Blog Archives

June 13, 2022

The Start of Metal Recycling and Its Current Impact: WW2 Scrap Drives

Tom Stanek
scrap-metal-drive-WWII

Scrap Metal Drive WWII — Courtesy of Bygonely.com

Legend has it that one of the first contracts the U.S. Continental Congress penned was for muskets, which were to be used in the Revolutionary War effort. The Founders then penned another for gathering the scrap metal needed to help supply the craftsmen that made the muskets.

Revolutionary War muskets (or long guns) were actually made from wood with metal parts, which included the steel bayonets.

However, it stands to reason that the newly created Congress pushed for weaponry and other war items to be manufactured from recycled material whenever possible: the fledging United States was cash strapped.

According to information at Recycle Nation, George Washington urged the reuse of worn chains from frigates, while Paul Revere advertised for scrap metal of all kinds.

The American Civil War also saw collection for recyclable materials for both the North and South. People donated church bells, steeples, pots and pans – anything that could be used for the war effort.

But other than wars, when the need for metal was great, Americans didn’t consistently recycle metal goods. In fact, when World War 2 began, an “estimated 1.5 million tons of scrap metal lay useless on U.S. farms – enough to build 139 battleships weighing 900 tons each, 750,000 tanks 18-27 tons each, or countless airplanes, weapons and other materials.” (Source)

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December 14, 2021

Navigating the Current Economic Cycle:
From Peak to Bottom to Recovery

Tom Stanek

Financial data on a monitor,Stock market data on LED

The term “commodity super cycle” is something I’ve been hearing regularly. Most metal recyclers believe we’re in a super cycle; I wanted to know how business owners can navigate this type of cycle, as well as how it plays out from peak to wind down.

I turned to my colleague, David Hunter. A 48-year financial market veteran, David’s experience includes managing global portfolios and equity pension funds, as well as market forecasting.


Tom: Are we in a commodity super cycle?

DH: First, let’s define it. A super cycle is a cycle that is unusually long in duration and very extreme in bottom to top price movement, far beyond what is seen in normal cycles. For example, I believe we are in the last decade of an economic super cycle, which I define as the period between two depressions, the last being the Great Depression of the 1930s and the next depression being one that I expect to hit in the 2030s. Within a super cycle are many shorter economic cycles with upturns and recessions.

Right now we are hearing a lot about a commodity super cycle because after decades of flatness, commodity prices are beginning to break out and show major price strength. I think it is premature to say we have entered a commodity super cycle because I expect a sharp economic downturn in the second half of 2022 to send commodity prices back down — and down sharply. All sectors of the global economy will be hit hard by this downturn, including commodities.

There will be a strong recovery beginning sometime in 2023 fueled by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. It will be focused on infrastructure, and we’ll see similar expansion across the globe. Unlike recent recoveries, this one will not be led by the consumer. Rather, it will be an industrial-led recovery.

As a result, demand for commodities will surge and remain strong through the decade. This will drive commodity prices ever higher for several years. We will see prices of all commodities soar to levels few can imagine today. This will be the commodity super cycle.

As I like to say, thinking the commodity prices go straight from here into that super cycle is the equivalent of standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and looking at the North Rim and thinking it is just a short walking distance away because one failed to account for the canyon that lies between the two rims. The same is true of commodities. There is a big canyon in the form of a global bust that lies between the current strong commodity boom and the big commodity cycle that will follow the bust.

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August 11, 2021

98 Inch Shredder End Disk Caps in Stock

Tom Stanek

K2 Castings has a supply of alloy steel, 2-hole end disk caps for 98104 shredder rotors in stock.  These heavy duty caps are for high output rotors.   If your machine runs a beveled end disk for the extra wearing cap, you may be able use these protective wear caps.  Contact K2 Castings for details.

July 15, 2021

When Is It Time to Change Shredder Hammers?

Tom Stanek

shredder hammers

When do you know it’s time to change your scrap metal shredder hammers?  What does it mean to “change” hammers?

