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New challenges in the scrap metal industry

The circular economy requires a new approach to the collection, treatment and recycling of secondary materials. European member states must take responsibility for encouraging companies to engage in the metal recovery cycle and that often means changing course from existing practices.

Anticipating this, Panizzolo Recycling Systems has gained concrete experience in the end-of-waste sector. It is no secret that global markets are rapidly moving towards an overwhelming demand for quality metals, in the wake of China’s National Sword policy, to treat scrap as products rather than waste. Companies already moving in this direction are benefitting from increased sales.

In order not to get left behind, companies need to sharpen their weapons and target technological innovation. By updating and elevating the treatment phases, it will be possible to seize the opportunities of this change and manage the abundance of scrap and metals that manufacturers are desperately trying to reintroduce into the production cycle.

Covid-19 and green business

Since last year, many changes in the scrap sector have been accelerated by the Covid-19 emergency. While continuing to invest in recycling, scrap companies analyse operating costs much more thoroughly than they did in the past.

‘Compared to four or five years ago the sector is evolving in a very clear direction: companies must make the most of scrap metals if they do not want to lose their competitive advantage,’ says Matteo Turatto, sales director for Panizzolo Recycling Systems. ‘The market requires the recovery of more complex waste, which requires ever more efficient recycling plants. For this reason, in the analysis phase, companies are more sensitive to all those aspects that give an economic return in the medium to long term. Specifically on this front, Panizzolo has consolidated its market positioning with excellent response from both Italian and foreign customers.’


Deral produces high quality billets from aluminium scrap for the national and international market. To ensure high production quality, material loaded into the ovens must be carefully separated from any impurities. For this reason, the company has its own treatment cycle that has recently been enhanced by the Panizzolo Recycling Systems plant with a Mega 1100 hammer mill.

‘At Deral we are currently set up for production of around 40-45 000 tonnes of finished products per year,’ says company president Mauro Cibaldi. ‘We expect production growth over the next ten years, thanks to the new Mega 1100 and the rapidly expanding Italian market.’

At the beginning Deral worked with shear presses and carried out the selection and cleaning phases manually. But the shredder delivered large pieces of aluminium (50-60 cm) that slowed production. Furthermore, the quality of the product was not perfect with clear repercussions at the time of casting. For this reason, in recent years Deral has opted for more complete and effective systems such as the Panizzolo line, including the new X-ray selection.

‘One of the first Panizzolo machines installed was the Flex 1000 mobile drum, while we have now switched to a stationary Mega 1100 hammer mill,’ says company ceo Giulio Vincoli. ‘Our initial need was to increase the production capacity of the grinder and from the first accounts of the new production cycle we have already seen a clear improvement. With the grids set for our scrap we have calculated a productivity of about 16 tonnes per hour.’

Vincoli adds: ‘Our Panizzolo recycling plant stands out for its simplicity and low operating costs, features that avoid having to resort to highly specialized personnel or having them constantly on site. Following simple routine maintenance, the Panizzolo mill has no problems, with undoubtedly lower costs than double-shaft hydraulic shredders on the market.’


Com.Steel moved into a new 66,000 m² facility on 11 January this year and, at that stage, tests on the new Panizzolo Mega 1500 hammermill were completed. It is now fully in service.

‘Fortunately, the pandemic had the direct effect of only postponing our transfer to the new headquarters by three months,’ says Com.Steel owner Andrea Pensotti. ‘We want to be ever more focused on the treatment of metals and on the diversification of the processed materials. This is also why we immediately started the new Panizzolo grinding and sorting plant in January.’

Quality, he says, is becoming increasingly important while inefficient products, polluted or contaminated by other metals, are materials that buyers are far less interested in. ‘The more we work, the more we understand that steelworks want a refined product,’ Pensotti points out.

This is why in 2021, the new Panizzolo plant is mainly focused on the treatment of tins from MSW, already ideally tested in the recovery of ferrous proler, and in the separation of inert fractions.

‘Nothing ends up in a landfill,’ insists Pensotti. ‘Glass dust, for example, is resold to produce new containers while the inert pieces are sent to waste-to-energy plants.

‘Thanks to the experience gained in the use of previous Panizzolo machinery, together with our technical department, we’ve perfected the plant inside our new areas, allowing us to perform a complete and non-stop treatment.’

Com.Steel operators have been instructed and trained about the various processing stages and now, to complete the test stages, the company is working with Panizzolo technicians on programming. Optimisation of the hammermill software is fundamental and all of the necessary changes must be made for the correct setting of the machine.

Pensotti concludes; ‘As far as wear, maintenance and use are concerned, the performance of the Panizzolo Flex 1300 hammermill was guaranteed. We expect the same from the new Mega 1500, especially because of the evidence from first two months of processing. We are satisfied with this collaboration with Panizzolo and its staff as everything was done according to the most modern requirements. We’ve known Panizzolo for decades and their service technicians are as dedicated and trustworthy as can be.’

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