Sort, then sell: Mining metallics out of auto shred is only half of the equation

Apr 01, 2010 | 05:34 AM | Paul Schaffer

The key to the shredding business is to get everything of value you can out of the material. And while the sensor sorting equipment needed to process that material can be costly, to many it's well worth the investment.

For Adam Weitsman, president of Upstate Shredding LLC, Owego, N.Y., sensor sorting of scrap metals isn't just about subtle distinctions for finicky customers, but about being able to market every last bit of metal that exits his new megashredder.

"Part of the system is upgrading scrap, part is separating it and part is capturing every last piece that we can. We produce about 700 tons of waste a day. For 11 years we dumped insulated wire into landfill. Today, insulated wire is $1.60 a pound and we've been losing 14 tons a day being dumped in the landfill. That's more than $42,000 a day," he said.

"I think the next technology is for plastics. Eventually we'll use color-sorting equipment to separate the plastics by color and then market the plastics. We use that now to separate the reds and the yellows" among the metals—the brasses from copper—"and X-ray is used to separate the sheet from the cast." Separating out non-magnetic stainless steel requires yet another sensor position.....

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