Watch a recycling machine shake apart old hard drives to recover components

Traditional hard drives usually contain useful components. But dismantling them by hand would require a lot of labor. As with all things, old hard drives go through the shredder, and it’s often a matter of luck whether or not there’s anything usable left after the process. A company called Garner Products claims to have a better solution with DiskMantler.

This machine was discovered by Ars Technica) uses a mixture of shock, harmonics, and vibration to shake the hard drive. The process loosens screws and other fasteners – no matter what type used — to discharge parts such as circuit boards, drive units, actuators, and rare earth magnets. The process reportedly takes between eight and 90 seconds for most hard drives, and about two minutes for welded helium drives.

DiskManter can dismantle up to 500 hard drives per day and only one fifth of the planet’s e-waste. . So, at least for now, Garner’s recycling efforts may seem a bit like a drop in the ocean. However, if the company can help source valuable components like rare-earth magnets without breaking them down into elements and restarting the manufacturing process, it should certainly pay off.

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