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US Shredder Featured in American Metal Market SCRAP EDITION

18 April 2016

Tech As In Wreck
By Bill Beck

There are plenty of reasons for shredder operators to consider upgrading their equipment to take advantage of the latest technologies, and keeping business profitable is the top one.

Companies operating shredders in North America have been under unprecedented pressure in the past year. That’s all the more reason for shredder operators to consider upgrading their equipment to take advantage of the latest technologies, industry equipment makers such as Harris and US Shredder say. “What we are finding now, even in this market, is that many companies are investing in the latest nonferrous downstream technologies,” Bill Tigner, president of U.S. Shredder and Castings Group, said. “With the number of shredders in North America today, if the scrap flow is not going to increase, then the operator has to figure out a way to increase the value of that scrap.”

When Miramar Beach, Fla.-based U.S. Shredder was asked in 2015 to build a nonferrous recovery system at Midwest Scrap Management’s main shredder facility in Kansas City, Mo., the company said the goal of the expansion was to enable Midwest Scrap Management to recover additional ferrous and nonferrous commodities, while lessening the environmental impact that its ferrous and nonferrous recycling facilities create. Additionally, it was to create an end use for the auto shredder residue that remains after processing through the nonferrous recovery system.

Craig Ward, Midwest Scrap Management’s chief financial officer, said “the expansion of our operations in Park City, Kan., and Kansas City, will allow Midwest Scrap Management to provide
commodity purchase prices that meet or exceed the industry average, and provide a competitive advantage over our competitors in our respective geographic locations while reducing our environmental footprint.”

The Steinert and SICON equipment that U.S. Shredder installed at the Kansas City facility was designed to offer maximum recovery and purity of the final products. The system will begin using a trommel and eventually one double-deck screen and a single screen for optimal sizing. After sizing, the material will flow to the SICON layout consisting of one 3 cascade sifter, two 3 cascade sifters and an air knife sifter that will separate the light material from the auto shredder residue. The Steinert equipment will include models of the NES 5009, 6119 and the 6119 4T. This portion of the system will be separating additional ferrous, ferrous waste and zorba. Ryan Njavro, systems manager for ferrous and nonferrous at U.S. Shredder, noted that the ability to extract the highest value from automobile shredder residue (ASR) is critical to the profitability of shredder operations at a time when operating margins have been sliced to the bone.

“You’re looking at equipment that gets out the micro-fines, recovering all the waste that is less than one-half inch,” Njavro said. “And that’s the precious metals, platinum, palladium and more copper.”

Njavro said new technologies allow shredder operators to use technologies such as air density tables, aspiration and different-sized screens. He added that as much as 65 pounds per ton of recoverable materials go to landfills from shredders. “Much of that material is almost three times as valuable as the ferrous materials recovered,” he said. “It seems to be very small material for recovery, but the average value can be $1.25 to $1.30 per pound. That’s huge.” U.S. Shredder’s Bill Tigner echoed Njavro’s observations. “Customers need to truly understand that separating, cleaning and sizing materials is as important as the sensors they select for their equipment,” he said. “You don’t want the sensors looking at so much material that they are missing recoverable materials.” German manufacturer Steinert Elektromagnetbau GmbH notes, “ASR recycling processes are becoming more sophisticated, demanding
and complex.” Steinert doesn’t beat around the bush when it talks to shredder operators. “Declining export markets are causing tight competition in the scrap industry,” the company said. “With steel export market prices declining as scrapyards are forced to pay higher prices for feedstock, many scrapyards are reporting paying more for feedstock than the sales price of steel shred.

“Processors who cannot adapt to the changing market conditions will either have to merge with larger companies, or seek ways to improve their bottom line.”

Steinert noted that “scrap metals processors can increase the value of their zorba by as much as 20 percent. Separating zorba into new commodities gives many scrapyards a competitive edge in this highly competitive market. Just by using existing feedstock, zorba refinement opens up domestic markets, diversifies product offering and allows a yard to quickly adapt to changing market conditions.”

