You know exactly why you’re buying the sputtering targets that you use in your manufacturing processes. You’re using them to apply thin films of alumina, zirconia, indium, tin, zinc, silicon, chromium, titanium, or some other material. So you buy targets that contain the material you want and that’s pretty much all they contain, right?
No, wrong. As you already know, the sputtering targets you’re buying never contain just the one metal or substance you’re looking for. They usually contain a number of metals, elements, and other substances too – including gold, platinum, silver, palladium and rhodium! The material you need for your production processes is probably commixed with other metals or chemicals, affixed to a backing plate, and possibly bonded to that plate with a thin layer that could contain a precious metal or other materials that you don’t even know about. (All that could help to explain why the sputtering targets you buy are never guaranteed to be 100% pure.)
Putting that Hidden Value Back in Your Bottom Line
The potential hidden value in your used sputtering targets could lie in the words we used in the paragraph just above: “other materials that you don’t even know about.” Unless you know exactly what hidden precious or platinum group materials your used sputtering targets contain, you run the risk of discarding or recycling them without even knowing that you are tossing dollars away.
Maybe you think that couldn’t be true, because you’re returning your used sputtering targets to their manufacturer, which refurbishes them. That’s responsible of you, and probably a good decision. But it could also be that your supplier sells you sputtering targets once, then refurbishes them, and then sells them to you again. From a certain perspective, that means you could be buying the same trace elements of precious metals again and again, instead of claiming their dollar value.
How can you find out how much money you can reclaim by recycling your used sputtering targets? Unless you have a fully equipped metallurgical lab on your premises to run tests, you probably can’t do it on your own. But you can call Specialty Metal Smelters & Refiners today at 800-426-2344 to discuss the kind of sputtering targets that you use and to get a preliminary opinion about what trace elements they could contain. Our testing lab can then quickly run tests to determine if they contain valuable materials like gold that you shouldn’t be tossing away.
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