Analyze this: fighting low-quality scrap

Jun 16, 2014 | 05:27 PM | Sean Davidson

Tags  scrap, steel, shred, shredder, ferrous, Gamma-Tech, Daniel Pflaum, Sean Davidson

NEW YORK — In 2002, Daniel Pflaum launched Gamma-Tech LLC to resell a product—now manufactured by Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.—that could determine the composition of materials.

Before then, the Cross-Belt Metal Analyzer had been used in the iron ore, coal, cement and phosphate industries. But with decades of experience in scrap recycling and steel, Pflaum felt he could bring the technology to the shredded scrap industry.

Twelve years later, Pflaum, president of Dayton, Ky.-based Gamma-Tech, continues to lament the industry’s use of visual inspection for scrap. In this conversation with AMM, Pflaum details his push for wider adoption of the belt analyzer and what changes his company could bring to the industry.

AMM: Why is the analyzer beneficial to scrap companies and steel mills?

Pflaum: Using the scrap analyzer, scrap processors can now market the material and steel mills can buy and use the material based on the same data-based value analysis. We ultimately see a bifurcation of shredded scrap into two principal categories. The first is an analyzed product—sometimes called Gamma-Shred—that is sold by processors to steel mills that specify a chemistry and expect or require a report to demonstrate the material meets this requirement. This would largely be those mills whose product line is chemistry restrictive, such as rail, special bar quality, flat-rolled, wire rod and plate. The second grade is a commodity grade that is not analyzed and is marketed to steelmakers that don’t care about the chemistry of the product. This is really no different than the value-based concept present in the market today where prime industrial scrap is valued higher than shredded due to inherent lower residuals, less variability and improved melting yields.....

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