PAST AND FUTURE OF SCRAP PROCESSING MACHINERY

Today’s scrap recycling equipment is so much safer to operate and better performing than the past. At the end of the first half of last century a huge amount of physical labor was required for moving, sorting and preparation of scrap.

This type of work, performed within scrap yards where security was certainly not a priority, led to daily serious accidents.

Also energy consumption was not an issue and it was not uncommon to see scrap-processing machinery like scrap shears operate with 6, 8 or even 10 electric motors.

With the evolution of the concept of worker’s safety the manufacturers have engaged in the construction of safer plants and machinery for scrap processing and with the need to increase the productivity of the machines better performing plants have been studied. Nowadays it is common to find a scrap shear or shear baler able to process large quantities at a time with maximum efficiency and safety.

Towards the end of the last century a new concept was introduced for the processing of scrap. An increasingly competitive market and predetermined sales prices by the steel mills have led the scrap processors to become more and more aware of the most important factor in scrap processing; the cost per ton factor. Having essentially fixed margins (the difference between the buying and selling price of scrap), the operating margin should be entirely derived from the optimization of the process and reduction of costs.

Few producers of shears or shear balers for scrap have thoroughly understood the implication of reducing the cost per ton factor.

The cost per ton factor must be inculcated to the designer from the first line drawn on a white sheet, and this is a very difficult thing. The vast majority of manufacturers still offer recycling machinery designed within the design office by personnel who have never set foot in a scrap yard, let alone understanding the real problems of who should then buy that machine they design.

Only producers who have understood the real issues of who processes scrap and the real environment where scrap processing machinery will have to operate will have open doors to the new market.

These companies produce machines guaranteeing high productivity with minimal power consumption, high reliability of the machine eliminating down time and extended use of commercial components available locally.

These same companies really know the reality in which their scrap processing machinery will operate and the difficulties that scrap dealers are facing every day.

But the most important factor is and remains the reduction of the cost per ton factor. Because a scrap shear which has been thoroughly studied and which also reduces the cost of only 1 Euro per ton of work can mean the end of year savings to over 50,000 Euros! That is the one-thing scrap processors are looking for when considering scrap processing equipment.

Marco Garuti

WHAT ARE THE MOST INDICATED WAYS TO PROCESS SCRAP METAL?

First of all we have to say that scrap is being processed mainly because of the necessity to reduce its size for transportation from the scrap yard where it is collected to the steel mill or foundry where it is used. Once scrap reaches the scrap yard where it is processed it is transformed into a product and with smelters requiring more and more a high quality product specific equipment and processes are required in order to obtain the highest possible value. The value is defined by the purity , size and density of the product sold to steel mills and foundries.

There are three different ways to process scrap metal and these can be summarized as follows:

  • Scrap baling
  • Scrap shearing
  • Scrap shredding

In this article we will focus on the first two.

SCRAP BALING

Baling can be divided into two subcategories, high density baling and low density baling, also called logging or soft baling.

Logging is a process that involves ELV, End Of Live Vehicles, or cars. Also it is related to scrap which contains impurities or various un-separated materials. These are baled into a low density log or soft bale. Logs are mainly prepared to reduce volume of scrap while increasing its density for cost effective transportation to a shredder where a further process is required in order to properly prepare scrap for the melting process (refer to the shredding section of this document).

Below a picture of a typical scrap baler – logger

Schrottpressen - Karossenpressen - Metallpressen - Schrottverarbeitung

 G.P.S. mobile ELV and light scrap baler

Baling is a process that involves by and large clean and homogeneous scrap (like cuttings, cans, litho sheets, etc.). Bales are typically produced in a three or two compression baler and have a very high density.  The steel mills and foundries are very happy with this product as it has optimum density and contains clean material.

SCRAP SHEARING

The most versatile way of processing scrap is by means of a scrap shear. These machines can be used to process a variety of different scrap sorts and are able to vary also the quality and type of product produced. Scrap shear balers for instance will allow scrap shearing but will also bale and log scrap efficiently. The shear can be used to produce various lengths from an average 80-60 cm to a foundry grade of 30-40 cm.

Shears are indicated usually by their shear force, thus a 550 ton shear is a scrap shear that will generate 550 tons of shearing capacity.

GPS Scrap Shears are ranging from 550 tons to 1200 tons and have a charging box from 5 meter to 8 meter in length. They can also be equipped with pre-loading tables  which guarantee higher daily performance of the shear.

See below a picture of a typical scrap shear baler combination.

M-Generation_715

We will dedicate more in-depth articles to the single scrap processing possibilities in the near future.

Marco Garuti

THE RECYCLING MACHINERY MINEFIELD

If you are here reading this Blog, then you’re either looking for recycling machinery or (like us) love machinery.

