CPU collectors, like myself, are always looking for ways to get new
processors to add to their collection. Pieces like the 286, 386, 486 and Pentiums
are relatively common and easy to find. O.k. i know some are harder to find
than others, but overall there should be no problem in aquiring these CPU's
for your collection. Older CPU's are a different story, getting your hands on
a 8080 or 8086 can be quite hard. Esspially for the right price!
Sometimes people offer you an old computer from which you can take
the CPU, eBay is a good place to find CPU's you want although that could
get quite costly. And then there are companies that recycle old computer
parts by seperating usable parts from the junk and sell the usable parts.
Demotronic is such a company and i had the opportunity to visit them,
have a look at how they work.
Well, this is it. A nice building in the town Espelkamp in northern
Germany. Just a two and a half drive from where i live in The Netherlands. The
building can roughly be devided into four parts, the office, a large hall where
the separation process takes place, a room where the usable parts are sorted
out, and finally the storage rooms for the stock. The whole building is surrounded
by a large fence for protection against burgelars, and they have a mobile alarm
system walking around! A big dog who keeps an eye on everything and a special
personal protection dog in the office! ;-)
Here you see that large hall where a first selection is made, what is
usable and what is not. Big piles of computer junk everywhere, but... all nice
and orderly stacked in metal boxes. But it is not all junk, Demotronic also
buys new old stock from companies that are cleaning up their stock. In the first
picture you can see two employees at work at the benches. There are quite a
few more benches so i guess the other employees had a day off. In total 17 people
work at Demotronic, all with long term contracts because it takes time before
you know how the recycling business works.
Upstairs is where it gets really intersting! When the seperation is
done, everthing is sorted out there. As you can see, there is quite a lot to
be sorted. A very precarious job, you have to have patience to work here! First
selection is made by manufacturer, then the parts are sorted by part number.
Chips, thousands and thousands of chips! Everywhere i looked,
chips! I can tell you this place is a IC collectors wet dream! Well almost
then... Wow, i could have looked around all day... and night for that
matter. But they wouldn't let me! ;-)
The selection process in the main hall is a compromise between
handling the chips carefully and getting the work done. The pins on the
chips don't always survive this process all straight, some are bent. But
not to worry, at Demotronic they take good care at their product! There
are several machines for straightening the bent pins. Here you can see
the straightening of the pins.
When the IC's are sorted and the pins straightned they are gathered
and stored. With all those different IC's you have to have a good storing
system to find anything back. Demotronic uses an efficient system of labeling
and a database designed to find everything they have as fast as possible.
If you look at the first picture, you might think "I can handle that"
but take a look at the next pictures...... I think its clear what i mean.
All the IC's are stored in boxes, sometimes boxes are loaded to
the top with them. Even with the efficient lookup system its quite a job
searching for the different IC's.
All the administrative work is done here, orders that are placed
are being processed here. Sending invoices, mail contact with customers
and so on. Everyone who has done business with Demotronic knows that its
a good team that works here, orders are handled fast and trouble free.
My intrest was, of course, mainly for the x86 CPU's that they
have lots of by the way! But at Demotronic they have the most wonderfull
chips. While my guide filled me in on all the in's and out's of the electronic
recycling bussiness we came across these beauties. Look at the Digital
chip with two Harris chips mounted on it, i don't know what it is or does
but it sure looks great! And what about the other one?!
At the end of my tour i was shown some chips they kept for their
own, at Demotronic where they handle thousands and thousands of chips
they occasionally get really weird ones. Have a look at these! The first
picture shows some IC's that have the "core" covered with a
drop af plastic of some sorts. The second picture is of a Motorolo chip
covered with a layer of gold with the date code 7350!
Demotronic goes into great lengths to take good care of orders
that are placed. If it is at all possible they take care of any extra
wishes you have, for example picking the best preserved IC's for collectors.
Ordering is easy and communication is prompt, they know their business.
If you are looking for something, on the Demotronic site is a database
file that contains an inventory of almost all the IC's they have. You
can download it and search it easily for the IC's you are looking for.
If you can't find what you are looking for, just give them a mail and
they will help you as best they can.
That was a nice way of spending a day! My thanks go out to the
people at demotronic for showing me around! If you are interested in Demotronic
and their products, their site can be found here.