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1st quarter 2011

From Eriez—Helping Move The Grade-Recovery Curve

A Better


The Clean Stream process from Eriez starts with a significant upgrade to the ferrous recovery levels of auto shredder output.



A stream that features more obsolete scrap gives recyclers a tougher job to do.


An Eriez P-Rex unit draws out more ferrous scrap for Liberty Iron in Phoenix.


Ferrous Recovery “Once the P-Rex™ drum magnets were installed, we could see the improvement in ferrous recovery right away. We’re delivering a high-grade ferrous product.“ Marc Olgin – Liberty Iron - Phoenix, AZ


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”Not only do these new drums improve our ferrous recovery, they maintain that rate throughout the day. Even late in the shift, when our previous electro magnets would get hot and weaken, we don’t see any missed ferrous on the scavenger belts. P-Rex does a great job of pulling out all the solids and meatballs keeping them in one place where our hand pickers can easily remove them.” Joe Plumadore – Liberty Iron Call 888-300-3743 or visit

P-Rex Magnet

Ferrous and Nonferrous Recovery Solutions

Recovery table of contents innovation report

letter from the president

A Better Mousetrap

Tim Shuttleworth, Eriez’ President and CEO reflects on the company’s nearly 70-year history and purpose for launching Recovery.



The CleanStream process from Eriez starts with a significant upgrade to the ferrous recovery levels of auto shredder output.

technologist Q&A


On the Table

Eriez researcher Dr. Jiang Xinkai is leading a technology transfer effort that provides a new scrap sorting option.

market analysis


Pure, but Not Simple

Recyclers and equipment providers are taking steps to produce ferrous shred that can meet the most stringent mill standards.

Recovery CHOOSE YOUR FORMAT! Recovery will be available in a format to suit the way you read, research and travel. In addition to our ink-on-paper version, Recovery will soon be available through the Apple App Store and the Android Marketplace so you can read it on your iPad or Android-powered smartphone or tablet. Recovery is produced by Eriez 2200 Asbury Road Erie, PA 16506 814.835.6000 800.345.4946

market analysis



Far From Obsolete

Shredders and sorting systems have become more vital as the scrap stream in the United States shifts to a higher percentage of obsolete scrap.

operational perspective


A Lasting Impression 16

The P-REX Scrap Drum is an instant success for Liberty Iron & Metal, but it comes as no surprise based on the company’s long history with Eriez.



Learn about the latest technologies available from Eriez.

19 Recovery Q1


Recovery from the ceo Tim Shuttleworth President and CEO +1 (814) 835-6296


n 1942 Eriez began when our founder, O.F. Merwin, developed a permanent magnet to remove tramp iron, or scrap, from grain for millers of this crop. In the nearly 70 years since then Eriez has built our business by working closely with our customers to solve their most pressing separation challenges. While we have been involved in the recycling industry for years, more recently we’ve made significant investments to focus on it. Our customers challenged us to develop solutions to improve their recovery levels and produce cleaner material. Through this cooperation we learned that there was tremendous opportunity to improve financial performance and provide better scrap purity - a true win-win. Recovery, our new publication, is designed to share with you those technologies and the results that our customers have experienced. Our technical information and case studies are presented along with stories about the scrap and recycling business and how it’s changing. We want to share with you what Eriez has to offer, but we want to put that into the context of the industry and how what we offer can be leveraged for business returns. The tagline we’ve selected for Recovery–helping move the grade-recovery curve–is no coincidence. It’s designed to help make the point that improving both the volume of recovery and enhancing the purity of the recovered elements is what it’s all about. After all, we know processors want to maximize volume while also producing the highest possible values for their material. For decades Eriez has been serving the heavy mining industry worldwide. We’ve worked with miners to extract the maximum amount of material with the highest possible purities. We’re adapting some of that process knowledge and technology to meet the needs of the modern scrap business. In this issue you’ll read about our Clean Stream technology to produce low copper residual frag from auto shredding operations. You’ll also read about the enhanced ferrous recovery one of our customers has experienced with our P-REX Scrap Drum. There are also articles from the editors at Recycling Today that address why low-copper steel scrap matters and how the scrap stream of today is different from the past, and what that means to processors. Eriez has a long history of assisting our customers in solving some of their most challenging separation issues. Through continued innovation, organization and diversification, Eriez has evolved into a technologically advanced, financially sound, international company. Through Recovery we hope to share with you how we might be of service to your business. If you’d like to learn more about any of the information in this issue, or how Eriez might be of service to your business, please give me, or any of our associates, a call.

Q1 Recovery


Tim Shuttleworth

technologist Q&A

On the


Eriez researcher Dr. Jiang Xinkai is leading a technology transfer effort that provides a new scrap sorting option.


r. Jiang Xinkai is among the members of the Eriez research staff who are taking air table technology used in the coal industry and adapting it for scrap sorting purposes. In an interview with Recovery, Dr. Jiang provides some insight into his research career and specifically on the evolution of the Eriez DensitySort Air Table.

majority of my experience on Q. When did you start to work air tables has occurred since for Eriez and what was your I joined Eriez. previous work and academic experience? Jiang Xinkai (JX): I started to work for Eriez in October of Q. What are the origins of the 2004. Before joining Eriez, I DensitySort Air Table, and was a post doctorate workhow is it used in the coal ining on tribo-electrostatic dustry? separation technology after I Jiang Xinkai JX: The DensitySort Air table, a dry concentration or pneuobtained a mining PhD degree at the University of Kentucky. I also matic cleaning device using air, came earned my master’s degrees both in min- from the coal preparation industry. In ing engineering and computer science at fact, the coal industry in the United States is the pioneer in pneumatic cleaning. In the University of Kentucky. Before I moved to the United States, 1940, pneumatic cleaning methods acI worked at the Beijing General Re- counted for 15 percent of the bituminous search Institute of Mining and Metallurgy coal and lignite cleaned in the U.S. (BGRIMM) for 13 years, where I earned The largest plant using pneumatic my master’s degree in mineral process- separation technology was built in Penning engineering. While I was working sylvania in 1968 with 14 units processat the BGRIMM, I spent half that time ing 1,400 tons per hour. Now, air tables traveling from mine to mine to work on are mainly used to remove rock at the nonferrous ore separation problems and mine mouth (de-shaling) or as a pre-conto gain a lot of experience. However, the centration step in wet coal preparation Q1 Recovery


plants. It is estimated that more than 500 units have been widely used in the coal industry in China. The most popular unit processes 120 tons per hour.

