Apple's iPhone Recycling Robot Liam Can Take Apart a Phone in Seconds - Research and Markets

Mar 22, 2016, 08:17 ET from Research and Markets

DUBLIN, March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --

On Monday, Apple hosted the "Loop You In" event at its California headquarters to unveil its new products and initiatives. This included a robotic cutting tool called 'Liam', which automatically scans old iPhones and disassembles them into their core components. The system has been under development for nearly three years, and will initially focus on the iPhone 6.

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The growing volume of e-waste is a major concern globally. Rapid advances in technology and  the increasing buying power of consumers have resulted in high obsolescence rate of electronic products.

Consumers tend to replace older electronic products with latest versions available in the market, leading to dramatic rise in e-waste worldwide. The market for e-waste recycling is expected to grow 10.7% by 2019.

The Liam system consists of 29 robotic modules that can take apart one iPhone every 11 seconds and recovers valuable materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, tungsten and others. However, Liam will only be able to handle a few million phones per year, which pales in comparison to the 231 million phones sold by Apple in 2015. Robotics are being increasingly used to perform complex tasks and increase efficiency, and the market for robotics is expected to grow 29.11% by 2019.

The global e-waste management market size is projected to reach $5.04 Billion by 2020. The U.S. and China account for nearly a third of discarded electronic equipment. Apple have previously used independent e-waste recyclers to handle returned iPhones, but the American multinational says they will not have access to Liam.

A second Liam is being installed in Europe, Apple said.

For further information on this topic, and a full list of all related documentation, please visit the Recycling and Recycled Materials section at                        

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