NEW YORK Commercial
Metals Co. (CMC) has sent scrap suppliers servicing its mill in
Seguin, Texas, a letter reinforcing specifications for machine
shop turnings after issues emerged with contaminated
The letter was a follow-up to
one sent earlier this year because "we are seeing
again heavy fines, grindings, saw cuttings and
scale in our turnings," Lisa Leopold, CMC Steel Texas
manager for raw materials, said in the April 18 letter to scrap
The mill said it was aware that
these particulates come from the industry already blended but
advised caution when sending the material to its Seguin
"Our scrap specification clearly
states that we do not allow: mill scale, slag, grindings,
fines, dirt or other nonferrous material to be included in any
load of turnings," Leopold said.
All loads will continue to go
through a heavy inspection process and suppliers are being
requalified in their shipments to the mill, CMC said. Shipments
of turnings that are blended could be subject to a downgrade
and/or rejection, Leopold added.
Leopold had previously informed
suppliers in a Jan. 17 letter of an issue with contaminated
machine shop turnings at its melt shop, noting that
contaminated turnings used in its melting process had created
high levels of iron oxide in the melt shop. Samples of slag
showed an iron oxide presence of 80 to 90 percent in the scrap,
which created "upset conditions in our steelmaking process,"
Leopold said in the January advisory.
At the time, she sent suppliers
detailed specifications for turnings and cast iron borings and
said there would be a "heightened awareness and inspection
process" for all turnings and borings delivered into the
Irving, Texas-based CMC
didnt respond to AMMs request for comment
on why or how the issue was reoccurring.
One scrap supplier in Texas
contacted by AMM blamed "bad operators" for the issue,
while a market source said that it has been standard practice
for dealers to "salt" turnings and shredded scrap.
"Historically, turnings are the
grades you put oxidized fines in. Typically they take mill
scale, grinding fluff or oxidized fines and it either goes into
shred or turnings. It affects the melt shop yield. At least 70
percent of the turnings going in from dealers are being salted.
Thats what they call it," he said.
CMC likely sent out the letters
because "too much of it is happening at their plant," he
"Basically its fraud. And
its illegal. It affects their total yield. Also, it goes
up in the baghouse because normally it doesnt get melted.
It increases usage of (the) baghouse, so it adds to their
cost," the market source said. "If dealers are still doing it,
theyre stupid. Theyre not making any money and are
trying to expand margins by doing this. Its not atypical.
Its been happening for the last 100 years. Everybody to
some extent does it."
The supplier added that machine
shop turnings "have slag or small amounts of turnings that the
mills, for whatever reason, dont like."
A second market source agreed,
saying that "a combination of small machine shops combine the
turnings because its an expensive handling matter to
them." Some machine shops dont separate them because they
dont have a place to dispose of nonconforming elements,
"Some folks mix them to get more
weight. The key point in buying mixed turnings is to have a
very good inspector to keep them separated when they arrive at
the mill. These turnings can be used, but in smaller
quantities. You have to keep in mind that mixed turnings and
mill scale carry an even higher volume of oxygen, and that is
where the problem becomes dangerous," he said, adding that too
much mill scale and iron oxide heavy fines will carry a high
volume of oxygen and can damage the hearth or slag line of the
furnace. "A true melt shop guy, if he knows that there are
turnings in the charge, should protect the furnace by adding
additional lime to the melt."
A third market source said the
contaminated material is mixed by the machine shop and is
impossible to clean. "Landfills will not take it due to new
recycling laws. That is a real problem," he said.
"The CMC supply base is massive
and covers many states. Apparently, their mass mailing of the
problem and instructions has failed; therefore, they should
stop buying the (machine shop turnings) grade or take supplier
by supplier and qualify them individually," a fourth market
"For those scrapyards that learn
that the (machine shop turnings) they are receiving from their
suppliers has dust, they need to educate the producers. If
contaminated (machine shop turnings) are intentionally shipped,
then disqualify (this supplier)," he said. "This is CMCs
issue: is it profitable to buy the ... grade or is it not?"