Q. What modifications or adjustments had to be made to make it appropriate for recycling applications? JX: Although it is fundamentally the same, the DensitySort Air Table is quite different from the air table used in the coal industry. For the coal application, the material processed has similar shapes and the separation is relatively easy. However, for the scrap metal application, the material has all kinds of irregular shapes and can tend to become tangled. Therefore, many modifications were required to make it suitable for recycling applications.

Q. To what extent were there challenges to overcome when modifying this prod-

q u ot a b l e

“The processing technology used for the metal recycling industry is relatively new compared to technology used in mineral processing.” uct for the recycling industry? JX: At the beginning, we set up the air table in a way similar to the coal air table, and did not see indications of any good separation. After a lot of frustration and failures, we learned a lot about the material flow behavior and, finally, we came up with the solutions step by step.

Q. What are some of the optimal uses of the DensitySort Air Table in the recycling industry? JX: The optimal application is for 1-inch minus nonferrous metal separation after the eddy current separator (ECS). This is primarily used to produce heavy metals (zebra) and twitch from the starting zorba. In addition to the added value of the product, which has about a 20 percent increase, the savings on shipping costs alone will be 10 cents per pound, since most of the zorba produced in the U.S. is selling to Asia, mainly to China and

Japan. The 10 percent of contaminants in Zorba by weight can be removed before shipping.

Q. Is further research continuing into how the Air Table can be used by scrap recyclers or in other segments of the recycling industry? JX: Right now, we are focusing on zebra production, although there might be some other potential applications. We will continue to improve our design based on our customers’ feedback. We are also looking for applications in other segments of the scrap metal industry where gravity separation can be applied.

Q. What are some other processes you’ve researched and products you’ve helped design during your tenure with Eriez? JX: Recycling represents an important source of metal. The processing technolThe air table uses a dry pneumatic cleaning process to purify material.

ogy used for the metal recycling industry is relatively new compared to technology used in mineral processing. However, the fundamentals are the same for both industries. Materials are sorted by differences in some physical properties such as magnetic response, conductivity, density, size, shape and color. We are working on the Shred 1 separator, which may fundamentally change how scrap yards conduct their businesses. This new technology will dramatically reduce the volume of the ferrous stream going through picking stations, thereby reducing labor and improving separation efficiency. I also am involved in developing some flotation, magnetic separation and mill lining technologies at Eriez.

Q. What are some of the frustrating or challenging aspects of conducting product/process research, and what are the rewarding aspects? JX: The frustrating and challenging aspects to conducting product/process research are that we don’t know what will be the final outcome. Even though the fundamentals sound good, often we have to go through many trials and errors before obtaining acceptable results. The most rewarding thing is the customer’s satisfaction. The total value of domestic purchases and exported ferrous metal in the United States alone was estimated to be $22.5 billion in 2010, up by 40 percent from 2009. Eriez is the leading company to provide the best equipment for processing scrap metal. I am proud of being one of the staff researchers at Eriez who is involved in developing the best technology for scrap metal industry. Recovery Q1


“Our waste is virtually “metal free”… and now we’re able to sell high-grade fractions that used to be sent to landfill. Eriez’ sorters have proven to be reliable and the company very responsive.“ Rubino Brothers - Stamford, CT

“Our waste is virtually Metal Free” Recovery increase of: +76% +47% +17% +7%

Stainless Steel Copper Pickings and Wire Zorba Product Nonferrous Fines <1-inch (@ 1,000 lbs/hr) And a Fluff reduction of: -10%

Rubino Brothers installed Eriez’ FinesSort® and ProSort sorters to improve metal recovery. The chart to the left is an analysis of the their metal recovery rates of post-eddy waste since their installation. If you’re interested in achieving these types of results, contact Eriez at 1-888-300-ERIEZ to schedule a free production-scale test!

Fluff to the landfill

FinesSort®- Metal “Fines” Recovery

Eddy Current Separators


Brochures & DVD

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ProSort - Airless Metal Recovery

innovation report

A Better

Mousetrap The CleanStream process from Eriez starts with a significant upgrade to the ferrous recovery levels of auto shredder output.

Q1 Recovery



n recent years processors and separation equipment manufacturers have focused on the nonferrous separation process, with many neglecting to make advances or invest in the ferrous separation process. This was logical, as most plants already had ferrous separation equipment they considered suitable, but had little or no nonferrous processing capacity. However, now is the right time for the ferrous plants to be re-visited for several reasons.

