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A visit at Demotronic

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.




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