Toward a Sustainable Society - Elephantech's Environmental Information Disclosure Initiatives

With the increasing momentum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is a growing trend towards greater environmental consciousness.

In January 2022, the California State Senate passed a bill requiring all companies with annual gross revenues of $1 billion or more to report their emissions annually for all scopes, including direct emissions (Scope 1), emissions from the purchase and use of electricity (Scope 2), and indirect emissions, including emissions from the company's supply chain (Scope 3). 1
Following the revision of Japan’s Corporate Governance Code in 2021, companies listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s top market – to be newly established as the Prime Market in Spring 2022 – will be required to disclose information following the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD). 2

Amid such global trends, Elephantech believes it is a corporate responsibility to communicate on efforts made in reducing environmental impact and has worked on the visualization of its sustainability efforts from the three angles of “Natural resources,” “Carbon footprint,” and “Water consumption.”

On a mission to “Making the world sustainable with new manufacturing technologies,” Elephantech will strive to make the electronics industry sustainable.

1: California Senate Passes Bill for First Law in US Requiring Companies to Disclose all GHG Emissions
2:  Announcement of the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) and the direction of standards development (dir.co.jp)

Elephantech’s Environmental Communication
LCA_230607_en
* This reduction in resource consumption and CO2 emissions has been verified by a third party organization.
Assumptions underlying the impact estimation
These estimates are per unit area of circuit boards in square meters.

Copper Consumption

Calculated impact for a circuit board of single-layer, 18μm copper, 30% of copper coverage.

Carbon Footprint / Water Consumption

Calculation for double-sided flexible PCB (polyimide film 25μm, copper thickness 6.6μm, copper coverage 30%, gold thickness 0.1μm, gold coverage 10%). Even with different board designs, the carbon footprint reduction rate falls within the range of 70-80%.

Manufacturing Costs

The estimated impact is on the assumption of mass production at a scale.
Metal Inkjet Printing Technology Drastically Reduces Environmental Impact Without Affecting Product Performance
Conventional manufacturing method (Subtractive method)
subtractive method

  • A fundamental process of modern manufacturing that has been used for over 100 years
  • A major issue is that the stacking and scraping processes generate large amounts of liquid wastes, resulting in significant environmental impact
 
Elephantech's manufacturing method (Pure Additive™ method)
Elephantech's manufacturing method (Pure Additive™ processing)
  • The method transforms nanosized metal into ink, forming a metal pattern and printing directly and as required
  • The printing process in itself has an extremely low environmental impact in terms of waste, water consumption and CO2 emissions
  • Inkjet printing of metals is an overwhelmingly complex technology, but Elephantech was the first - and currently only1 - company to succeed in bringing it to market and mass production
1: As of January 2022, based on publicly available information.
2ndPI_Promotional_SP_00924_16_9_1200px-1
Our P-Flex® PI Sample
 Climate Change: Effects on Reducing CO2 Emissions
  • We used Life-Cycle Assessment to compare the carbon footprint of conventional PCB manufacturing methods to that of Elephantech’s Pure Additive™ processing1
  • The figures for conventional manufacturing methods were taken from Carbon Footprint Analysis of Printed Circuit Board2, a study conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
    The paper mentioned above is a detailed LCA evaluation using actual data from Shenzhen Sunshine Circuits Technology Co., Ltd, and Elephantech also followed its evaluation procedure
Estimation and simulation logic (ELT method)
Unit: kg-CO2eq/m2

Item

Existing
2 layers

ELT method
2 layers, 6.6um

Estimation logic

Simulation logic

Materials - CCL

15.9

0.2

25μm polyimide film

Proportional to the number of layers

Materials - DES

9.1

0.0

No DES process

No change

Materials - Electroless
Copper Plating

0.3

1.2

From existing, assuming
proportional to copper thickness.
Assume 0.5μm copper thickness
for existing method. 0.3*6.6/0.5

Proportional to the number of layers and copper thickness

Materials - Gold Plating

7.5

7.5

Same as existing

No change

Materials - Other

6.6

2.4

Removes materials needed for
subtractive process, adds metal
ink and other necessary materials

No change

Materials - Waste process

9.4

0.5

1/20 of existing, given the waste
amount is estimated as 1/20

Proportional to the number of layers and copper thickness

Production energy

37.1

10.9

Simulation of actual data

Proportional to the total material carbon footprint

Transportation&Packaging -
Materials

17.0

1.8

From existing, assuming
proportional to the total material
carbon footprint

Proportional to the total material carbon footprint

Waste management

0.8

0.0

1/20 of existing, given the waste
amount is estimated as 1/20

 Proportional to the number of layers and copper thickness

Total

103.8

24.5

   


1: Assumptions: Copper film thickness 6.6um

2: Winco K.C. Yung, Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, Karpagam Subramanian, Chapter 13 - Carbon Footprint Analysis of Printed Circuit Board, Editor(s): Subramanian Senthilkannan Muthu, Environmental Carbon Footprints, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2018, Pages 365-431, ISBN 9780128128497, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-812849-7.00013-1.

Comparison of existing method and ELT method
(Reduction in Water Consumption and Toxic Substance Emissions)
Conventional manufacturing method
Major item Process Waste liquid
Start material CCL(Film+Cu) Omit the waste liquid in CCL production
Drilling process Via hole drilling  
Washing Waste water
Catalyst addition Cleaner Alkali waste liquid
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Soft Etching Heavy-metal acid waste liquid (contains Cu)
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)
Predip Acid waste liquid

Add palladium catalyst

Acid waste liquid, Recovery
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)
Electroless Cu Accelerator Sn, Acid waste liquid (Pd contain)
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)
Electroless Cu Heavy-metal acid waste liquid (contains Cu)
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Drying  

Electrolytic Cu

Cleaner Acid waste liquid
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)
Predip Acid waste liquid

Electrolytic Cu

※None since it is circulated
Washing Acid waste liquid(Cu contain)
Rust prevention Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Drying  
DF

Soft Etching

Acid waste liquid(Cu contain)
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)
Drying  

DF laminate

 
Exposure Exposure  
DES Developing DFR, Alkali waste liquid
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Etching Acid waste liquid, Recovery
Washing Acid waste liquid(weak)

Stripping

DFR, Alkali waste liquid
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Drying  
Elephantech's manufacturing method
Major item Process Waste liquid
Start material Film  
Drilling process Via hole drilling  
Printing Printing  
Drying  
Sintering  
Cleaner Alkali waste liquid
Circulated Washing ※None since it is circulated
Electroless Cu Electroless Cu Heavy-metal acid waste liquid (contains Cu)
Washing Alkali waste liquid(weak)
Rust prevention Waste water
Circulate Washing ※None since it is circulated
Drying