FALLING BEHIND While the magnetic equipment used to draw out ferrous scrap that was put in place 10 or more years ago may have been adequate then, its functionality may now be lagging for several reasons: • Shredding technology has moved forward, with hammer and grate metallurgical advances, control system advances and drive system advances. Shredders that were sold to process 100 tons per hour now process 120 to 130 tons per hour. This is overloading many ferrous downstream plants with a corresponding loss in ferrous recovery. • Many ferrous downstream plants are simply antiquated and using out of date technology. Some are operating magnetic drums that are 10 years, 20 years and even older. Advancements, such as the 2010 introduction of the Eriez P-REX drum, are not being taken advantage of in these situations. Likewise, the even more recent “Clean Shred” technology, introduced by Eriez in late 2010, isn’t yet being utilized. This latest Eriez innovation, part of a larger processing system known as “CleanStream,” is able to raise the grade of the ferrous products and separate meatballs and other composite items. • Proper consideration may not be given to the notion that ferrous downstream equipment is not only for the recovery of ferrous product but also is the preparation step for the nonferrous separation process. This means inefficiency here not only impacts ferrous revenue but also impacts nonferrous revenue. This occurs in particular with the loss of nonferrous metals into the ferrous product stream. • On a total revenue basis, the ferrous production at most plants is a larger share of company income than the nonferrous product revenue. It is often more than double the income of the non-ferrous plant. It is time to go back to the “bread and butter” of the shredder plant and invest in the “ferrous plant of the future” for a quick financial return. This combination of factors means a fresh investment in a new Eriez fer-

rous processing plant can easily lead to a quick return on investment (ROI) for most processors.

THE ABCs OF ROI As shredder operators consider re-investing their ferrous recovery equipment, where are the opportunities for revenue gain? There are several answers: 1) volume expansion on incoming shred (more tons); 2) better recovery (more tons) of ferrous into the ferrous product; 3) production of a better grade (quality) of ferrous product; 4) better recovery (more tons) of nonferrous into the nonferrous product; and 5) production of better grades (quality) of nonferrous products. As mentioned above, the volume of shred has already been pushed up with corresponding revenue gain. However, as the ferrous separation equipment has often not changed, this income gain hasn’t been fully enjoyed, since the separation equipment is often overloaded resulting in less-than-optimal recovery and the production of lower grades. The Eriez CleanStream innovations in the last two years provide the means to realize gains in the #2 (ferrous recovery), #3 (ferrous grade) and #4 (nonferrous recovery) opportunities listed above. Eriez also has technological innovations that have been designed to address item #5. Regarding items #2, 3 and 4, there are specific products from Eriez that can deliver these revenue improvements. Item #2: Better recovery (more tons) of ferrous into the ferrous product. The Eriez P-Rex drum, introduced in early 2010, is stronger, wider and its strength is consistent over time, as opposed to older technology electro-axial drums. This simply provides more ferrous recovery. Field installations have proven this to be true, as scavenger magnets recover Recovery Q1


innovation report nil in these installations. It is speculated that 1 to 3 percent better recovery is obtained with the P-Rex drum over most conventional electro-axial drums. For a 1,000-tons-per-day shredding plant, recovering 1 percent more can equate to an additional $4,000 per day of ferrous scrap revenue! Item #3: Production of a better grade (quality) of ferrous product. The most re-

cent innovation, the Eriez Shred-1 ballistic separator, delivers this benefit. With this separator, we strip out all the feebly magnetic materials, leaving behind the most magnetic. These materials represent the highest grade of ferrous scrap. The separator is adjustable within a range, so “very high” to, simply, “higher” grades of ferrous scrap can be achieved. Furthermore, two grades of ferrous such as a #1 shredded grade and a #2 shred-

A Macro View Shredder Flow Chart Shred

Ferrous Separation

Nonferrous Separation

Waste Ferrous Product

Nonferrous Product

ded grade, can be produced if the user doesn’t have enough demand for all the #1 shred that it can produce. Other key benefits are reducing hand picking costs and concentrating the shelmo product for further processing or for direct sale. The poor grade ferrous product volume rejected to create the higher grade ferrous product is addressed below. Item #4: Better recovery (more tons) of nonferrous from the nonferrous system. Much of what degrades a ferrous product and creates a #2 shredded grade is valuable nonferrous metal caught in the ferrous stream. These end up in the ferrous stream because of incomplete liberation in the shredder. These are familiar items to shredder operators. The typical culprit is a piece of ferrous attached to an even larger and often heavier piece of nonferrous metal. These come to the ferrous stream by way of the ferrous

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3/14/11 11:41 AM

The Cost of Misplaced Nonferrous Scrap The chart below shows how four pieces of shredded scrap that contain both nonferrous and ferrous components affect revenue when they become contaminants in an outbound ferrous shipment. Item #

Nonferrous Weight – Oz.

Ferrous Weight – Oz.

Total Weight – Oz.

% Nonferrous

Nonferrous Value

Ferrous Value



































component being picked up by the magnetic drums. By rejecting these from the ferrous process stream, it upgrades the ferrous product and the pieces are then made available to be dropped into the nonferrous process stream. In dollars and cents terms, the current ferrous process permits 3 cents worth of ferrous scrap to displace 54 cents worth of nonferrous 1/2 Page Ad:Layout 1 3/14/11 10:18 scrap.

This is the math in one small example. Multiplied by the tons of items misplaced into the ferrous stream that should be in the nonferrous stream over one year’s time, one can quickly see the enormous revenue potential being lost through the old ferrous processing technology. The ferrous processing technology of the past served the industry well, but like PM Page 1 all technologies, its time has passed. The

ferrous processing plant of the future is less capital intensive, less operating cost intensive to run and provides a quick ROI by delivering more ferrous recovery, better ferrous grades and more nonferrous recovery. Contact Eriez for a proposal on the ferrous process of the future at eriez@eriez. com.