Changing hammers refers to both replacing hammers with new, as well as “flipping” or “turning” hammers to another side to expose a fresh leading edge, or rotating hammers to a new position on the rotor.

Change — swap new for used casting

Shredder Hammer change

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May 18, 2021

Metal Casting “Lightweighting” Trends: Impacts for Automotive Recycling Yards / Shredders

Tom Stanek

metal-recycling - lightweighting

Andrew Halonen of Mayflower Consulting presented at the AFS Metalcasting Congress 2021 about the trends of reducing weight in metalcastings (aka “lightweighting”).

This topic is of interest to the metal recycling industry in particular. As vehicle designers work to reduce weight in order to meet federal and state fuel economy guidelines – as well as reduce vehicle manufacturing costs – fewer ferrous casted parts will be needed.

Although more manufacturers are incorporating lightweighting into their designs, the changeover is still met with some resistance. Halonen cited four reasons: Cost, system over component, changing the supply chain, and other material innovations.

Once a manufacturer decides to change the material makeup of a part – for example, moving from aluminum to an aluminum alloy or other material – the manufacturer is forced to seek out new suppliers. Vetting new suppliers and their facilities and processes is costly and time-consuming.

And, while a manufacturer may redesign one part to be lighter, other parts are redesigned to incorporate more steel or iron depending on load, wear, function, etc. – negating the overall weight savings.

In one example, Halonen compared the 2019 Mustang Convertible with the 1969 Mercury Cougar XR7 Convertible. Both vehicles feature the same platform – yet in 50 years, only 11 pounds have been shaved off the weight!

mustang-cougar

© Andrew Halonen, Mayflower Consulting

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February 25, 2021

EPA Releases 2018 MSW Facts and Figures; Ferrous Metals Recycling Up 3%

Tom Stanek

The EPA released its comprehensive report for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The report covers all materials recycled, landfilled, composted or combusted with energy recovery in 2018.

Overall, metals (ferrous, aluminum, and other) accounted for close to 9% of total MSW – or 292 million tons.

Ferrous

The largest source of ferrous metals (steel and iron) in MSW are found in durable goods such as appliances, furniture and tires. The numbers below don’t include ferrous materials found in construction materials and transportation products, including automobiles.

Key figures for 2018

  • Ferrous metals generated: 19.2 million tons (6.6% of total MSW)
  • Total recycling rate: 60%
  • Durable goods: 28% (4.7 million tons)
  • Recycling rate steel cans: 71% (1.1 million tons)

Landfills received 10.5 million tons of steel in 2018 – representing 7.2% of all MSW landfilled. (View all ferrous metal data.)

ferrous-epa-chart

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September 18, 2020

Post COVID: Preparing your recycling facility for infectious diseases and illnesses

Tom Stanek

metal-recycling-post-covid

COVID-19 has highlighted industrial sanitation issues often difficult to address in recycling facilities. How a recycling facility responds to an infectious outbreak depends on the severity and type, as well as orders from the state and/or local government.

In response to COVID-19, for example, some cities in Massachusetts stipulated that canteen trucks were no longer allowed at industrial facilities or construction sites. Workers and facility managers had to scramble to cover some on site meal prep while trying to improve hygiene and sanitation.

And too, the facility’s size and type will dictate the response needed. A large wholesale scrap yard receiving 24 hours, 6 days a week has different considerations than a smaller retail operation open 5-6 days a week.

In a piece for the July/August 2020 issue of Scrap magazine, we cover the three long-term changes facility owners and operators will need to consider post-COVID.

These considerations include:

  • Having a written plan with the rules spelled out.
  • Upgrading temporary facilities by adding handwashing or sanitizing stations.
  • Centralizing employee break areas that share plumbing and are easy to clean and restock with PPE and other supplies.

Read the full article.

May 7, 2017

Used Scrap Metal Ferrous Shredding System for Sale

Tom Stanek

An effective energy efficient metal shredding line up

Update: This unit has been sold  

5000 HP Ferrous Scrap Metal Shredding System for sale.  The heavy duty shredder box is 88 x 101 inch with 4 inch thick walls.  This is a complete package with infeed conveyor, ferrous line, motors, pumps, water injection, and coolers.  Many extras such as power systems and a computer managed over sized double feed roll allow this machine to shred serious volume in a compact package.  150 tons per hour ferrous out production.

