Chemistry is essential in a scrapyard

Diggity News & Press, Scrap Metal & Alloys, XRF

At ISRI this year, our good friend from Scrap University and Detroit Scrap Consulting Services Brad Rudover moderated a panel of speakers that discussed how current metals identification directly impacts profitability and the scrap business on a daily basis.

The panel shared stories that started with the dreaded words, “There’s a problem with your load.” There might be a few reasons why scrapyards are having this issue. One common reason is the lack of training, which Scrap U—now sponsored by both SciAps and ISRI — can help with.

Another common reason is relying too heavily on visual cues like sizing and color. The only solution for that is to depend on the chemistry of the metal. Spending an afternoon making sure you’re sorting properly with an analyzer that can accurately identify all of your grades should ensure the chemistry is correct.

The industry has become immersed in science thanks to the advanced instrumentation now available, Brad noted. Scrapyards that can blend the wisdom of experience with premium technology have the advantage. 

SciAps customer: Chris Costanza, Cronimet Tampa 

In the session, Chris Costanza II, general manager, Cronimet Tampa the biggest issue a specialty metal recycler faces on a daily basis: simple grading errors on incoming loads, like 304 stainless mixed in with 201 and 301 stainless. This error can be corrected with proper training, and, of course, the right instrument. 

Mills are stringent with specs, Chris says. So, he notes, “Every piece of metal that comes into the yard, we’re shooting it with the SciAps [analyzer] and reporting those results to our customers so that when we are loading a barge of stainless and sending our package to the mill, we don’t have to worry about that copper spec being too high or something else being outside of the acceptable limit.”

Chris gave another example of a simple grading error: “We’ll get a load in that is full of aluminum. For someone new to the industry, aluminum stainless might look the same. For us to pull aluminum out of a load that you guys are sending us, when today, aluminum prices are through the roof, that’s easily thousands of dollars that is not going in your pocket when it should be.” 


See the X-Series in action

The X-550 comes with the patented SciAps Aluminum App, which will allow you to accurately sort ALL of your aluminum, including low Mg aluminums, in 1-2 seconds.

Proper training benefits everybody

Chris noted that while sorting properly, efficiently, and transparently is the best way to advance the scrap industry, he also understands how hard it is for new hires coming in. Encouraging questions and sharing knowledge helps everyone—with proper training and tools, new hires can cut the learning in half and get the job done properly. 

Jennifer Betts, VP business development, metals, at Argus Media, gave her own example of a new crane driver who mixed high copper in a load of low copper, because it was assumed he knew to look beyond sizing to the chemistry of PNS. Training and accurate chemistry, she says, are going to be your best opportunity “to make sure you don’t have ‘wonderful’ $3,000 claims, halfway across the country.”

Brad encouraged the audience to “own your craft,” and closed the session with his eyes on the future: “We want to just help bring our industry to the next level, share all of our wisdom, so that it’s cataloged and ready for the next generation, so the scrap business gets better.”

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