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 Attention to Detail Recovery Q1


market analysis Scrap recyclers are weighing the return on investments that will allow them to produce ferrous shred with tighter chemistry. This lower-copper shred can offer new marketing opportunities.


teel mills have grown accustomed to paying large amounts for ferrous scrap, with mill buyers having a bigger incentive than ever to insist on receiving quality shipments. Industry pricing indicates that mills continue to pay more per ton for the prompt grades that can meet the chemistry requirements of melt shops. But in the United States, the generation of prompt scrap has not been soaring for the past three years, meaning mill buyers with stringent chemistry requirements have been seeking other types of feedstock. Among the grades that some mills are tapping into is what MSA Inc.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s RMDAS survey calls No. 1 shredded scrap, which is defined as having copper content of .17 percent or less. Q1 Recovery


provided by

Pure, But Not Simple Recyclers and equipment providers are taking steps to produce ferrous shred that can meet the most stringent mill standards. By Brian Taylor

THE LOCAL NEWS Several steps can go into producing a grade of shredded ferrous scrap that keeps the content of residual copper (and other “tramp elements”) at a low enough threshold to charge a premium. Whether it is worthwhile to invest the time and money to take these steps, however, can first depend upon a shredder operator’s mill buying customers. “The chemistry you’re looking for is related to that mill’s supply base and sourcing strategy,” says Dan Pflaum, president of Gamma-Tech, Dayton, Ky. Gamma-Tech makes and installs bulk analyzers to determine the chemistry of shredded material passing beneath it on a conveyor. The Gamma-Tech analyzer allows the shredder operator to show the precise levels of four elements considered unwelcome at most carbon steel mill melt shops—copper, nickel, chrome and manganese. “We’re not sampling,” Pflaum says of Gamma-Tech units. “We’re truly measuring the depth of the material on a composite basis, taken as real-time process control information. The speed of belt does not need to be slowed down for the bulk analyzer. We’re installed on shredder systems producing from 80 to 400 tons per hour of material.” Shredding plant operators can all benefit by knowing the specific chemistry of their product, says Pflaum, but he says the payback value can be most apparent to operators who sell to nearby mills seeking low-copper content feedstock. “Copper is usually the center of attention, but we also have customers who

are seeking very low levels of chrome or manganese content,” says Pflaum. Factors influencing the demand for premium ferrous shred in a market can include the type of steel being produced at the nearest electric arc furnace (EAF) mill and the availability of prompt scrap in a mill’s region. “If a mill is making rebar or light structural steel, they’re not likely to be as concerned about the specific chemistry,” says Pflaum. “But if it’s producing flat-rolled steel, wire rod or SBQ (special bar quality) steel, then the chemistry is of great importance.” Such mills, historically, have been buyers of prompt industrial grades of ferrous scrap. “If they can get readily available, reasonably priced prompt scrap, then seeking out clean shredded scrap is not as important,” says Pflaum. “But if the mill is in a part of the country where there is less prompt scrap, or the prompt scrap is coming from your own mill which is already near the tolerance threshold, then [buying premium shred] is more of a factor.” Pflaum notes that Gamma-Tech analyzers measure ferrous shred and allow processors to market their material as having a specific chemistry—but the analyzers don’t remove copper or otherwise upgrade the material. That task is left to shredder operators and several manufacturers of magnetic and sensor-based equipment designed to identify and separate nonferrous metals in the post-shredder stream. Tim Shuttleworth, president and CEO of Eriez, Erie, Pa., has been involved in that company’s research and develop-

ment of new products being offered for this application. His customers, like Pflaum’s, are telling him they see a return-on-investment value in producing low-copper content grades. “If they’re able to produce something at a specific copper level, it will increase the market value of the scrap and also make it cost-effective to market that scrap to a wider geographic region,” says Shuttleworth. A combination of factors may be teaming up to heighten the interest in No. 1 shredded scrap or other variations of low copper-content ferrous shred at both steel mills and shredding plants.

GRADUAL EROSION EAF steel mills that seek out prompt scrap as their preferred feedstock have been concerned about tight supply of prompt grades for a number of years. There are several trends conspiring to make the grade increasingly scarce in the United States, including: the large scale shift in manufacturing plant locations from North America to Asia; the ongoing focus on improved manufacturing methods at remaining plants to use materials wisely (and thus generate less scrap); and the greater market share for EAF steel vs. basic oxygen steelmaking. That last factor means that even the prompt scrap that is generated in many regions is less “pure” than it would be if it came from an integrated plant where less scrap is used. “The quality of prime scrap is deteriorating,” states Pflaum. “Twenty years ago, the copper level in prime scrap may have been .03 or .04 percent. Now, depending on the geographic region, the amount of copper in prime scrap might be .06 to as high as .10 percent.” What that means for melt shop managers at carbon steel EAF mills is that if the prime scrap they are buying already contains that much copper, then the additional scrap they purchase—including shredded grades—will have to contain less copper than in the past. Recovery Q1


market analysis This variable compounds the woes of melt shop managers who compete for the limited amount of prime scrap available because of those first two factors (less manufacturing and less intense scrap generation at remaining factories). “What we have in this country, though, is an abundance of obsolete scrap,” says Pflaum. “As a shredder operator or mill manager, you can either use technology to manage and control that or face some rough going.”

BLENDING AND CLEANING The growing market for cleaner ferrous shred has, in some cases, caused EAF melt shop managers, mill buyers and their scrap suppliers to work in closer cooperation to produce such a grade. Scrap processors are quick to point

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ASR Mill

out that the best way for mills to ensure they have an adequate supply of clean ferrous shred is to pay a premium for such a grade. In some cases, this simple application of market forces has made a difference. One recycler, who preferred not to be identified, segregates and shreds separately ferrous scrap generated at a factory of one fairly large-scale local generator. For this clean shredded product with a predictable low-copper level, the recycler may fetch a premium of as much as $100 per ton from a regional steel mill. That example involves an extreme case of selecting feedstock as well as an extreme premium that is far from typical. MSA Inc., Pittsburgh, collects and aggregates mill buying transaction information as part of its RMDAS service. The company does not disclose individual transactions, but distributes average pricing during given buying periods.