The primary drive is a 5000 HP (3730 KW) A/C Wound Rotor Motor.  The hard charging Schorch motor keeps churning day after day.  Dual axial pole magnets, cyclone air cleaning system, and split picking station allow for extremely clean and dense ferrous scrap.

Slip Power Recovery Drive is included.  Motor rotor current is managed in a switchable duel system using either liquid rheostat or solid state SPR drive.  The SPR efficiently runs the motor with greater power, cooler temperatures, more tons per hour, while allowing less flicker and inference with local electrical grid, thus greater options for relocating the installation.  Comes with heavy duty GE transformer (25kV/4160), power factor capacitors, and many extras that take the added cost out of relocating the machine.

The system includes infeed conveyor, shredder dampening springs, under mill oscillator, conveyors, magnets, water injection system, de-dusting air cleaning zee box, dual picking station, stacking conveyor, and non-ferrous radial stacking conveyor.  Many spare casting wear parts and spare parts are available.  The motor room is protected by an air filtration system.  Roof mounted coolers, control cabin, infra red camera, and shredder management computer round out the system.  Non-ferrous separation system as NOT part of this package.

An effective and energy efficient equipment line up.  A very complete system, well cared for with low tons on the machine.   This unit represent an excellent opportunity for a new installation or if you are looking to replace an aging shredding plant.

Spare motor and rotor available as extras.

Contact us at k2.castings.com for more details.  Serious inquires only.

 

February 17, 2017

What’s Needed to Replace Your Shredder Rotor?

Tom Stanek

Shredder Rotor Replacement

Your wear parts have been doing a great job for many tons of production.  After several years, it’s time to replace your shredder rotor.  What are your options and what exactly do you need to plan the job?  How do you start finding a replacement?  Here’s some information and explanation to get you started.

Find your rotor arrangement drawing.  The drawing shows the entire rotor and describes its major dimensions, weight, shaft size and general assembly.  With this drawing, a rotor builder understands the style and quantities needed to build a rotor.

Example Rotor Assembly Drawing (courtesy of PG&H Engineering)

They can estimate materials and general time needed, enabling them to provide you a quote.  You need to describe what it is you are buying. A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here is a rotor template drawing from PG&H if you need to make your own.

Describe your hammer and hammer pin size.  A drawing with some basic dimensions is ideal. If you don’t have one, go to our quote page and download the hammer template you need (such as bell hammer) and use it to describe your hammer.  The rotor builder needs to confirm your hammer swing radius, thickness, and pin hole size.  Provide them hammer pin diameter and length.  We have a template for hammer pins as well.

Get with your operating crew and determine the specific needs at the shredder.  Yes, you need a new rotor, but what else?  Here are the common replacement items for a rotor change out.

Bearing housings

These hold the bearings and attach the rotor shaft to the shredder.  They get worn and damaged as well.  If in good shape they can be renewed.
You should have a spare set on hand and can plan to use them.  If they have yet to be renewed, get them cleaned up and sent out to a shop that can build them up and machine them to restore a secure fit.

Oil seals

Seals keep the lubricant inside the bearings housings.  They are long lasting, but always replace with new during a bearing change.

Rotor bearings

FAG Beargings by Schaeffler Group

Photo courtesy of Schaeffler / FAG Roller Bearings

Generally spherical tapered roller bearings are used.  You should have a spare set on hand.  If you need a fresh set, order early as lead times can vary by many weeks.  Be sure your spare set is well stored and free of minor rust and dirt.  Larger machines have oil cooled bearings, smaller mills may use greased bearings (not needing an oil re-circ system).

Coupling device

A means to connect the drive shaft to the rotor.  You may be able to remove the old one and reuse it, use a spare, or plan on having a new one made by your rotor shop.

Drive Shaft

You will have the rotor out, so it’s the right time to service your drive shaft.  Plan for it.

