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BACKGROUND

As part of the companies objective to reduce manufacturing costs wherever possible we were tasked to try and reduce the level of consumables being used in the manufacturing process. By converting to spray fluxing, flux usage had been reduced and the need for thinners eliminated. The next area to be targeted was solder usage.

INITIAL INVESTIGATION

A review of the solder process showed that the dross being sent to Alpha Metals as waste contained a high concentration of solder and if we could recover this and if it was a significant amount then we could expect to make a substantial reduction in solder usage and hence cost.

To this end any manufacturer of solder recovery equipment was contacted and as a result of the responses it was decided to trial the EVS Solder Recovery System.

The company claimed up to 75% recovery rates with up to 50% reduction in solder usage. After our initial trial we achieved almost 60% recovery of usable solder from the dross that we would normally have sent away, the reduction in solder usage would not be immediately apparent however. A calculation based on previous solder usage and dross returned would give us a good indication of this figure.

In a ten month period 6,000 kg of solder had been used and 3,000 kg of dross had been sent away.

Based on the 60% recovery rate this would have given us 2,000 kg of usable solder from the dross thereby reducing our solder usage by 30%.Based on these figures and the assumption that the recovery rate would increase as we became more proficient in the operation of the SRS it was decided to put a financial justification together in order to pursue the purchase of the recovery system.

JUSTIFICATION

Based purely on savings from decreased solder usage:

Saving - 2,000kg at 4.54/kg = 9,080
  Less loss of revenue from dross returned
2,000kg at 0.80p/kg
= 1,600
  Actual Saving = 7,480

Very rapid payback was apparent from this analysis

See a more detailed study here.

 

web: www.solderrecovery.com