Regarding the premium scrap recyclers can receive for producing a No. 1 shredded product (below .17 percent copper), the company says, “Some months there may be little difference ($5 per ton) and other months a greater difference ($25 to $30 per ton). However, a general estimate of the average price difference between No. 1 shredded and No. 2 shredded scrap would be $10 to $15 per ton.” “We’ve never run a shredder,” Pflaum says of Gamma-Tech as a way of offering a disclaimer about how a scrap recycler approaches this equation. “But it’s a process with a lot of variables—the speed of the shredder, the mill and downstream system set-up, picking operations, the feedstock—all of those variables need to be monitored and controlled.” On the feedstock side, Pflaum states, “The industry myth that making low-copper scrap means completely changing your feedstock is false. We have custom-

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American Pulverizer Co., of St. Louis, Missouri offers a center-feed, high-speed hammermill for processing Auto Shredder Residue (ASR) designed to yield a higher metal recovery percentage. The shredded product that is created reduces material to a more manageable state that can be reprocessed through metal separators to yield higher recovery rates from non-ferrous metals. The mills are designed for high production with minimal maintenance. Design is based on years of experience with ASR and other E-Scrap products. Q1 Recovery


provided by

The profits from ferrous shred that can fetch several more dollars per ton can quickly add up for shredding plant owners.

ers making small changes to feedstock that are more related to keeping out the obvious offenders—things such as vending machines with wiring and tubing or demolition scrap with a lot of rebar or wire or conduit. But that is a small fraction of their overall feedstock.” Attention is largely focused on downstream systems. As a provider of equip-

ment for such systems, Shuttleworth says Eriez will continue to introduce new products and combinations of products designed to be deployed as a process to further separate nonferrous from ferrous scrap in the post-shredder stream. As technology evolves, scrap recyclers are likely to have a wider array of technological solutions to consider.

Also, how many hand pickers to keep on the line and where to put them for maximum effectiveness remains a consideration. “What we have found is that with accurate, science-based information, shredder operators can make good decisions to make the appropriate material for their market region,” says Pflaum. Steel mill buyers will play a role in that decision through their willingness to pay a higher premium for lower-coppercontent ferrous shred and/or for shred that comes with guaranteed (bulk analyzed) chemistry. “I think there is a recognition in the marketplace among metallurgists and steelmakers that nobody likes to guess what they’re buying,” says Pflaum. “There is a value in knowing the metallurgy of the key raw material in their process, and there does need to be a recognition and an incentive.”

Recovery Q1


market analysis

Far from

Obsolete T

he final mile on the odometer for cars and the last spin cycle for washing machines may be the closing act for these objects to most Americans, but recyclers know better. After auto dismantlers have harvested what they can from vehicles that no longer run and after appliances (such as refrigerators) have been drained of any environmentally damaging fluids, such objects receive a new level of valuation from the scrap industry. Auto hulks, old appliances, thinnergauge demolition scrap and a wide variety of other obsolete materials have grown to comprise a larger percentage of what scrap dealers process as Americans buy and dispose of things more than ever—and as their factories build a Q1 Recovery


Shredders and sorting systems have become more vital as the scrap stream in the United States shifts to a higher percentage of obsolete scrap.

smaller percentage of those same things. American manufacturing plants remain a significant source of scrap. But among the story lines in the past several decades within the scrap industry has been the adaptation of many companies and processing facilities to handle and prepare obsolete scrap as a higher percentage of volume and revenue.

MORE SHREDDERS, MORE FEEDSTOCK The growing importance of shredding scrap as a processing technique has been following an evolutionary timetable for several decades. As far back as the late 1970s, the U.S. Bureau of Mines reported

By Brian Taylor in a review of the iron and steel scrap industry for 1978 and 1979, “No. 1 heavy melting scrap (HMS), which had been the principal grade of scrap exported in 1977, was replaced by shredded or fragmentized scrap in both 1978 and 1979.” The data collection and reporting functions for minerals and metals is now conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Reston, Va. Statistics collected by both agencies for the past three decades begin to tell the tale of the growing importance of both obsolete scrap and the shredders used to process it. While shredded scrap was the preferred export commodity by 1978, domestic steel mills who reported to the Bureau of Mines for that year purchased far more No. 1 and No. 2 HMS that year and

provided by also far larger amounts of prompt scrap grades. (See the chart “Scrap Grades Melted Domestically – 1978.”) The statistical report prepared 30 years later by the USGS points to the changing complexion of the incoming scrap stream now encountered by scrap processors. As a percentage of scrap consumed by domestic mills that reported purchasing details, shredded scrap has grown tremendously, while many of the other grades have seemingly become more difficult to source. (See the chart “Scrap Grades Melted Domestically – 2008.”). There are a number of reasons for the change. Among them is that tons of obsolete scrap generated in the United States has continued to grow in the past 30 years while the tons of stampings, punching and trimmings that make up prompt grades have leveled off or diminished. That shredded scrap has soared to become the most commonly purchased grade is just one statistic pointing to the greater role of obsolete scrap versus prompt grades. Also worth noting is that as of 2008, four of the top seven grades by tonnage—and four of the five largest—are grades likely to be comprised of more obsolete material than prompt (shredded scrap, cut plate and structural and both HMS grades). In 1978, most of these obsolete grades were among the seven largest. However, No. 1 electric arc furnace bundles topped the list and No. 2 electric furnace bundles helped give prompt grades four of the seven slots, rather than only three of them as in 2008.

recycling today



Top Scrap Grades Melted by Domestic Steel Industry – 1978 Figures are for scrap received from brokers, dealers and outside sources by reporting mills