The task of selecting recycling machinery to do a job is always very difficult. You’re never sure until some time after any machine is installed if you made a good choice or bad choice.

There is a lot more to machines that meets the eye.  Hunting for a good machine that’s right for you can be tricky to say the least. So much “know how” of the manufacturer does not appear in any brochure or machine description. This type of information is kept fairly secret and it’s normally the accumulation of years of hard work making constant improvements to machines. It’s the result of sending machines to site and then monitoring how they run.  We all want to be better than our competitors so even if they ( our competitors)  tie us to a chair and rip our fingernails out we’ll never tell them how we solved a problem and why we are better than they are…

Recycling Machinery by GPS Processing Solutions

With recycling machinery, the bad news is that it is even worse than in other industries because the problem is always the scrap.  So for example if we were transporting sand through a machinery the sand is fairy uniform.. Now lets think about  scrap. No two loads of scrap fed to a machine are ever the same and so it’s hard to foresee how a machine will handle scrap..

What type of recycling machinery do you really need?

The only way to answer the question..”what machine is needed for our types of scrap” is to  know, having witnessed a particular  machine’s performance on site with various scrap types..

Buyers who invest in a low priced recycling machinery, who went for a deal that seemed too good to be true (as their first ever machine normally)  often end up with burnt fingers. The machines don’t perform, they either don’t have the hoped for capacity or they are unreliable or the product they make is not very good quality..

All above mentioned problems are like a cancer to any company and should be avoided. However without experience it’s hard to get the job of selecting any machine right. So if you are considering machinery, the cheapest (no matter how tempting the price is)  is often not the best and in most cases it is the worst.  Why? Because a badly manufactured or badly conceived machine will never perform, and they are almost impossible to put right..

Check the running cost

Don’t just look at the price tag, also consider the running cost, here is an example:

If you are spending for example 15 Euro per ton to shear (with the wrong machine, and this is a common figure for badly made machines) when you could be spending just 7 Euro per ton (with the right machine) then every 100,000 tons you processed you’ve paid and extra 800,000 in processing costs (800,000 will buy you a new heavy duty shear!) But it doesn’t stop there, shearing can cost as little as 4 or 5 per ton. So is the cheap machine robbing you of your profit, and your future? And this means that all the time the machine is being used on site it will be holding back your business from growing  Instead it’s like a weight the company has to carry..

Unfortunately this happens more than scrap companies care to admit.  But it’s noticeable the second time a company wants to buy a machine, they may still not know for sure what they want, but the are 100% clear what they don’t want.. It’s a hard and painful way to learn for clients in our industry  We do our best to give the best assistance we can, sometimes we know that “saying it like it is” to use a well known expression doesn’t win you any friends and potentially will lose us orders but in the long run it’s better to lose an order than sell the wrong machine to a client.

Pierluigi Sambolino

WHY IS SELECTING THE RIGHT SHEAR OR SHEAR BALER SUCH A DIFFICULT DECISION?


The process of selecting the proper tool for your scrap processing necessities can be quite nerve breaking at times.

What type of scrap do you really need to process? What kind of finished product are you expecting to obtain? Do you only need to shear scrap  or will you occasionally want also to bale or log scrap? These are the key questions you should focus on. Ideally you would like the equipment to process everything but  keep in mind that this might be quite uneconomical for you.

 Defining the proper equipment size

If you run an average scrap yard you will have all sorts of scrap just waiting to be processed and shipped to your buyer. The question is how can you process the material with a minimal impact on your margins? Every time you move the material it will cost you, even if it’s just within your own yard. The decision to implement your operation with a scrap shear or shear & baler/logger is in most cases the correct one. But now the question. How big should this shear be? What capacities should you consider?     

Ideally a shear or shear/baler should be able to process 85-90% of your material’s thickness leaving the remaining quantities to be processed with torch or crane mounted shears. Buying a shear that will be able to process over that percentage will unnecessarily raise your processing costs also on the lighter materials reducing your margins more than it would cost to process the remaining by torch.

The shear should have a nominal capacity of 150% your current requirements. The moment you have a shear installed your average quantities will increase. Higher margins will allow you to be more competitive when buying scrap.

If you are in need to process also bales and logs and you have no specific balers on site you may also consider purchasing a hybrid shear and baler/logger all in one. This machine will guarantee the maximum flexibility as you can produce both sheared scrap, tight bales and shredder logs. When considering the capacities you should carefully consider how much production of each product type you require.

Whatever piece of equipment you decide to purchase consider carefully where to position inside your yard. It may be necessary to change the way scrap is currently stockpiled in your yard. The optimum solution is to obtain a situation where scrap does not need to be moved more than necessary inside the yard.

