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Philippines Recycling TOUR - OM Manufacturing Philippines focusing Recycled Tin

OM's origins date back 70 years, to 1950, when President Yoshinobu Osugi's family was in the scrap business in Osaka, as one of the leaders for a recycled tin operation to melt babbitt metals. The roots of OM can be found here: in 1989, when Yoshinobu became president, the company name was changed to Osugi Kinzoku. Later, in 1991, he established OM Inc. and set up a factory for recycled tin in Kurashiki. At that time, OM Inc. had only two people: the president and Mr. Otani, the managing director.

 

Then, in 1995 (Heisei 7), OM started recycled tin operations in the Philippines. As for why they chose the Philippines, they considered other countries such as Taiwan and Indonesia, but decided on the Philippines because there were no competitors at that time (and still are today). At the time, the Japanese yen was extremely strong. The overseas relocation of factories was also booming.

 

In addition to smelting tin alloys and solder alloys, the Philippine plant also refines tin and silver. 2005-2006 saw the opening of plants in Thailand and Indonesia. In Japan, the company has a smelting plant in Nagi, Okayama (Nagi Plant of OM Co.)

 

And now we visited OM Manufacturing Philippines on August 3.

 

OM is more concerned with quality than quantity, and the fact that it produces not only 4N but also 5N recycled tin is what sets it apart from other recycled tin manufacturers around the world. The company's commitment to high-purity recycled tin is evident in every aspect of its various facilities, to the extent that even major overseas recycled tin manufacturers refer to them. Due to OM's unique technology, detailed photos of the facilities were not allowed, but the point is that OM has not hired smelting technicians or engineers specially for this purpose. So how did he hone his skills? When I asked President Osugi a simple question, he replied that he learned everything from books. In other words, he is self-taught. He still has his old "reference books" that he keeps with him.

 

OM Philippines, the mother plant of the OM Group, produces 80-90 tons of high purity recycled tin, silver, lead, and copper per month. The company employs 200 workers.

 

Raw materials such as solder scrap, dross, and sludge are procured from both domestic and overseas sources. Solder manufacturers are also the most common customers for recycled tin. There are many advantages for solder manufacturers to use recycled tin, but in this era of SDGs and the global trend toward carbon neutrality, recycled tin made from 100% scrap is an extremely important raw material. Tin is also designated as one of the conflict minerals, and in this sense, recycled tin derived from scrap is now finding multiple advantages when used by solder manufacturers, for example. Furthermore, the electronics industry is now beginning to include the use of scrap materials in its CSR, and is trying to establish an official certification scheme to guarantee the traceability of these materials. In reality users who use tin have expressed a need for certification of recycled products, which is quite a tailwind for recycled tin. In fact, OM has received a number of requests for recycling certification from copper foil, high-purity powder, and solder manufacturers.

 

Let's take a look at the recycled tin flow at OMPhilippines.

 

The plant site is 10,000 m2 (3300 tsubo). The layout of the production facilities is vertical, with the raw materials, refining, electrolysis, and electric furnaces arranged from the back. As mentioned above, raw materials such as tin, solder dross, sludge and tin alloy scrap are processed in electric furnaces, pot furnaces and reaction furnaces, and finally produced into high-purity tin, copper and silver by electrolysis. Two electric furnaces, 250kva and 400kva, are in constant operation.

 

Further casting in a vacuum melting furnace to remove lead component. The key to recycled tin is how to reduce the component of lead, and the process of stirring after the vacuum melting furnace is the key to further raising the purity of the tin. They also have high-performance analysis facilities (plasma and atomic absorption spectrometry) in-house.

 

3N, 4N, and 5N tin products with specifications and shapes are manufactured to suit the user. Specifically they are formed in ingots, shot, and bars. All silver is stored tightly in shot material.

                  (Silver shot)

 

OM's factory, which also advocates "Zero Waste," removes hazardous materials from its own industrial waste before recycling them into blocks for use in buildings and other facilities. The following are the blocks.

        (Hiroki Otani of OMPhilippines and OM Recycling Block)

 

 

According to President Osugi, environmental standards for manufacturing are stricter in the Philippines than in Japan, and the Philippine authorities visit the company two to three times a year to check wastewater and exhaust air.

 

(IRUNIVERSE Yuji Tanamachi, translated by S. Aoyama)

 

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