Short Tons Consumed

No. 1 Electric Furnace Bundles

7.2 million

No. 1 HMS

6.5 million

No. 2 HMS

2.5 million


2.0 million

No. 2 Electric Furnace/Other Bundles

1.9 million

Turnings and Borings

1.5 million

No. 1 Busheling

1.4 million

Source: U.S. Bureau of Mines Minerals Yearbook 1978-79

Top Scrap Grades Melted by Domestic Steel Industry – 2008 Figures are for scrap received from brokers, dealers and outside sources by reporting mills


Short Tons Consumed


11.3 million

No. 2 HMS

6.1 million

No. 1 Busheling

4.8 million

No. 1 HMS

4.8 million

Cut Plate & Structural

3.9 million

No. 1 Electric Furnace Bundles

3.2 million

Turnings and Borings

1.9 million

Source: U.S. Geological Survey, 2008 Minerals Yearbook

U.S. Highway Vehicle Registrations

United States Households


Vehicles Registered


No. of Households


74.4 million


52.8 million


111.2 million


63.4 million



161.5 million


80.8 million


193.0 million


93.3 million

A somewhat encouraging aspect when comparing 1978 figures with those of 2008 is that there is still plenty of prompt scrap being generated in the United States. The tonnage increase, though, has not nearly matched the tonnage increas-


225.8 million


104.7 million


255.9 million


116.0 million

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation,

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce,

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Bureau of the Census

Recovery Q1


market analysis es in many of the obsolete-laden grades. Likewise, overall economic growth (as measured by GDP) has been greater than the growth in prompt ferrous scrap generated between 1978 and 2008. The relative stagnation of prompt scrap generation can be assigned to both the off-shoring of manufacturing operations and a concerted effort by remaining manufacturers to generate less scrap. The amount and type of manufacturing taking place in 2008 versus 1978 can vary by state and market region in the U.S., with some market regions (such as the Southeast) attracting new automotive industry plants during that time while other regions (such as the Great Lakes) may have experienced a net loss in the number of auto plants in that time. What is clear is that American households in all parts of the countries, on average, owned more cars and more appliances in 2008 than in 1978. As well, in 2008 there was a far greater number of overall households than in 1978. The proliferation of more vehicles and more appliances spells good news for scrap processors—especially if they are own processing equipment such as shredding plants designed to handle obsolete scrap. In some regions, this added prosperity can mean additional prompt scrap, provided auto and appliance factories (and their supplier plants) are located there. (See “Over There” sidebar at right.) For all scrap processors, the growing stream of obsolete autos and appliances has resulted in a growing supply of scrap, particularly for those willing to invest in shredding plants. Figures compiled by the Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), Pittsburgh, indicate that Americans miss few opportunities to recycle these items. The automotive recycling rate, as calculated by SRI has ranged between 91 percent and 110 percent from 1993 to 2008. (A figure of more than 100 percent is possible in part because of the number of imported autos.) The appliance recycling rate has not been as uniformly high, but it has inQ1 Recovery


Over There

When considering the percentage of obsolete scrap versus prompt grades encountered by processors, one of the variables concerns the importation of finished goods into the United States. An imported good will generally produce an item fully available as obsolete scrap at the end of its life while generating no prompt scrap for processors in the United States when it was built. In the automotive sector, a report issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce in late 2006 indicated that in the span from 1990 to 2006, the United States imported far more highway vehicles than it manufactured here for export. Measuring in 2005 constant dollars, the Department of Commerce (DOC) reported that the automotive trade deficit nearly doubled from $53.6 billion in 1990 to $102 billion in 2005. By number of units, the United States imported 6.7 million vehicles in 2005 compared to just 79,000 vehicles imported by South Korea or 277,000 by Japan. The welcoming import habits of the United States help explain why the automobile recycling rate calculated by the Steel Recycling Institute, which uses vehicles assembled here in its equation, exceeded 100 percent every year between 2001 and 2008. Regarding appliances, the DOC classifies some smaller devices (fans, vacuums and electric housewares) along with larger white goods such as refrigerators, stoves and freezers, in its household appliances category. Concerning this broader category, the DOC says in its 2006 industry outlook report, “U.S. imports of household appliances have been increasing steadily over a decade. Between 1997 and 2005, imports as a percentage of consumption increased from 25.4 percent to 41.7 percent.” Among major appliance manufacturers, Whirlpool continues to invest in washer and dryer plants in Clyde and Marion, Ohio, but also invested $250 million in 2005 in a refrigerator assembly plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. Whirlpool closed a refrigerator plant in Evansville, Ind., in June of 2010.

creased in the past two decades. The appliance recycling rate has trended upward from 20.4 percent in 1988 to 90 percent in 2008, according to SRI. This has been helped in large part by a shredding plant infrastructure that now allows washers, dryers and refrigerators to be hauled a shorter distance to be recycled. Along with higher recycling rates, volumes of both forms of obsolete scrap have trended up in the past three decades. United States Department of Transportation (DOT) vehicle registration figures show considerable growth in the number of active vehicles. The vast majority of these (all but high-value models that are maintained by wealthy individuals or museums) will end up in scrap yards 10-to-15 years after being manufactured. (See the chart “U.S. Highway Vehicle Registrations.”) Figures for appliances in use can-

not be directly linked to the number of households in existence, but there is a correlation linking households to the likely presence of a refrigerator, oven, washer, dryer or air conditioner. The United States Census Bureau maintains household statistics dating back to well before the first auto shredding plant. Again using 1960 as a starting point, the trend toward more households (albeit with fewer residents) is clear. (See the chart “United States Households.”) More than 50 years of demographics have worked in favor of the shredding plant becoming a process of choice for scrap metal recyclers. As long as Americans wish to enjoy the personal mobility of automobiles and the ability to store and prepare their own food and wash their own clothes, shredding plant owners are likely to enjoy a steady stream of feedstock.

operational perspective

A Lasting

Impression The P-REX Scrap Drum is an instant success for Liberty Iron & Metal, but it comes as no surprise based on the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long history with Eriez. Joe Plumadore, Operations Manager, Liberty Iron & Metal Southwest, Phoenix, saw immediate improvement in ferrous recovery once two P-REX Scrap Drums were installed.