Ideally the unprocessed scrap is stockpiled next to the shear while the processed scrap is conveyed to a drop-off location by rotating conveyor.

Consequences and implications of wrong decisions 

As you have seen there are quite some factors to consider and while apparently the decision is easy in reality most of the time it can be quite complex. The wrong shear or the incorrect positioning of the shear within the yard can have disastrous consequences for your operations. Most of the time oversize shears are bought – “just to be on the safe side”. This will have a negative impact on your margins.

For this reason at GPS Scrap Processing Solutions we always consider all these aspects together with you before finalizing a proposal.

You can start your search by checking out our equipment finder page.

Marco Garuti

Why do we do it?

Sometimes I ask myself why I work in this industry. Let’s be honest, at a dinner party or social occasion, when I’m asked what I do, and I reply referring to scrap metal processing or scrap machinery, normally there aren’t any follow on questions, the conversation moves on to more interesting “other” things.

For some reason scrap is not generally interesting.

For sure the scrap metal processing industry seen from outside has an image problem.  And yet the people I have met who work in it for the most part are real characters and some are really great businessmen and great people too, these are people I listen to,  respect and try my best to learn from.   So, not just me.. but also you reading this, why do you do it?   How did you get into scrap metal  recycling? What is it about scrap metal and scrap metal processing that keeps us here day in day out?

My particular interest is  scrap metal processing machinery , things like scrap shear and balers,  gravity feed shears and 1,2 and 3 compression balers and our No.1 best seller, car balers, all of which I find fascinating. I love scrap machinery,  what it does , how it is built, how it breaks and how it’s fixed, anything to do with scrap recycling equipment really.

My start in scrap was from a very early age.

GPS ship breaking - scrap metal processing - scrap recycling equipment - scrap machinery

I used to go to my dad’s Scrap Yard. Mostly to play but also if my luck was in to earn good money too. (picking up nonferrous to fill an oil drum which took all day. I’d get 4 pounds sterling in about 1970 which was big bucks for me!!).  So yes, my dad was a Scrap Man (he’s now 84 and he’s still what I call a Scrap Man). He started as a boy himself in ship breaking and demolition at the age of 14, it was his first real job even though he’d worked almost full time from the age of 8.

A brutal industry.

Ship breaking was quite a brutal industry to be in. It forged his personality, he’d have been a tough guy no matter what he did. But the Scrap Industry just amplified it. And that somehow got distilled into his parenting approach, so you can forget all about me playing at a Montessori school with kids called Tarquin and Tobias, no we (me and my brother) had scrap yard dogs to play with. I can tell you a few of them were pretty mean, nasty, hard dogs. And what a great place it was to grow up in. If a car came in I could smash it up… nobody cared!  I found all sorts of things that would explode off the ships which I used to put on the bomb fires and then run for cover!

The scrap yard was full of anything that came off a ship. I could make and build all sorts of contraptions using whatever I found laying around. I think my favorite was the explosions I used to cause with whole cans of easy start spray. One day I threw in so many full cans in one go that after the explosion all that was left was just …. a crater!  I ran for cover (dad wasn’t around that day thank God).

Actually one day dad did fire off a beautiful brass flare gun that came off a vessel, it was amazing. This flare went up very high and had a kind of parachute that kept it aloft. It seemed to burn for ages bright red!!  Dad and me, we were admiring it up there and within 2 minutes we had a search and rescue helicopter hovering over our scrapyard searching for a sinking ship. Oops… Dad ran for cover and after a while the helicopter went and he didn’t get a fine either for wasting the coastguards time. It was silly really because we were on a tidal creek maybe 2 miles inland. Even if your ship had sunk you could have just waited for low tide and walked ashore across the muddy creek.

Can’t see myself doing anything else

I did actually study to work in the construction industry. But somehow I’ve gravitated back to what my dad (and older brother) did all their working lives and now I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I really like the scrap metal industry and scrap recycling equipment. I’ve met some outstanding excellent people at all levels.  I’ve traveled far and wide across various continents, for me scrap has been and continues to be a great adventure.  I know that what I learnt just from observing my dad has been a good foundation and now  hopefully I’m seen as a reliable trustworthy person the way he was.

Scrap metal processing yards, scrap machinery, the piles of metal, the smoke, the dust, the smells of God knows what toxic substances in the air. The grease and oil mixed with mud are normal to me. As a kid I played in that environment and as an adult dirt doesn’t bother me at all.

For me a scrap yard is a business opportunity and a Rubik’s cube rolled into one. If you lost money today, never mind. Tomorrow you won’t make that mistake again. You got ripped off today, never mind. Next time you’ll look harder. You did a great deal, great! But don’t think it will always be like that. The scrap industry and the scrap itself will test you every day, they will try to knock you down and if you can get up, you’re stronger for it..

