Project Synopsis

Provide process evaluation and improvement support for a precious metals recovery process used in the manufacturing of printed circuit boards.

Project Summary


The client, a global leader in developing, enabling, and implementing specialized process advances for a variety of high technology industries, was in the development stages of a new process for recycling valuable material from printed circuit boards (PCBs). Part of the new process involved an electroplating unit for precious metal recovery. Early trials determined that the electroplating unit performed well in gold recovery, but it required significant improvements in safety and engineering design.  The client contracted with Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide process and project engineering services in the evaluation and improvement of the electroplating unit.  PROCESS was assigned the following project responsibilities:

  • Evaluate the existing unit and obtain technical information on all parts used.
  • Evaluate recent failures and safety concerns related to the electroplating unit. Identify areas for improvement and determine an approach to addressing them.
  • Participate in ongoing internal client safety review meetings and address issues that were noted.
  • Develop new, and markup existing facility piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) for the electroplating system.  PROCESS maintained ownership of the P&IDs during the project until final as-built drawings were completed.
  • Prepare an updated interlock and alarm list for the electroplating unit and work directly with the programmer in implementation.
  • Identify new analytical technologies to meet the enhanced safety requirements of the unit.
  • Design new venting system for existing tank in the unit.
  • Redesign and layout new piping for the electroplating unit.
  • Identify, specify, and obtain quotes for all new valves, analytical probes, and assorted parts needed for the unit.
  • Prepare equipment and instrument lists for the project.

The electroplating unit was upgraded and successfully brought back into service at the end of the project.

Industry Type

  • Electronics Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Process evaluation
  • Engineered process safety improvements
  • Process analytical test method identification

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