AERIS, an innovative recycling system that will enable AT&S, a leading supplier of high-end printed circuit boards and IC substrates, to recover up to 1000 kilograms of copper per day from waste and recycle important chemicals, won the Airbus Avionics Supplier Award for best improvement project. The prize was presented at the 1st Airbus Avionics Supplier Day held in Toulouse, France.
Leoben, June 13, 2023 – AT&S’s long-standing customer, Airbus Avionics, chose AT&S’s copper recycling project “AERIS” as best improvement project at the 1st Airbus Avionics Supplier Day in Toulouse. AT&S process engineer, Florian Trinkl, was on stage to receive the prize stating: “This award from an important partner shows that our commitment to sustainability is valued. It was nice to receive this recognition in the name of the entire AERIS team.”
More copper, less pollution
With the implementation of an innovative and homegrown wastewater treatment process, AT&S demonstrates a new solution for sustainable resource management and recycling practices in the electronics industry: AERIS is a copper recycling system developed by AT&S to recover pure copper and chemicals from waste. The benefits are obvious: smaller demand for chemicals and copper, less waste, less CO₂ emission and more efficient reuse of resources.
The AERIS project was launched back in 2019 and was recently installed at AT&S’s headquarters in Leoben Hinterberg, Austria. Its infrastructure will soon enable the recovery of up to 1000 kg of pure copper per day, as well as the reuse of a significant amount of chemicals extracted from wastewater.
This comprehensive circular production makes it possible for AT&S to drastically reduce the acquisition of copper, hydrochloric acid and chemicals for wastewater treatment, whilst limiting and preventing the build-up of several tons of industrial sludge per year. AERIS reduces AT&S’s carbon footprint by 29% compared to a standard primary use of copper by minimizing the need for the expensive production and transport of valuable resources.
Through this unique and sustainable innovation, AT&S was able to register eight new patents in relation to AERIS, six of which have already been granted.
“The implementation of AERIS is an important milestone for our sustainability strategy. We demonstrate that we are not only a technology leader in electronics but also in sustainable manufacturing. Our innovative products help to shape the future of energy, traffic and communication systems”, says AT&S CTO Peter Griehsnig.
Once the fine-tuning of the AERIS system in Hinterberg is completed, AT&S will start evaluating the roll out of similar systems for its other production plants around the world. AERIS is an important part of a broader sustainability strategy, through which AT&S has committed itself to several concrete goals that will reduce the company’s carbon footprint and deliver a path to sustainable growth.
AT & S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik Aktiengesellschaft – Advanced Technologies & Solutions
AT&S is a leading global manufacturer of high-quality IC substrates and printed circuit boards as well as a developer of pioneering interconnect technologies for the core areas of mobile devices, automotive & aerospace, industrial, medical and high-performance processors for VR and AI applications. AT&S has a global presence with production sites in Austria (Leoben, Fehring) and plants in India (Nanjangud), China (Shanghai, Chongqing) and Korea (Ansan near Seoul). A new high-end production facility for IC substrates is currently being ramped up in Kulim, Malaysia. A European competence centre with connected series production for IC substrate technologies is being built in Leoben. Both sites will start production in the financial year 2024/25. The company employs more than 14,000 people.