Rare Earth Magnet Harvesting and Reuse
Reconext
Category
Data Centre Sustainability Project Of The Year
Entry Description
In partnership with Dell and Seagate, Reconext developed a process to reclaim rare-earth magnets from used hard drives to be used in the manufacturing process for new drives.

-General obstacles to refurbishing and reusing hard drives (From Dell’s perspective)
-Data destruction
-Firmware & IP Infringements
-Cannibalizing sales of new drives
-Reconext solved these issues by:
-Ensuring onsite data destruction by using Proteus – our proprietary ADISA certified solution that eradicates all data to level 2 purge NIST standard
-Using Reconext unique white label technology to install a new Reconext IP appropriate firmware & Unique serial number and making the drive a generic format device.
-De-branding the Dell drives to sell under Reconext’s own Vivetronic product line unlinked to the sales of new Dell and Seagate drives
-All original branding removed
-New Firmware and serial numbers created
-Drives function like new
-This process created significant financial and environmental benefits
-Far greater value recovery compared to recycling
-Reuse of drives intact avoids the resource usage and carbon emissions associated with manufacturing a new drive
-It’s estimated the reuse of each magnet assembly saves 1.9kg of embodied carbon emissions
-However, not all drives have adequate secondary market value or are able to be fully remanufactured
-In the past, those devices were being sent to recycling operators where they were mechanically shredded
-Although raw materials are separated after shredding, there can be significant contamination which limits the usage of some raw materials and purity
-Rare earth magnets are a focus material because they are in short supply
-Reconext changed the process to physically demanufacture the drives to remove the rare earth magnets before the remaining materials were put through a shredder
-Reconext supplied to rare earth magnets to Seagate to be used in the manufacturing process for new drives
-In terms of computer manufacturers and data center operators, Dell is a pioneer in this process.
-Other companies are still predominately sending drives directly to shredding facilities

This innovative process is making a real difference to add circularity to data storage devices.