Taking a Look at a Recycling Equipment Article

When metal recycling Los Angeles we use a variety of machines to extract usable and salable secondary metals. Most folks never see these in action except on YouTube. That’s why we’re paraphrasing and citing this article on Recycling Today written by Anne Claire Broughton back in 2001.

Today’s scrap processors have access to a wide variety of specially-designed processing equipment, but that wasn’t always the case.

August 9, 2001

Anne Claire Broughton

Equipment & Products

Scrap handling began as an extremely low-tech, labor-intensive operation, and also progressively progressed to the far more state-of-the-art company it is today. Modern lawns are much safer and cleaner, and processing devices are less complicated to operate so there is much less possibility of injury. The scrap devices market has actually additionally come to be progressively competitive. For instance, at once there were just two producers for balers, and also now there greater than a loads. The same is true for scrap handlers. Even better, devices companies are now developing equipments with scrap processors in mind.

In the early days, a lot of the handling was done by hand, and also it was back breaking work. Yet scrap processors generated creative means of relocating material. Prior to the days of forklifts, cranes and also electromagnets, ferrous processors could pack scrap right into a wheelbarrow on an incline, and after that unload it into a railcar positioned down below. Paper cpus report the use of handcarts to move even 1,500-pound bundles.

Early processing tools, while far more effective than doing everything by hand, could be difficult. The earliest balers, commonly adjusted from agricultural usages, compressed product using screws or platforms moved by manpower.

The baler remained to improve for many years, as well as some very early styles have actually confirmed incredibly long-lived. As an example, the only known constant mechanical baler, the AMBACO Design 25-A, was mounted at some point after The second world war and also operated continuously up until the summer season of 1995 at R.R. Donnelley & Sons’ Calumet plant in Chicago. The Smithsonian Gallery, Washington, intended to acquire it, yet the machine’s massive dimension (30 feet long) as well as weight (10 heaps) made that difficult.


Scrap processing of one type or one more has been going on for hundreds of years. Burning is one method commonly used to different materials or to make it simpler to damage big equipment such as ships right into smaller sized items. Hammers, axes, blades, crowbars, sledgehammers, and also improvised drop sphere breakers were other early devices, all requiring a large amount of physical labor to use.

In the late 19th century, the very first mechanical devices for scrap processing, such as shears, balers and cutting lanterns, came into existence. In the early part of the 20th century, electromagnets were developed. Around the very same time, electrically driven alligator shears came into usage. These were faster than upright shears yet were even more hazardous, opening up as well as shutting continually. Likewise, the driver needed to hold the scrap while it was being cut, leading to some lost hands as well as fingers. Today’s hydraulic alligator shears have clamps to hold scrap, along with foot pedals to control the operation of the makers. For refining big volumes, there are now hydraulic guillotine shears.

After The Second World War, reduced speed, shear kind shredders entered into use for shredding smaller materials, such as tires as well as pallets. These were an alternate to hammermills.

After that in the 1950s and 1960s, there were big growths for processing used cars, which were formerly melted to remove impurities such as plastics and also foam, and afterwards taken apart with cutting torches. Al-jon Inc., Ottumwa, Iowa, made a car crusher; and Proler Steel, Houston; Luria Bros., Cleveland; and Newell Industries, San Antonio, Texas, established big shredders for cars and trucks.

These developments were inspired mostly by modifications in federal guidelines that no more allowed cpus to burn autos. In addition, there were about 14 million abandoned cars and trucks in the united state during that time, so Ladybird Johnson supported a national project to cleanse these up. Auto shredders have continued to establish, with today’s shredders appearing like complete manufacturing facilities.

Shears attached to cranes were designed in the 1970s by LaBounty Manufacturing, 2 Harbors, Minn., for uncoupling huge items such as buildings and airplanes.


Today’s scrap processing operations are much safer than those in the 1950s, according to Peter Avagliano, vice president of Schiavone-Bonomo Corp., Jersey City, N.J.

” I’ve been below given that 1950, when the major piece of equipment to prepare steel was the alligator shear, which was an instead harmful procedure,” claims Avagliano. “It’s backwards and forwards, and also you placed the piece below there by hand, and if you had an item of difficult steel, it would simply leap back at you. Individuals were shedding eyes and also fingers. Now you have the hydraulic shear, which anyone can operate.”

There were likewise in some cases accidents with the cutting torches that were utilized to take apart vehicles, he says. “Now they go into a shredder, so nobody’s around it. A shredder can take a car apart in a minute.”

Another scrap cpu who became active in business in the 1950s states the main difference between operations after that and also today is that open burning of automobiles was a typical part of scrap operations after that. Ecological worries were not actually a part of the picture, and definitely were not the overriding issue they are today.