By Kristin Smith


n 2010, Eriez introduced the P-REX Scrap Drum to the global recycling industry. Liberty Iron & Metal Southwest, Phoenix, is the first facility to implement the breakthrough technology into its shredder operations. But the relationship between Liberty Iron & Metal Holdings and Eriez goes back much further than that. Libertyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first owner, Jerry Olgin, purchased his first magnet from Eriez 30 years ago. It was a relationship that was borne out of both companies being based in Erie, Pa., and filling a need for one another. The proximity of the scrap yard to Eriez is convenient. When Eriez develops new machines, Liberty is one of the first companies to try the equipment and fine tune it. The P-REX Scrap Drum was ready for implementation in early 2010. Eriez was eager to put the new machine to work, and the company knew it could count on Recovery Q1


operational perspective

The P-Rex drum leaves no ferrous scrap for the scavenger belt to pick up.

its longstanding history with Liberty. But this time, rather than testing out a new piece of equipment in Erie, Liberty Iron & Metal Southwest’s Operations Manager Joe Plumadore suggested installing the P-REX at the newly opened Phoenix yard.

READY AND WILLING Liberty Iron & Metal Southwest opened in Phoenix during the fall of 2009. At that time, the facility was using rectifier magnets that were also made by Eriez. Approximately seven months later, those magnets were replaced with two P-REX Scrap Drums. The drums were up and running at the front end of the downstream shredder system and they were an instant success, Plumadore recalls. Plumadore wasn’t surprised. “I can’t say the ones that were there before were bad, because they weren’t. These were just better,” he comments. “We work very closely with Eriez on some of the stuff they develop, so we were willing to put them in.” Plumadore has spent 23 years working for Liberty. He admits that sometimes new ideas don’t work, but when it came to the P-REX, “This one sure did.” Q1 Recovery


Installation was a cinch. Plumadore says the drums were the exact size as the previous set. Eriez put in one P-REX, and Liberty liked that, so Eriez put the second one in, Plumadore recollects of the installation process. Plumadore says the P-REX Scrap Drums haven’t missed a beat ever since. “We’ve had a lot of luck with them. They work excellent. We are very, very satisfied with them,” he emphasizes.

NOT LIKE THE OTHERS One of the attributes that sets the P-REX apart from traditional scrap drums is its strength. Eriez claims the P-REX is up to 40 percent stronger than an electromagnetic drum and capable of attracting large spherical objects at twice the distance during scrap metal processing. Engineering innovations allow P-REX to provide better “meatball” recovery, Eriez says. Prior to the installation, the Phoenix system included two rectifier magnets. The electromagnets on the drums would get hot if they ran for long periods of time, describes Plumadore. This meant a loss in their efficiency. Overheating is not an issue with the current magnets, he

adds. According to Eriez, once an electromagnetic drum gets hot, its strength can drop up to 30 percent. P-REX’s magnets are permanent, so they maintain their strength, the company adds. The P-REX uses no electricity in its process, and therefore lasts indefinitely. Plumadore can vouch for that. Not only does the P-REX last longer. Another benefit to the P-REX scrap drums that Plumadore notices is that they can separate more material and have more strength than the previous electromagnetic drum magnets. Since the old magnets had rectifiers in them, Plumadore estimates that there were 8 inches on each side of the drum where there was no pickup. That is not the case with the P-REX Scrap Drums installed at Liberty. They do not require rectifiers. P-REX captures ferrous material over a wider zone because it is constructed of solid magnetic material to its edges. Plumadore noticed better ferrous recovery with the new drums right away. “It separates more material and has a lot more strength to it,” Plumadore says in comparison to the old drums. P-REX’s pickup zone projects over more surface area than an electromagnetic drum, allowing greater ferrous re-

provided by

Libery Iron & Metal Southwest, Phoenix, is the first facility to use the P-REX Scrap Drum.

covery. A deep reach and large pickup zone enable it to capture heavy spheres such as meatballs and knuckles at a greater distance. Plumadore notes that the drums pull out copper bearings very well. At the flip point, electromagnetic drums are weaker and can lose a portion of the potential recovery, according to Eriez. P-REX is strong throughout the cleaning flip point, the company says. Metals transfer between the pickup magnet and axial magnet. The original system in Phoenix had what Plumadore refers to as a scavenger magnet. P-REX has no coils to wear or short out. P-REX can also be outfitted with an optional retractable jaw that pulls the magnets away from its shell. Because P-REX is a permanent magnet, it extends to the end of the drum for wider and more efficient separation. The P-REX provides edge-to-edge separation, no transfer-point drop in magnetic force and no decline in performance due to heat rise, according to Eriez.

SEEING IS BELIEVING Liberty’s Phoenix location processes an average of 1,000 tons of material per

P-REX’s pickup zone projects over more surface area than an electromagnetic drum, allowing greater ferrous recovery.

day. Plumadore may not have hard figures that show how much more efficient the P-REX Scrap Drums are compared to the old magnets, but he can see the difference on the belt with his own eyes. “Prior to putting these magnets in, we would see a lot of material going that way. Since we put them in, there is hardly anything on the belt that we have to cull out. That was a big plus.” Having such a close relationship with Eriez has provided Liberty with a competitive edge, according to Plumadore. And in the scrap business, better separation is key in staying profitable by saving time and harvesting the most value from the scrap metal that is taken in. “It works very well,” says Plumadore of the relationship between the two companies. “They [Eriez] are always looking for new technology, so when they find it – we have such a good relationship with them, we get first crack at it, which gives us an advantage.” q u o t a b le And that first “crack” has certainly paid off for Liberty where the P-REX is concerned. “Everybody eventually will have it, but it takes a while to catch up with you.” Plumadore adds. “That’s been a big advantage, especially on the two new systems.”