Scrap Industry: Where a handshake still counts

The scrap industry seems to have resisted the modern world. It’s still an industry where your handshake counts and your reputation is your calling card and your word is your bond, and if you lose face in this game you won’t go very far.

The scrap metal recycling industry has been a very good schooling for me. I’ve been in contact with it all my life. I feel at home there and I just like it. I found my niche in selling scrap recycling equipment. My feeling is that the scrap metal industry is a bit like the wild west I suppose. Still untamed by boring men in suits. Scrap never gets boring and keeps you on your toes, so at the proverbial dinner party when I get bypassed for being a ruffian accompanied by the associated looks of horror, I just have to laugh to myself and think… “yeah.. who cares what you think anyway? you pussy you..”

Pierluigi Sambolino

THERE’S LOTS OF OPINIONS ABOUT BALER AND SHEAR LIDS

Speaking with different scrap companies who are buying ELV end of life vehicles for baling or processing it seems odd to me that considering the cars are roughly the same and always either large family  cars, medium cars or city cars, the opinion about what lids work the best varies so much.  GPS have two styles of car baler lids if you check our website, the M5 & M6 style which are a kind of wrap around system and the Predator which have a wrap around but with the addition of a hammer lid that doubles the lid forces.  Both work differently but achieve ultimately the same result, they determine the height and width of the ELV car bale, the length is determined by the long pusher rams.  Even though the ELV car baler main pusher rams on the M5 & M6 and predator seem to get all the credit for “making the car bale” because they are the biggest cylinders installed on the car baler (any car baler in fact ),  if you look at the cylinders singularly, yes they get all the  “glory” as we say (and get to brag about it in the bar with a beer!), ironically it’s the lids cylinders that have the most difficult job to do.

When you’re processing old scrapped cars, the bit which is most challenging is closing the lids, not the final compaction of making the bale, by this I mean from the operators point of view.  It’s important to note that when you read specifications about car balers, much of what is written does not actually tell you what you need to know, presumably if you’re reading this blog, you’re interested in processing ELVs, (if not you should get a life!)

cinematismo-cassa

So why do I say the specifications are meaningless? Here’s why. Archimedes of born c. 287 bce, Syracuse, Sicily [Italy]—died 212/211 bce, Syracuse.. (So he didn’t travel much).. And don’t all rush. He didn’t make balers either!  Ok what did Archimedes say about balers. Nothing directly but a he encapsulated a very important point relating your baler lids in the following phrase  “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.” which means to you and me.. The same hydraulic cylinder applied with different leverage lengths will give you different forces on the lids, so well applied they give more force on the lids and badly applied they give less force.  Engineering is like Mathematics, its fact and not opinion.  So it’s not enough just to look at cylinder forces as listed, it’s also the mechanical part of the baler and how it takes advantage of the available forces from the cylinders that is the important bit.  And there we have it! So the mechanical design of the lids is as important as the stated cylinder forces, its a shame that the design side is never really pointed to, and does this explain why I get such strongly manifested opinions from clients for or against, but in many cases I realise that maybe they’re a bit myopic in their views and don’t do what I call good business by looking impartially at what’s being presented.

And if you’re thinking I’m wrong, then the alternative is even worse considering that maybe my lids with exceptionally good leverages will close on a scrap car that your lids won’t.. What does that mean, your cylinders don’t give the same force as you were promised?  This is a worrying thought to have while your there depolluting your ELV’s getting them ready for the car car baler to crush them into bales and then send the bales to a shredder as shredder feed. So as said, we have two systems of lids at GPS on your car crushers. The M5 and M6 have a kind of deep feeding box with a lid that comes from the top and can wrap round the scrapped car, a bit like your own fingers when you pick up some sand on the beach for example, this system is easy to use if you put the scrap or scrap car insides the box without any hanging over the edge.. It’s’  just one sweeping movement, the Predator  is more like you have your palm up facing toward the sky and you still wrap your fingers up as if you want to crush say an empty aluminium drink can (UBC) but in addition we have a lid that comes down from the top (hinged where your wrist is if we use the idea of your hand still)  and this pushes down on your fingers doubling the the force, it’s a bit like when you use both hands to crush up something into a ball you have more force than one hand alone.  This is the real difference and advantage about our designs for car balers and car crushers.. Opinions evaporate when surrounded by facts.

So if you keep in mind that we’re very tuned to the mechanical advantages and applications of forces at GPS and contact us for a quote, for sure we’ll be offering you a truly competitive and well conceived piece of equipment..  So credit where credit is due.. Thank you Archimedes for showing the way.. And If you hadn’t died 1800 years ago you’d be head of engineering at GPS by now for sure!