Pyra production & ethics


Georges Dupéron

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Hi all!

I would like to know what information we have concerning the Pyra's production and supply chain on the ethical aspect. IIRC, most of the assembly is done in Europe (including the case in Greece), so that part can be assumed to be covered by mostly-fair local laws. I haven't found any information concerning conflict-free minerals (coltane, etc.), which is a big concern in a lot of consumer electronics.

I perfectly understand that for small batches, it's hard to control everything, or to impose constraints on the producers, but it would be good to know where possible what's happening behind the scenes.

Any pointers?
 

levi

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Hmm, the Pyra contains quite a lot of integrated circuits so some of them are bound to contain something from an unstable part of the world. The schematics have been published, but I'm not the best at reading them to be honest, but it should be possible to get part numbers for most bits.

Attacking the question from the other end, I'd have thought tantalum (your coltan in other words) in capacitors is a major possibility in the Pyra, and maybe a little gold used in interconnects inside the processors. I think the battery is mostly safe, although it'll probably be a LiCoO4 battery again (the anode) and most cobalt comes from the DRC or CAR. Most of the battery consists of the electrolyte though, and that's just common lithium in common solvents, and the cathode is just carbon. The screen is LCD with I assume a CCFL backlight, and I haven't researched what those are made of yet.
 

Georges Dupéron

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Thanks levi for this preliminary information, and for the research effort you've already put into this!

Given how the US has had regulations concerning minerals for a short time now, and how Europe is starting to implement some too, it would be a logical step from the Pyra project if we could be mildly ahead and be able to publicise the Pyra as conflict-free, rather than lag behind and wait for the regulations to force us to do so.
 

levi

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Regarding the CCFL backlight to the LCD panel, I think its constituents mostly come from china - the mercury and phosphor salts almost certainly do. The tungsten filament will have come from wolframite I think, which is a conflict mineral. I doubt the liquid crystals or colour filters are especially worth investigation, based on the research I've done thus far.

I suspect we can't declare the Pyra as being completely conflict mineral free therefore, but in practice it probably contains very little stuff that should affect our moral positions though.
 

levi

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Ah, good. Yeah, I wondered how they fit tiny glass tubes into the back even of the Pandora's LCD panel. Luckily the only interesting element in white LEDs is a boring old (not very) rare earth element, as far as I can see.
 

gpsqueeek

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Well... The Fairphone focuses on ethical minerals, this is their main advertised selling point, and they cannot get all of them from conflict free areas ; and the company, although way smaller than Samsung and their competitors, is still quite bigger than the Pyra team.
I agree it would be nice to have conflict-free material along with the European assembly, but I would not count on it too much for now. One step at a time is a sure way to walk along the path :)
 

EvilDragon

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As much as I would love to do that, it's simply not possible. We'd have to source ALL our materials ourselves, basically.
Any resistor, capacitor, coil, IC, RAM, etc. used in the system.... heck, even anything used in the PCB.

Telling the manufacturer or PCB producer to only use items based on fair trade won't work. There's no system setup like that, you cannot simply pay more, as there aren't any distributors where you can buy fair-trade electronic components (at least not that I'm aware of).
If such a system would exist and I could simply pay a bit more to distributors to get such parts, I'd do it... but there isn't :(
 

_jr_

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As much as I would love to do that, it's simply not possible. We'd have to source ALL our materials ourselves, basically.
Any resistor, capacitor, coil, IC, RAM, etc. used in the system.... heck, even anything used in the PCB.

Telling the manufacturer or PCB producer to only use items based on fair trade won't work. There's no system setup like that, you cannot simply pay more, as there aren't any distributors where you can buy fair-trade electronic components (at least not that I'm aware of).
If such a system would exist and I could simply pay a bit more to distributors to get such parts, I'd do it... but there isn't :(
But it would be nice to have more transparency. I would donate for a project creating a chart like https://www.nager-it.de/static/pdf/lieferkette.pdf (even if it has much more red in it).
 

TrashyMG

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But it would be nice to have more transparency. I would donate for a project creating a chart like https://www.nager-it.de/static/pdf/lieferkette.pdf (even if it has much more red in it).
Well the bill of materials is available in the released schematics, I suppose someone like yourself who cares about this information could volunteer to take all the effort of putting that together?
 

_jr_

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Well the bill of materials is available in the released schematics, I suppose someone like yourself who cares about this information could volunteer to take all the effort of putting that together?
If I had the time, but I only have money.
 

levi

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I don't understand what kingu is saying there as it stands - has been what? - but he alludes to an issue that I suspect is going to be tricky for almost any ethical electronic product; tin is a major constituent of all RoHS solders (lead free) - as well as leaded solder for that matter - and almost all tin comes from casserite which is often considered to be a conflict mineral
 

_jr_

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Looking at https://www.nager-it.de/en/maus/umsetzung it is obvious that no complex electronic product can be produced under completely fair conditions today. But it also shows that even a small project can go along way. It would be really nice to have similar work done for the Pyra (funded by donations).
 
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