Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Complete car recycling

A factory that can handle a whole car
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Basically an automated chop shop/junk yard. A factory with machines to handle every part of removing parts from a car. It would remove all paint, oil, grease, battery fluid, elephant semen, and so forth, grind down or weld up the parts that deviate from specs, trash the parts that are unrecoverable, and output all possible parts sealed and ready for resale. One factory per brand of car.
Voice, Apr 14 2008

Recyclable car Maintenance-Free_20Recyclable_20Car
Can use with this [Voice, Apr 14 2008]

[link]






       "But we built the factory for the '99 model, and you've brought us the '03" [-]
coprocephalous, Apr 14 2008
  

       This already happens, Just without the cleaning and bagging.
Rabbitbunny, Apr 16 2008
  

       This already happens - there was a fascinating piece on it on "How do they do it?" (UK television programme - Channel 5, Monday night - required viewing for Halfbakers). All fluids are drained or siphoned from the car (e.g. the sump was drained by drilling a big hole in it) and collected for recycling. The car was then put in something like a massive paper shredder and then the small chunks of car sorted first by magnets and then by people picking out different things as the chunks of car went by on a conveyer belt.
hippo, Apr 16 2008
  

       [hippo], I worked at one of those facilities for a short time. Imagine something that is 40t & rotating at 600rpm, with 40-odd 200kg hammers free to rotate on 4 equally spaced shafts. Insert one car and a few seconds later a pile of shrapnel appears underneath. I always thought it was a good way to get rid of car bodies, and any other type of bodies that happened to be lurking in the boot.
Occasionally there was a petrol explosion. I remember a 4t roof, which was bolted every 300mm with bolts as big as your arm, being blown completely off. Crankshafts used to come out in a series of blue balls at immense speed. A demolition ball put the machine out of action for a week: the rotor came to a halt in about a quarter of a turn.
  

       Non-ferrous metals used to be sorted out onto one line, and I set up the linear motor separators so that all the coins came out on one conveyor. As you now know, the only way to get the coins out from the back of your car seat is to send the car to a shredder.
Ling, Apr 16 2008
  

       Automobile manufacturers are required by most countries to document the material content present in each nut, bolt, bearing, bushing, fender, and whatnot, right down to the coatings on them due to material regulations and restrictions. For instance, Europe is imposing a regulation on the amount of lead content in alloys, which has driven development costs upwards lately. Some components like bushings are getting a by for now as the removal of the lead is currently technically infeasible.   

       For the bits of electronic junk, lcd panels, and whatnot, I'm more fuzzy on what the rules are.
RayfordSteele, Apr 16 2008
  

       I believe it is actually cheaper to break up a car and then re manufacture the parts from raw material than to take it apart and recondition the parts. The Auto recycling industry is focused around the recycling of only the highest value parts(most often this is engines, Glass and body parts that are easily removed and normally only on the newest vehicles.
jhomrighaus, Apr 16 2008
  

       Yes that's usually the case. In many cases, reconditioning is impossible anyways.
RayfordSteele, Apr 16 2008
  

       [-]Most cars have over 1000 parts that range from something as large as the engine block to something as small as the little clip that connects the door handle to the latch. Used parts are more efficiently stored on the cars themselves allowing the customers to pick off what they need until it becomes an empty carcass.
Jscotty, Apr 16 2008
  

       It's a nice thought, but cars have parts that turn into rust, tiny metal shavings, and bits of fiber that you can't do much with in terms of reconditioning. Wires burn out, fasteners rust, many parts are attach-once only, etc.   

       Forcing manufacturers to 'buy back' their cars is a proposal that is on the books somewhere and not a terrible idea, imho.
RayfordSteele, Apr 16 2008
  

       This idea is Excellent. And i'm Quite Convinced that robots will make it possible (forget saving the paint though). At present it is Too Expensive to do this. 1) cars are not Made to be recycled. 2) it would take a human Too Long 3) some materials are not recyclable.   

       However, robots, can and will take things apart. Products need to be designed with recycling in mind (or be fined / taxed).   

       I love this idea. I'll do my bit to rid you of fish!
nicholaswhitworth, Apr 16 2010
  

       manufacturers should pay for the disposal cost of the product. long lived items with a high value for recycling should be returned to their maker for disposal. Companies might get a lot smarter about re-use and reduced waste. the "used things are worn out and worthless" is a myth. Metals do fatigue and corrode, but most parts of a car do not fatigue or corrode and could be designed for refurbishment and re-use.
WcW, Apr 16 2010
  

       All of this is based on a very dubious and facile assumption: namely that it is somehow "better" to refurbish components than it is to recycle the raw materials.   

       [Ian Tindale], [Voice], [nicholaswhitworth] and [WcW] are all guilty of a very simplistic and potentially harmful way of thinking.   

       Why, exactly, is it better to refurbish components than to melt them down for raw materials? Does it save on energy? Does it result in less pollution? Does it actually benefit the environment?   

       Perhaps it does, but it is naively foolish to make such assumptions. I actually suspect that it takes less energy and causes less pollution to shred a car and turn the recovered materials into new components than it would to dismantle it, and then treat and test each of thousands of individual components.   

       An awful lot of bollocks is talked by well-meaning people who would like to save the planet. I may be completely wrong in this case, but it's a question that ought to be asked.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 16 2010
  

       // well-meaning people who would like to save the plane //   

       Well, don't look at us. Bear in mind that (a) we are Evil Incarnate, and (b) while we want to save your planet, you have no idea of what we want to save it for (think strip mining, but on a somewhat bigger scale).   

       // I may be completely wrong //   

       No change there, then.
8th of 7, Apr 16 2010
  

       // Perhaps it may become cool to boast about your new thing that you've bought that is leading edge technology, nice and spiffy, and of course contains the expected and by now socially demanded smattering of 'vintage' parts with their refurbishment certification and other systemic metadata. //   

       I will do my best to bring that about. I already have a project starting (kinda like this idea, but not for cars, and not specific to individual models) and some projects in planning that will do a lot of that. I will add links when they're online somewhere.   

       // All of this is based on a very dubious and facile assumption: namely that it is somehow "better" to refurbish components than it is to recycle the raw materials.   

       Why, exactly, is it better to refurbish components than to melt them down for raw materials? Does it save on energy? Does it result in less pollution? Does it actually benefit the environment?   

       Perhaps it does, but it is naively foolish to make such assumptions. I actually suspect that it takes less energy and causes less pollution to shred a car and turn the recovered materials into new components than it would to dismantle it, and then treat and test each of thousands of individual components. //   

       Indeed, let's not assume component-level refurbishment is better than material-level recycling, but let's also not assume it's worse. Let's try both at a reasonably high level of development and compare them.
notexactly, Jun 13 2015
  

       What's needed is a really, really big mass spec. Car in, isotopically pure elements out.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 13 2015
  

       It's economic to shred car bodies if they're more than a few years old. Until then, there is a fair market for late model sheet metal body parts.   

       Typically engines and transmissions and differential gears are economic to rebuild. A rebuilt replacement engine is typically 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a new crate engine.
whlanteigne, Jun 14 2015
  
      
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