They're often seen as the
orphans of the scrap metal industry, but turnings and borings
are stirring new interest among scrap processors and
manufacturers. The biggest hurdle seems to be a commitment to
buying the machinery that makes the process economical.
Those who used to throw turnings away
or bury them in the trunk of a car headed for a shredder are
looking at turnings and borings as a new way to make money,
according to Michael Dempsey, national sales manager at the
North American arm of Austrian equipment maker
ATM-Recyclingsystems GmbH. "We are finding that quite a few
people are looking for the advantage," he said.
Briquetters and puckers-the latter
being machines that make smaller briquettes, often no bigger
than a hockey puck-are his company' biggest sellers today.
ATM-Recyclingsystems' machines are all cold briquetters. The
briquette might feel hot when it comes out of the machine, but
it's just the pressure that makes them feel hot-there is no
heat involved in the production process.
Some scrapyards tend to specialize in
handling more turnings, so they're willing to look at the
briquetter to determine if they can use it to make a product
that mills will want. Others ship the turnings elsewhere for
processing, Dempsey said. "Now they are saying this briquetted
material is a huge difference in price between loose turnings,
and I want that in my pocket not in somebody else's."
Scrapyards aren't the only metal
handlers interested in the machines, Dempsey said. Quite a bit
of his business is with the aerospace industry. Some
manufacturers want better ways to separate aluminum and steel
cuttings. Others who work with high-priced alloys, like
titanium, use the briquetters and puckers in conjunction with
other machinery that wrings all the cutting fluids and oils out
of the material.
Many of the machines sold to the scrap
industry today are cold briquetters, although there are still
some yards-like the Zalev Brothers Co. facility in Windsor,
Ontario, a unit of Detroit-based Ferrous Processing &
Trading Co.-operating both a hot and cold briquetter, Dempsey
The hot briquetter makes a very good
briquette, not only because it presses the metal together well
but also because it boils away the remaining cutting oils and
fluids, he said.
The problem with hot briquetting,
though, might be environmental. The machine coughs up a blue
plume of smoke constantly while it is running, which some
regard as an environmental problem.
Dempsey said that one of the few
frustrations of his job lies in how long it takes some managers
to make up their minds about buying a machine-up to a year and
"They should have made a decision
before that because some are doing in excess of $2,000 a day.
The machine could pay for itself in a matter of months, but
they don't make a decision for a year or a year and half," he
"I have a customer who generates tire
wire. He's knows that he gets in excess of $100 a ton for his
steel briquettes. He used to sell it loose and get maybe $15 a
ton. He wants to hold off a bit before buying the machine. To
me there is no question."
Axel Hufziger, product manager at Metso
Lindemann GmbH, Düsseldorf, Germany, said he is still
seeing an increase in demand for briquetters in Europe and
One reason is that scrap shippers can
get better prices for turnings and borings; another is that the
manufacturer can recapture the oils and cutting fluids.
In the future there will be machines
that briquette the borings and turnings as well as separate the
waste from the oils and cutting fluids and return them for
reuse in the factory. "Then, you'll have a win-win situation,"
When Metso is asked to quote on a
machine, it's mostly for cold briquetters. "Those who are
interested in briquetting are mostly interested in cold
briquette. I haven't had an inquiry about a hot briquetter in
more than a year," Hufziger said.
While it is mostly scrapyards that are
interested in briquetting, Hufziger said that his company has
sold and installed a few briquetting machines in manufacturing
Metso's briquetters press the turnings
and borings from both sides so that they don't break in the
melting process. These briquettes sink to the bottom of the
furnace, where they won't flake apart and be blown into the
baghouse, he added.