” A lot of the shearing back then was done by an alligator shear, which occasionally created hand as well as finger injuries,” he says. “That was a period when there were no guillotine shears and also no shredders. There were balers and, of course, magnets and cranes, and the turning crusher became part of business, but not a shredder.”

Growth of the shredder was partially inspired when burning of vehicles was no more permitted, he states. “Individuals were making an ‘unburned’ No. 2 bundle of the car, and as we now recognize, some 25 to 30 percent of the weight of the car is nonmetallic, to make sure that put a huge glut on the market of bundles that weren’t that attractive to steelmakers. This was a reward to make a maker that really did not melt, but shredded mechanically as well as separated the trash to make sure that you had something that was 98 percent or 99 percent pure metal.”

Copper wire was also burned throughout that time to do away with the plastic covering. This practice was stopped when cord began to be made with polyvinyl chloride, since when melted, PVC releases hazardous gases. Cable strippers as well as shredders entered widespread use at that time.

” The generation prior to me bore in mind loading scrap by wheelbarrow, up a small incline and also down right into the railway automobile that went to a reduced degree, and that, obviously, was back breaking work,” says the cpu. “The primary modification there was the intro of the electric magnet in the late 1920s and very early 1930s that allowed scrap to be raised by other than hand labor.”

There has actually been a progression in cranes, he includes. They began as spider types, and then cranes that were able to go on railroad tracks were established. These might change cars and trucks as well as doing the loading as well as unloading. They were originally mechanical, with diesel motor, and then were upgraded to electrical motors. Cable television cranes evolved right into hydraulic cranes, as well as stand cranes were developed for ship loading.

” We discovered, as a sector, that we were training all our individuals to run cable television cranes, and afterwards they would certainly head out to the building industry and also make two times what they were making in the scrap lawn,” states the cpu. “That was a reward to develop what they now call hydraulic cranes, which are not nearly as complicated to operate.”


According to Vernon Birda, a Portland, Ore., legal representative formerly with Saturn Manufacturing (now MAC Corp./ Saturn Shredders, Grand Savanna, Texas), his firm popularized the use of the sluggish rate, shear kind shredder in the united state in the 1970s, as well as established larger models than the 20 horse power versions created in Germany. Saturn’s shredders went up to 600 horse power, according to Birda.

” We would shred whatever from beer containers to fridges and also cooktops to garbage,” he claims. “We had transmission situations for General Motors, we had tires from Firestone and all the tire firms. The kids for beer cans had quarter inch cutters, and also the big ones would have cutters virtually two inches large to tear points apart.”<

Rather than crushing product with hammers, like the larger hammermill shredders, rotary shredders have 2 counter-rotating blades that reduced materials. The rotary shredders are smaller, more economical, as well as utilize much less energy than hammermills, claims Birda.

Metal pipes for recycling
Metal pipes for recycling

OOne problem with the very early rotating shredders was the need of reversing the electric motor consistently to deal with difficult items without stressing out the motor.

” We mosted likely to a hydraulic drive mechanism which we reversed simply by turning a button, so the electrical motor would certainly maintain pumping at all times similarly, but there would be a little shutoff that would certainly flip, then it would certainly reverse for 5 secs, then that valve would certainly flip back the various other method,” Birda discusses. “At the same time, it was going full speed so it wouldn’t need to begin gradually as well as go wham and also struck it again, and afterwards we wouldn’t burn out any motors. That was the secret of our success.”


The second paper handling industry has likewise come a long way considering that its very early days, according to Tom Lyon, president of Panorama Fibers, Dallas. His firm utilized to run an old paper processing plant in New Orleans, which had actually an associated building down the block called “The Stables”, where the firm kept its trucks.

” The name Stables came from the truth that it utilized to be where they maintained the steeds,” says Lyon. “Where today we drive trucks around to grab product, they actually had horses and buggies that headed out and also provided solution to their distributors.”

Lyon has seen photos of very early hand-operated balers that were used to press paper. “It had a bar on the side with a board that stood apart on the side, and also it was secured to the top platen,” he explains. “After you place the material in, an individual or more would stand on that system which would then take down the top part of it, and that’s how they pressed paper.”<

There are still some Logemann pit balers out there, he adds. To install these balers, it was essential to dig a pit in the ground. “You dug a hole in the ground, and you pressed everything from flooring level right into that opening, and afterwards it had a platen on the bottom of it, and it is after that raised up as well as pressed against the top,” claims Lyon. “There was a hydraulic cylinder which went straight down in the ground beneath, and also you made use of that hydraulic pressure to press the platen up, as well as it would compact versus the top, and after that you put cords around it.”

There were also electric units which had large chains on each side, and also as you drove them, the chain would certainly draw the product up and compress it against the top, he includes. Later, the extra acquainted horizontal balers were established.

” Balers maintain establishing to the point where some balers today are allegedly completely automatic and can be programmed so that you don’t also require a baler operator,” claims Lyon. “As well as you can merely toss a button as to which type of quality you’re utilizing and also it will change as necessary. It’s a long way from one hundred percent handbook.””

Panorama’s Dallas plant still has a number of old wooden slat conveyors, which are normally not seen anymore. “That was the first sturdy conveying of any type of effect, and then of course they mosted likely to the Mayfran,” he claims. “By the late 1960s, everyone was placing in the steel frames.”

Before the creation of the forklift vehicle, paper bales were relocated with a two-hand cart. These had 2 prongs that protruded in front which were driven into all-time low of the bale, and afterwards the bale was leaned back on the cart and also rolled from area to location. Individuals were in some way able to move 1,500-pound bundles with these carts, claims Lyon.

” I when saw a presentation of the way they utilized to pack railcars,” he claims. “You would take a bale know these carts, and lay the first one down flat. After that when the second one was available in you might tumble it over on top of that one. Currently if you wished to go three high, they put one flat before that one and also they can sort of pivot it, roll it up. And also they can essentially stack product to the height of the railcar.”

Once more, although they were able to fill the railcars, it was an extremely labor intensive operation, requiring not simply one guy but 3 or 4 strong men to handle. “They would certainly have three or 4 husky men to do it, but they literally can pack railcars that way, without forklifts or anything else,” claims Lyon.


The scrap company has actually transformed a great deal in the 30 of so years he has been included, says Jon Kneen, chief executive officer of Al-jon Inc., Ottumwa, Iowa. “In the 1960s, the majority of business were smaller as well as were family-owned,” he states. “They were just starting to search for tools to help them better process materials.”

Pile of scrap autos to be recycled
Pile of scrap autos to be recycled

Kneen claims it is interesting to be a part of that development. “In the early 1970s, for lots of business, an auto crusher or baler was the initial item of real tools they ever before purchased, and it changed their procedures. They had to hire new individuals and educate them to use it, and they were able to refine much more material.”

The automobile crusher had its starts in the very early- to mid-1960s when automobiles could no longer be burned, and also individuals were searching for extra efficient methods to squash cars and trucks so that more could be delivered at one time. “Individuals used to go down heavy steel plates on cars and trucks to squash them, or run Army containers over them,” states Kneen. “Among our clients recommended we construct an automobile squeezer, so we determined to try it.”

The auto crusher made it possible for processors to fit 10 to 12 smashed vehicles in a rolloff container rather than only 2. “We had to determine the extra pounds per pressure to crush cars, and determine exactly how to make them the right size to place in rolloffs,” he claims. “We created the concept of a mechanical device to squash an auto in a series of steps to make it regular.”

Al-jon patented the machine, and also went on to offer a multitude of automobile crushers. Today the machine is extremely innovative, totally automated by an on-board computer, and it is basic equipment for the majority of automobile dismantlers, who after that sell the smashed autos to shredding operations. Kneen estimates there are currently a minimum of 10,000 cars and truck crushers in the united state. Yet much more adjustments are in the works as the structure of cars changes.

” We crush cars and trucks that are 7 to 9 years of ages,” he says, “so in 7 to 9 years from now we’ll be taking a look at crushing cars and trucks with aluminum hoods, plastic bumpers, computer systems– it’s an ongoing process.”

Scrap metal shredding machines make life easier.


Ben Sacco, chief executive officer of Sierra Iron & Metal and Sierra International Machinery, Bakersfield, Calif., is very interested in the evolution of scrap processing methods. His company developed the shear/baler.

” 10 years ago people were unconvinced when we came up with the shear/baler principle, yet it’s more flexible and also efficient,” he states. “The LaBounty type shear is a great shear for prep work, except production. It’s a gorgeous tool, yet the shear/baler provided the sector a new perspective as well as enabled them to do even more.”

It’s important to find the most progressive means to process materials, states Sacco. “Some people are immune to alter. I as soon as attempted to market a guy a baler that would certainly do in a hr what his 5 balers carry out in a week. It would have spent for itself in 8 months, but he wasn’t interested.”

However, these type of mindsets are starting to transform, he says. “Individuals are starting to get new devices. A whole lot pertains to the more youthful generation coming in.”

The changes that have actually taken place in the U.S. are extremely easy to see when you take a look at processing in establishing nations, claims Sacco, where automobiles are still being cut with an ax and carve

Nevertheless, various other parts of the world are more advanced than the united state somehow, he includes. “In Italy every truck peddler has a crane, and 90 percent of the backyards are led. Right here, frequently, they still tons by hand. There has actually been a great deal of progression, however there is still a long way to go.”

Of course things have improved over the 20+ years since this article was written for which we’re grateful. For you scrap metal recycling in Los Angeles, though, see us a TM Scrap Metals first.

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