The P-REX Scrap Drums have been so successful that Plumadore says he is getting calls from other processors asking about how they perform. Liberty has also decided to stick with Eriez-made equipment. The Phoenix scrap yard is equipped with all Eriez equipment, and a newly opened yard in Girard, Ohio, is also made up of all Eriez equipment. Liberty’s yards in Chihuahua, Mexico, and in Erie each contain some equipment from Eriez. Based on Liberty’s success so far with the P-REX, Plumadore says the company plans use at other locations. “I’m sure the magnets from here on out will be part of any design of any new systems we put in,” Plumadore says. And it is not only the successful implementation of equipment that keeps Liberty staying in business with Eriez. It’s that working relationship that began so many decades ago in a scrap yard in Erie, Pa., and has continued to this day. “Eriez is a great company. We’ve worked with them on other projects. They are great to work with,” says Plumadore. The author is assistant editor of Recycling Today and can be reached at ksmith@ Recovery Q1


products A look at product offerings from Eriez designed for the scrap industry to boost productivity and material quality.

ProSort II Airless Metal Recovery System Eriez has introduced the ProSort II Airless Metal Recovery System for increased metals recovery. It includes the advanced features of the original ProSort, but with twice as many sensors per paddle. The new system is designed for efficient and economical processing of shredded automobiles, commingled recyclables, electronic scrap, glass cullet, foundry sand as well as other resource recovery operations. ProSort II Airless Metal Recovery System uses high sensitivity metal sen-

Q1 Recovery


sors aligned with low energy electromagnetically driven paddles to separate valuable metals from waste material. ProSort II Airless Metal Recovery System uses a traditional conveyor belt and sensors to detect metals, then, instead of costly air reject systems, two-inch â&#x20AC;&#x153;electromagnetic motorized paddlesâ&#x20AC;? reject material. The paddles are positioned side-by-side in a bank as wide as the belt, so when the sensors detect metal on the belt, the control circuit energizes the appropriate paddle at the moment the metal passes below/under, diverting

from the product stream. This system recovers the majority of nonferrous and stainless steel from the waste stream. The motorized paddle is adjustable. The ProSort II comes in a modular design in units up to 90 inches wide. By replacing expensive air compressor plants, valves and airlines with energyefficient electromagnetic drives, the ProSort II requires less than 25 percent of the electricity needed to operate a comparably sized air-powered sorter. More information is available at

Recovery eriez worldwide With manufacturing plants on six continents and a global network of factory-trained representatives, getting professional assistance with your toughest processing problems is quite simple. You may reach our plants by any of the following means:

United States

FinesSort Metal Recovery System Eriez’ FinesSort Metal Recovery System (MRS) is an effective series of magnetic components designed to process discarded “fines” material that have passed through the initial screening stage to recover valuable ferrous and nonferrous metals. Through the use of the FinesSort MRS, users are able to reclaim thousands of pounds of metals per day. Material is presented to the ferrous separation portion of the machine where a series of magnetic separators recover any ferrous present in the material stream. The initial separation consists of a rare earth dynamic head pulley where weakly magnetic material is removed from the material stream. This ferrous material is presented to a cleanup drum where saleable ferrous is removed, cleaned and conveyed to a collection bin. Magnetic debris is delivered to a waste conveyor. Nonferrous materials are presented to a high-frequency eddy current to recover smaller pieces. Recovered nonferrous metals are conveyed to a collection bin. To see an animation of the FinesSort MRS at work, visit Products/FineSort/.

P-REX Scrap Drum Eriez’ P-REX Scrap Drum offers superior magnetic strength, more width and more flip, no decline in performance due to heat rise and no DC (direct current) power requirement. Engineering innovations give P-REX the power to provide better “meatball” recovery. Breakthroughs in its design give P-REX the advantage in critical performance areas: superior edge-to-edge separation, no ‘transfer point’ drop in magnetic force and no decline in performance due to heat rise. To download a copy of the P-REX literature in PDF format, visit http://en-us.

Phone: 814-835-6000 Fax: 814-838-4960


Phone: 61-3-9305-4099 Fax: 61-3-9305-4042


Phone: 86-21-31261766 Fax: 86-21-38763610


Phone: 44-29-208-68501 Fax: 44-29-208-51314


Phone: 91-44-2238-5071 Fax: 91-44-4507-8383


Phone: 81-473-546381 Fax: 81-473-547643


Phone: 52-55-5321-9800 Fax: 55-5310-3358

South Africa

Phone: 27-11-444-9160 Fax: 27-11-444-9166

Recovery Q1


Ballistic Separator

Produces Premium Low-Copper Shred ... increasing the Value of your Ferrous Eriez’ new Shred1 Ballistic Separator efficiently processes “consumer scrap” into a Premium #1 Shred ferrous product. Shred1 uses “ballistics” to automatically separate high-grade iron rich ferrous, rom mixed metals and waste. Superior separation to x-ray sorting. TM

PERMANENT Rare Earth Xtreme™ Drum MAGNET

Increases ferrous recovery from 1 to 2%!

PREMIUM #1 Shred Ferrous

Ballistic Separator • Produces a #1 Shred • Eliminates costly Air Systems • Reduces picking labor • No x-ray scanning needed • Superior to optical sorters Call 888-300-3743 or visit Ferrous and Nonferrous Recovery Solutions

See how SHRED1™ is changing the way Ferrous is processed! ERIEZ SHRED1

See us at ISRI 2011 Booth B8


From Eriez—Helping Move The Grade-Recovery Curve

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