Research & Teaching Faculty

A switching rule for plastics identification in electronics recycling

TitleA switching rule for plastics identification in electronics recycling
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWilliams, JAS, Qu, X, Rios, P, Wieland, J, Grant, E
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0951-192X
Keywordselectronics recycling, IDENTIFICATION, multiclass queuing network, NETWORKS, OF-LIFE ELECTRONICS, plastics, RECOVERY, scheduling, switching rules

The looming obsolescence of 3 billion consumer electronics by 2010 calls for effective recycling of 10 billion pounds of high-value engineering thermoplastics. Because general shredding operations generate mixed plastics of low value, a switching rule is needed rapidly to identify plastics for sortation by colour and type to increase plastics-to-plastics recycling value. The current paper develops a heuristic rule to determine the thresholds for a switching rule that reduces set-up time while managing queue space. Our recycling system is modelled as a multiclass queuing network in a simulation model. Results indicate that laser identification probe utilization, setups, and queue space are sensitive to the switching rule. Our work contributes important insights into the relationship between traffic intensity, setup time, and queue capacity, and generalizes to multiclass queuing systems in other applications.

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