FULL OF SCRAP True or false Too many shredders chasing too little scrap?

Jan 01, 2008 | 10:01 AM |

Scrap shredders are hungry machines, with owners willing to vary their diets if it will keep the beasts well fed and profitable. Expect shredders to be on the prowl for material that in the past might have ended up as No. 2 bundles or mixed aluminum castings, executives said at AMM's Scrap Conference in November.

Some of the biggest shredders are now being installed in China, and some conference attendees speculated on whether China might begin importing vehicle hulks, crushed but unshredded, from the United States. That would make domestic shredder operators very unhappy. The consensus view Not quite yet.

"The reason why we're shredding so many different types of material is that we add more value by shredding than we did when we processed with a shear and a torch," said Scott Newell, chairman of Shredder Company LLC, Canutillo, Texas.

As a maker of the fragmentizers from a family that arguably invented them, he took an upbeat view of shredders expanding their role still further, estimating that U.S. steel mills get 30 to 35 percent of their scrap intake in shredded form.

Randy Ehret, manager of strategic sourcing at Timken Co., which owns two mills making specialty products, said fragmentized scrap accounts for 43 percent of his company's scrap purchases, amounting to 45,000 long tons a month. Trailing far behind in second place is busheling at 10 percent of the mix. He cautioned that 43 percent is an average. For some products, the melt will use zero shredded scrap. Such material has an attractive density, he said, but needs policing to minimize the residual percentage of copper.....





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