Counting on smarter analyzers and full-box shredding

Apr 20, 2009 | 09:28 AM |

Shredder operators are taking some high-tech steps to improve the quality of their shredded scrap.

The first is the Gamma-Tech Crossbelt Metal Analyzer, which has nothing to do with the actual tearing apart of metals. It's a process control device—an inspection machine that tells the shredder's operator what percentage of copper is mixed or alloyed with the ferrous metals.

Copper is a metallurgical problem for steelmakers, especially those producing flat-rolled steel. Copper hardens the steel, making it more difficult to shape and form into parts for automobiles and appliances.

The Gamma-Tech, installed below the conveyor line, uses a radioactive isotope that bombards the scrap with neutrons and looks at the chemical composition of the shredded scrap in a set of detectors above the conveyor, according to Joseph Pflaum, president of Gamma-Tech LLC and one of the developers of the analyzer.

By shooting a beam through the shredded material, the analyzer sees not only loose copper in the form of motors, wires and tubing, but also copper that is alloyed to the steel, Pflaum said. ....





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