In Progress
Material Class
specific materials
Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs)

Condition Assessment of Used Electronics

Technical Thrust
Remanufacturing & EOL Reuse
Remanufacturing Analysis Tools & Methods
project Members
Corecentric solutions logo
Caterpillar inc logo
Rochester institute of technology logo

During remanufacturing, a previously used, worn, or non-functional product or part is returned to “like-new” or “better-than-new” condition from both a quality and performance perspective. One factor that limits remanufacturing in the automotive, consumer products, and heavy-duty off-road industries is the inability to detect solder joint and interconnect failures in printed circuit boards (PCBs). Although these defects, which account for 13% of all electronics failures, can be easily and effectively repaired once they have been identified, detecting these types of failures on used electronics is costly because inspections are performed manually.

To reduce this barrier and increase the number of PCBs that can be remanufactured, the project team evaluated several inspection methods to determine whether they effectively identified defects and could be cost-effectively implemented. The team is currently building an inspection system and decision support tool that will be installed at one of the team member’s remanufacturing facilities. Once implemented, this technology is expected to increase PCB remanufacturing by 25-35% and reduce embodied energy by 30% in the heavy-duty equipment industry.