Bearing Base Plates and Shim Kit

The saddle is the mounting area on the shredder base where the bearing housing sits to anchor the rotor to the shredder itself.  These surfaces are subject to wear themselves.  The bearing housings should wear first, but in reality, both wear.  The saddles will have to be cleaned and ground flat.  The bottoms of the bearing housings will be milled flat in the shop.  A steel base plate is used when you need to make of the difference in height from the wear of these two surfaces.  A shim kit is useful for rotor alignment.  It is a set of pre-cut metal shims to help you adjust rotor height when aligning the rotor drive train.

Thermocouples and Instrument Wiring

Oil cooled bearing generally have a temperature monitoring probe on the bearing oil. Often the probes and wiring will be damaged after years of shredder service.  If they need to be replaced, plan for it now.

Bearing oil piping, hoses, fittings

Similarly, your bearing oil delivery system takes abuse over the years.  You may need to replace piping or use fresh hose.   You might want to get the bearing oil pump & reservoir cleaned and serviced during the rotor change as well.

Bearing bolts

The studs or bolts that hold down the bearings to the saddle base should generally be replaced.  Bolts are made to have a certain amount of stretch.  Once they have stretched and done their job, they don’t stretch and hold quite the same the next go around.  Its a finer point and often, the bolts or studs are often reused.  It’s best if you change them.  Often the threads and nuts get damaged, so a fresh fastening system is good.  After spending so much to  replace the  rotor, you’re are going to cut corners elsewhere in the installation?  Just saying.

You have your shopping list.  Go find yourself a rotor and replacement supplies.   Call you your Original Equipment Manufacturer or one of the replacement builders out there, such as PG&H Engineering.   Contact us if you need some advice.

December 22, 2015

The Risks of Not Staying on Top of Shredder Maintenance

Tom Stanek

Ben Guerrero has penned a story for Recycling Product News ‘The Risks of Not Staying on Top of Shredder Maintenance.’  Survival in times of low markets dictate many cut backs in shredding facilities worldwide.  When you are low on people, finding man hours to tackle even the most basic maintenance is a challenge.  Ben outlines some of the do’s and don’ts in this article.

While it may be ‘preaching to the choir’ for operators, this simple advice should be acknowledged by senior management.  Shredders and non ferrous separating systems won’t keep running without minimum maintenance.  Idled plants won’t start up or hold much resale value if they are ‘put away cold and wet.’   Deferring too much maintenance could lead to larger issues.

Some scenarios to consider, all actual incidents:

  • Failure to clean the motor air cooling system filtration leads to dirt build up in the windings.  Warmer operating days lead to high motor temps, then overheating and a motor fire.
  • The cleaning crew continues to defer cleaning the spillage that slowly builds up between the shredder and motor building.  Your inspectors miss an auto with  fuel in the tank.  Fuel runs out as the auto slides down the infeed chute, it trickles down next to that scrap pile, and there is ignition.  A fire right next to your mill machinery now needs attention.
  • Extending runs times between grate changes saves part costs.  Eventually grate holes are 30% larger than new, the distance between hammer tips and anvils is large, and cream puffs of balled up sheet drop from your stacker instead of dense shred.  Your fluff loads have more metal than you remember.  You check the last 3 months of production records and realize your non ferrous recovery has dropped noticeably.  Ferrous production is up but shipping density is down, zorba volume is down, and so is revenue.  Was it feed stock, weather, or maintenance? Compare the savings in wear parts to the revenue decline.

Grates Its About the BenjaminsWhat’s the best balance? The answer is different for each plant.  Safety and environmental compliance are non-negotiable operating absolutes.  Operating maintenance is not too far behind.  Ideally it’s all the same mindset at your facility, and peak performance and efficiency continue to be the goal of all team members.  Yes, there must be rational tradeoffs between budget, readiness, and acceptable downtime.  Plan in advance to be ready for seasonal or market upticks in volume.  Be sure your facility stands ready to execute for a return to higher production when opportunity arrives.

Find Ben’s article Recycling Product News – Ben Guerrero.