In one of the Cupertino warehouses, a massive robot works relentlessly to address a mounting problem for the consumer electronics industry – Handling electronic waste effectively. Liam is a robot owned by Apple Inc. and it has been under creation for almost three years. Apple ensured that the robot remained a secret until now when Apple finally decided to pull the sheets off Liam in their spring product launch event.
While we have been focusing really hard on bringing robots to the assembly lines and using them in warehouses for distribution, we had hardly put a robot at the heart of disassembling things. After all who would want to dismantle something as beautiful as the iPhone 6? Liam does its job really when it pulls apart the iPhone 6 part by part so that the parts can be recycled.
If you recently took your iPhone 6 or 6S to the store to trade your device, then you would have hardly imagined what your phone would go through next. All iPhones that have suffered some kind of damage are returned to one of the two distribution centers in United States where they are checked for the extent of damage. If any parts of the phone can be salvaged, then they are sent to the mystery warehouse where Liam along with its 29 free standing robotic arms gets to work to give the phone a more productive after-life.
Liam takes apart every component of the phone bit by bit so that it is easier to recycle the parts. This ensures that plastic, metal and glass parts are separated so that they can be sold to vendors who can recycle them into something else. So your iPhone does not end up getting dumped in a landfill without any further objective.