display it uses a LED or light emitting diode instead of a fluorescent tube.
  • FPD: Flat Panel Display – This is a generic term used to describe all new display technology that are not the older cathode ray tubes TVs (“box sets”). FPD includes LCD and LED TVs.

What is Recycling?

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials. Recycling is the alchemy of our times – the proverbial turning lead into gold. The benefits of recycling are multifaceted including:

  • Reducing waste going to landfill, which is an unsustainable process where eventually we will generate more waste then we can store perpetually into the future and hence non – landfilling solutions for waste is required.
  • Accessing secondary raw materials through recycling is an important source of materials that avoids the high costs and environmental pollutions associated with primary raw materials and mining.

Developing environmentally sounds practices and technologies for recycling is the way forward to facilitate the sustainable use of raw materials and is a corner stone of the Green Deal and Circular Economy policies of the European Commission. Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, the European Green Deal is planning to transform the EU into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, ensuring:

  • no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth decoupled from resource use
  • no person and no place left behind

The role of Circular Economy to achieve the decoupling economic growth from resource use focuses on closing the loop of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use, and bought benefits for both the environment and the economy.

How Recycling works?

Recycling today’s waste products is not an easy or straightforward task as our products are complex and contain multiple layers of individual and different materials. Traditionally the first step is the separation of the product or the device into its individual components. Then depending on the type of components separated or materials fractions, decisions are made regarding further specialist disassembly or at this stage direct materials recovery operations such a smelting or wet chemistry processes.

Therefore recycling is a complex process and involves more than one type of recycler. There are different types of recyclers and facilities that operate across the value chain of recycling including:

  • Sort and separation facilities / dismantling houses
  • Specialist facilities that deal with specific products
  • Smelters for metal recovery
  • Plastics recyclers

Why is TV recycling so important?

TVs as described above (LCDs, LEDs and FPDs) contain hazardous substances and these substances need to be safely removed at the end of the life of the TV. Other wise these substances would pose a risk to the environment including soil and water supply and eventual to human health. When the volume of TVs placed on the market is considered (over 200 m per annum), the size of the risk posed by these devices and associated hazardous substances becomes very clear and for this reason the European Commission implemented legislation called the WEEE Directive to ensure that TVs were properly and safely recycled at the end of their life. The WEEE Directive is a set of EU rules on treating waste electrical and electronic equipment, to contribute to sustainable production and consumption Regarding TVs the WEEE Directive stipulates the following:

  • Any components containing liquid crystals over 100cm2 in area must be safely removed from the displays
  • Any mercury contain CCFL (fluorescent tubes) must be safely removed from the LCD

Mercury is a highly toxic substance while liquid crystals can act as hazardous contaminants and both must be safely removed from LCDs.

Why does Votechnik develop technology for TV recycling?

TVs are typically are manually recycled by manual disassembled as the direct shredding of TVs is improbable due the hazardous materials contained within. The manual disassembly of a 32” TV can take up to 20 minutes, which is incredibly slow and not cost effective for the recycler. In addition, the manual disassembly process potentially exposes the workers to the hazardous materials contained within.

Therefore Votechnik wanted to address this challenge using state of art automation technology to bring recycling to the next level and developing the infrastructure required to implement the European Green Deal and the Circular Economy.

Who is Votechnik?

Votechnik are a deep technologies company who are delivering the technical infrastructure needed to create the circular economy. Votechniks is a spin out form the University of Limerick where the founders funded by the Environmental Protection Agency developed the first prototype for automated LCD recycling. Votechnik spun out and licence the patented technology and has spent 10 years developing the most advanced plug and play technology for LCD recycling available on the market called the ALR4000 machine.

Votechnik are backed by the European Commission developing and deploying demonstration plants across the EU and USA under the EIC programme. Votechnik have also collaborated with titans in the industry from robotics to automation control including KUKA and SIEMENS. Votechniks mission to accelerate circular economy through the deployment of cutting edge technology and leading the way. Votechnik focuses on depollution, recycling and recovery of materials (batteries, PV, mining waste, tailings, and industrial residues) including critical raw materials that are at a supply risk within the EU.

What is Votechniks solution for LCD, LED & FPD Recycling?

Votechniks solution for LCD recycling is the ALR4000 machine, which is a fully automated plug and play system designed to depollute LCDs, LEDs and FPDs in safe and efficient manor. It stands 5 meters tall and 12 meters wide with state of art KUKA robot at the heart of the machine.

The ALR4000 is incredibly fast depolluting and separating the hazardous containing components in less the 60seconds per display. It is designed with a fully integrated air ventilation and filtration system removing any air-born mercury within the machine and making the machine safe to be around for workers.
The machine has been designed to being compliant with the most stringent legislation including the EC WEEE Directive and the EN50625 standard for WEEE recycling affording the recycling plant the highest compliance certification in the industry.

The technology high throughout capacity also affords the recycler opportunities to grow its business in the LCD recycling space and future proof the business against the raising TV volumes on the market. 

The technology at large depollutes displays of the hazardous materials allowing their subsequent shredding and the recovery of the valuable materials contained within including metals, plastics, PCBs and precious metal content. The ALR4000 makes display recycling economical and profitable for the recycler liberating thousands of euro of materials value per month. This is a true enabler of the circular economy and assisting to decouple economic growth from resources use where the materials in each TV sold now has a efficient and cost effective route back to the market at the end of the TVs life.

In addition Votechniks business model for the technology is designed to “leave no one behind” in line with the EC Green Deal. While the handful of large multinational recycling corporations in the EU have developed in house systems for TV recycling for their own use, the capital investment required to do this for the backbone SME recycling sector was not possible. Votechniks business model is a lease model where the recycler can access the technology for a monthly fee eliminating the typical heavy investment required to purchase technology of this caliber. This approach ensures that all recyclers can adopt the best available technology in the market establishing the infrastructure needed for the future.

Votechnik has vast experience across multiple fields from business development to engineering including:
Process development
Application of automation to processes
Metallurgy and metal recovery
Waste materials and systems including mine tailings, cement alternatives, industrial residues, waste electronics
Circular economy and business model development
EU projects, Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe
Votechnik offers consultancy services in the above areas.
Contact us

If you are interested in learning more about LCD, LED, and FPD recycling and our ALR4000 technology please contact us at any of the following addresses:

General inquiries:

Consultancy Services:

European Commission projects:

Advisory Services:

Engineering, Metallurgy & Technology services and projects:

ALR Technology Series for LCD recycling: