In terms of design and construction, what’s the most sophisticated object you possess and regularly use? If you’re a motorist, it’s undoubtedly a car. The average vehicle has about 30,000 parts (according to Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer), if you count every nut and bolt. A bunch of those parts are made out of valuable materials that could be recycled–if they could be extracted from the damn thing.
However, the precision with which automotive factories assemble cars does not lead to precision disassembly. Industrial-strength adhesives, welding, one-way fasteners and more are the status quo, as if cars will live forever. As a result, this is the simultaneously insane, barbaric and impressive actions that have to be taken to dismantle a car in search of the good bits:
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What you’re looking at here is called the VRS (Vehicle Recycling System) Car Dismantler. It’s powered by an HX180 excavator which is, ironically, manufactured by carmaker Hyundai.
I will say I’m impressed by the operator’s precision and training. You can see him separating the good bits–“Here’s the engine block, that’s got some good metal in it, let’s put it in this pile”–from the bad: “Here’s the radiator, with some pesky fluids in it, let’s throw this in the dumpster.”
Lastly, here’s a side view of a similar “processing” system: