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Zato leads the way in (pre)shredding solutions

US recycler Neil Morris with the Zato machine.

Metal recycling machinery producer Zato – widely known for its Blue Devil pre-shredder – is seeing its business grow rapidly around the globe. So what explains the Italian company’s success?

This article was published in Recycling Technology >>

Great expertise, great equipment, great innovation and great service are among Zato’s main characteristics. Another would be the fact that the company always has a machine waiting for a new customer, argues sales director Omar Della Gaspera. ‘Whereas a delivery time of 18 months is quite normal, we can ship a machine within a month,’ he asserts.

Based in Brescia in northern Italy, Zato has been designing and manufacturing ferrous and non-ferrous metals recycling plant and equipment for more than 20 years. It operates from a 4 000 m2 factory and is employing a total of 45 people.

It was in 1999 that the company entered the metal recycling arena based on the founder’s (Valerio Zanaglio) extensive metal recovery experience within the steel sector. As time passed, his commitment to the scrap sector grew stronger, especially after becoming a parent which inspired a new awareness of responsibility towards the planet and future generations.

Zato has been actively moving towards a circular economy, embracing ecological, technological and digital advancements, while promoting inclusion and social cohesion. In the past 20-plus years, the company has succeeded in designing and building a diverse range of recycling machines, including demolition shears, single- and twin-shaft shredders and also hammer mills, as well as sorting and recovery technologies.

Production boost in Bavaria

Alfa Recycling of Munich in Germany relies greatly on technology from Zato. Since March 2023, Zato’s Blue Devil pre-shredder has been integral to the company’s shredder operations, proving to be the ideal solution for handling medium-size ferrous and non-ferrous scrap.

‘I wanted more throughput with less production time,’ says Alfa Recycling’s managing director Karl-David Schlehenkamp. Thanks to the Blue Devil, the company has achieved its goal of increasing scrap throughput by 30 to 40% while downtime on the actual shredder has been ‘significantly’ reduced.

And as for safety, no gas cylinders or petrol tanks get into the shredder, nor do any heavy parts that could damage the machine and cause excessive wear. The risk of explosions has been practically eliminated by the Blue Devil pre-shredder.

Twin-shaft advantage

The twin-shaft rotary shears allow the transmission of high torques to shred particularly difficult material and achieve maximum performance. The crushing of bulky scrap is optimised by increasing the density, thus meeting the production requirements of foundries and steel mills.

The cutting shafts are equipped with four planetary gears (two per shaft) and four hydraulic motors (again, two per shaft), and can be powered by diesel or electric motor. The rotating shafts produce a powerful cut that generates little noise and dust.

Increasing output

With the two-shaft Blue Devil from Zato, Alfa Recycling has achieved a 30%-plus increase in the throughput of its electric-powered large shredder which has been in service since 1982, while at the same time reducing
electricity costs.

The company’s main product is ferrous scrap, which goes to steelworks. Around 25 tonnes of scrap can be processed (pre-shredded and shredded) per hour. Schlehenkamp confirms: ‘We now have a throughput of around 250 tonnes per day.’

‘Steel mills love it’

In North America, Zato has seen sales of shredding machinery explode. Among its new customers is Morris Scrap Metal of King Mountain in North Carolina where, in December 2022, Zato installed an electric powered Blue Devil. In the first six months of operation alone, production doubled and made buyers very happy. ‘The steel mills love it,’ says company owner Neil Morris.

For Morris, the shredder meets his company’s need to process unprepared busheling and No. 2 steel. He first researched Zato’s product by touring several European installations in 2016, ultimately deciding to purchase a Blue Devil in April 2022 in preference to replacing the company’s old shear with a new one.

Morris Scrap Metal currently puts 30 to 35 tonnes per hour of unprepared busheling through the machine and 20 to 25 tonnes of No. 2 steel. The shredder runs for six or seven hours per day, processing 100 to 120 tonnes.

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