Apple Liam

Case study curated by Peter/Panayiotis Kyprianou, Kevin/Hanbin Liang and Yizhen Li

Design Values: Recycling, End of life, Community, Sustainability

We chose this project because recently in class we have been looking at end of life options for electronics and the precious materials and resources that go into manufacturing them. Recently we came across Apple’s Renew program which featured information about a line of robotic arms that can dissemble an iPhone 6 into eight pieces, in 11 seconds called Liam. Apple estimates that each Liam can take apart 1.2 million iPhone 6 units in a year, and it currently has two of them up and running — one in California, and one in the Netherlands. The machines can take Cobalt and Lithium from the battery, Gold and Copper from the camera, and extract Silver and Platinum from the main logic board. Parts like the screws and sim card trays are reused in other iPhones, and the main body is melted down and used to create the Mac mini computer.

Link Project: BMW Car recycling

The BMW Group Recycling and Dismantling Centre (RDC) in Unterschleissheim first opened its doors in 1994. Here, in the north of Munich, research is conducted into the environmentally compatible and efficient recycling of BMW vehicles. Although officially the RDC is certificated as a recycling firm, it primarily recycles trial vehicles of the BMW Group.

Sustainable economic activity is an integral constituent of the whole value adding chain in the BMW Group, including the development of alternative, fuel saving vehicle concepts, environmentally compatible production processes, and eco friendly recycling methods. In particular old vehicles are a key source of secondary raw materials. The BMW Group has set itself the target of closing material cycles and contributing to the protection of natural resources.