The company’s Steinert US subsidiary urges shredder operators to examine its Combined Sorting System (KSS), which uses three different sensors to identify and sort material and sophisticated technology that can be “taught” to sort a range of items. Steinert promotes the ability of its KSS to sort by metal product quality, material density or color. “The unit adapts to changing market and processing needs by allowing any combination of the color camera, 3D camera and induction sensor into one independent solution,” Steinert US said.

Steinert introduced its Fines Induction Sorting System (ISS) for capturing copper and precious metals from ASR. The company, which is now tailoring the technology for Wasteto- Energy (WTE) metal processes from bottom ash, said the Fines ISS helps shredder operators sort fines metal products that are smaller than 10mm, or 3/8 inch. The equipment uses an Argos C inductive sensor that offers sensitivity readings to allow for even the smallest pieces, providing conductive imaging and enhancing the accuracy of the separation by providing more detailed information on each particle. Steinert’s recovery equipment line also includes the Steinert XTS, X-Ray technology developed for the detection and ejection of diamonds, and now marketed for cost-effective ways to separate fines zorba, what the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries defines as shredded, mixed nonferrous metals. Steinert’s objective with all of the recovery equipment it markets to the shredder segment of the recycling
industry is to retrieve 99 percent of the metals that pass through the sensors.

Eddy current separators using a magnet and revolving drum are a shredder technology that help operators automate removal of nonferrous metals from everything from municipal solid waste to shredded automobiles. Eriez Magnetics, Erie, Pa., advises shredder operators that Eddy Current Separators efficiently separate aluminum and other nonferrous metals from complex streams of materials. Mike Shattuck, the company’s recycling equipmentproduct manager, noted that the company’s RevX-E eccentric and concentric rotor units are the key to helping shredder operators recover metals that could add six figures annually to a shredder’s bottom line.

U.S. Shredder’s Tigner said some of the shredder technologies just coming into commercial use have been around for a number of years, but are getting a second look in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace. “It’s like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling in the oil and gas business,” he said. “The technology has been there for a while, but now it’s more affordable and improved.”

Tigner pointed out that a new installation or upgrade of an existing shredder can increase the revenue stream up to 30 percent— and pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time. “The volume a company has from its shredder plays into return on investment (ROI),” he said. “We see everything from 72 months down to 24 months. “It all depends on the volume and exactly what’s in the ASR.” Many of the shredder technology upgrades today are offline from the main shredder. “It’s definitely something that you can upgrade your existing model,” Tigner said. “The best way to do a nonferrous system is to make it offline. When you make the system offline from the main shredder, you make it possible to slow down the nonferrous system. When it’s offline, you control the flow, and this improves the recovery.” U.S. Shredder and Castings Group offers scrap shredders, control systems, downstream systems, nonferrous recovery and air systems, as well as shredder castings, service, engineering, construction and installation to the worldwide scrap industry. Tigner, a 28-year veteran of the industry, said although it’s counterintuitive, adding upgrades to an existing shredder makes sense when times are tough. “You often see in markets like we’re in right now the most activity on upgrades,” he said. “People don’t like to do a shutdown for an upgrade when markets are strong. They want to be shredding. If you’re running two days a week, you bite the bullet and shut down for the upgrade. We are doing four nonferrous upgrades right now.”

Those upgrades typically begin with an analysis of the customer’s existing ASR. U.S. Shredder technicians run the material through the laboratory and then recommend technology upgrades for maximum recovery of nonferrous materials. If U.S. Shredder is performing a turnkey offline project, including concrete, electrical and mechanical installation, the project can take anywhere from four to six weeks to four to six months. Although it recently installed a small shredder in an aluminum foundry, the company primarily specializes in nonferrous upgrades to automobile shredders. Recent projects have included a conveyor installed in the Fort Wayne, Ind., area and a new shredder in Youngstown, Ohio. “We design and engineer the system,” Tigner said from his office in South Florida. “Then we bring everything together at the construction site.”

U.S. Shredder’s Njavro reiterated that sensors that employ X-Ray and infrared systems allow shredder operators to maximize their profitability. “The technology is out there,” he said. “The low-hanging fruit is gone, but upgrading allows you to recover valuable metals.” He noted that the company is working with a shredder operator who has been saving shredded material on a 250-acre site near his shredder.

“He had the foresight to know that the technology would make it all valuable some day,” Njavro said of the customer.

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