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March 21, 2016

Meet Apple’s Liam, the 29 arm robot that can dismantle an iPhone in minutes

by John_A

Apple has unveiled an amazing multi-armed robot called Liam that it’s using to help the environment by destroying iPhones.

The Liam robot, aka “large inverse assembly machine”, will use its 29 arms to dismantle iPhones to bare parts so each section can be recycled and reused. This is part of the Apple Renew process that aims to help reduce the company’s carbon footprint by avoiding waste, bringing it closer to its goal of being totally sustainable.

Stunningly Liam is able to complete a disassembly process every 11 seconds. That means getting intact parts, and separating them, at a rate of 350 units an hour, or 1.2 million per year. So a complete dismantle works out at about five minutes per iPhone, according to Mashable’s figures.

Liam not only operates at a staggering rate but also takes out the risk for humans. Batteries can be dangerous to an operator if they’re punctured or damaged. If Liam is damaged it can continue operating for up to half an hour before needing a repair thanks to its myriad arms.

The collection of pieces is also a smart part of the process. Screws are sucked into tubes to be housed in a dedicated container while SIM cards are dropped into specific buckets. Should a screw be corroded, Liam can attempt to remove it for up to five minutes while a back-up arm continues with the other handsets passing through. Apple says Liam has a 97 per cent success rate for removing each component.

Traditional methods involve a shredder and magnets that result in a far less pure end result and lots ending up in landfill.

Liam is currently still in the early testing phases. As such it only disassembles the iPhone 6S and works Monday to Friday with the weekend off. Slacker.

READ: Apple iPhone SE formally announced, a 4-inch iPhone for all

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