From its kick-off in the 1960s, Italian recycling equipment manufacturer Vezzani has devised innovative machinery that didn’t exist before. This includes the PCF press for steel mills, various types of presses that separate liquid and solid urban waste, different shearing machines and the company’s most recognised product, the PC-AC gravity feed shear.
Every single piece of scrap metal brings an opportunity and some problems. But as long as the scrap can be bought and sold for a profit, recyclers are on good business ground. There is always an element of risk in the purchase of scrap metal. The risks can be many and, unfortunately, nasty surprises are always lurking somewhere hidden from view.
While it is possible to pass problems onto the next person in the supply chain (by keeping them out of sight), at some point, someone is left holding the baby. So what happens if you’re the one left holding the baby? Bearing in mind that ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’, if processing unattractive but good quality scrap somehow became much easier, could this be a way to tap into a golden opportunity?
Thorough processing is vital
Scrap that has a low purchase value is, in many cases, good quality material that requires several processing steps in the scrap yard before it conforms to a particular scrap grade that then can be sold on. Each step has a cost, from crane handling, the use of a mobile crane mounted shear, gas cutting and then the final processing in a shear machine.
Taking into consideration these additional yard costs and the logistics required to process or ‘digest’ certain scrap items, it’s no wonder they are less attractive and with a lower market value. Can this problem become an opportunity? Scrap companies are crystal clear when setting out the challenges – but is anyone listening? It’s problems such as these that have always attracted Vezzani’s attention.
Inventor and frontrunner
Since its start in the 1960s, Vezzani has invented machinery that didn’t exist before. This includes the PCF press for steel mills, various types of presses that separate liquid and solid urban waste, different shearing machines and their most recognised product, the PC-AC gravity feed shear.
A good example of how Vezzani has helped scrap companies ‘digest’ difficult scrap is the invention and continued development of the PC-AC shear. Initially, all Vezzani intended was to eliminate mechanical complexity by using fewer moving parts, meaning lower maintenance and so on. But from that point on, it’s been a 60-year journey of understanding and perfecting a processing system that gives any scrap company the highest chance of making a profit.
Currently scrap companies are trying to make 1&2 grade by mixing extremely light, medium and heavy scrap. While the PC-AC feeding box has been developed to be a real side squeeze shear, the gravity feed element has also been refined over time so that even the lightest paper-thin scrap slides down the feeding box quickly and without assistance.
Cutting the costs
Take the side squeeze: using only a single moving block the PC-AC is a fully operational side squeeze shear, which Vezzani owners report is powerful enough to eliminate 50-70% of preparation by gas cutting or mobile shearing. This means more scrap is fed directly into the feeding box without additional costs.
Scrap can be bought with more confidence, in the knowledge that processing will be cost-effective and no additional steps are required. Again, scrap that would normally require gas cutting is cheaper to buy, so eliminating gas cutting through processing in a PC-AC opens the path to additional profits. Any customer buying the finished product will be happy because they will notice the scrap is heavy and to the required specification. It’s a win-win solution.
For light scrap, the geometry and configuration of the PC-AC feeding box, coupled with its speed, allows high volumes of light feedstock to flow through the PC-AC unassisted, and then to be processed and upgraded to a high density because of the application of high pressing forces. This innovative processing method allows high density results without resorting to cutting the scrap very short, which is another big cost saving.
Dirt easily detached
Processing results using the PC-AC are excellent. The low-friction open side squeeze feeding box allows both heavy and light scrap to move forward without any energy consumption; the processing zone is limited to a few square metres; and the focus on pressing force ensures all scrap achieves and even exceeds the typical density requirements for today’s market.
Heavy scrap is demolished and flattened prior to shearing. Light scrap is pressed with such force it also attains a heavy density prior to shearing. A side effect of focused pressing forces is that dirt and unwanted contamination is easily detached from the scrap so that processed scrap can be automatically cleaned immediately after processing.
The PC-AC is an automatic machine that does not require a dedicated operator. It is also possible to add additional processing steps – all automatic – that taken together deliver a total integrated processing system. These include remotely operated pedestal cranes, conveyor systems, de-dusting systems, magnetic and eddy current separators and hydraulically driven conveyors. No extra staff are required to run a PC-AC and the plant footprint is minimal.
Many more advantages
There are fewer moving parts in a PC-AC with only about 25% of the liner plates in comparison to a traditional shear, reducing maintenance. PC-AC running costs are incredibly low and it is important to keep in mind the additional savings due to streamlining of operations and elimination of scrap preparation.