How is Scrap Metal Processed?

scrap metal recyclingScrap metal processing involves the same basic steps as most other recycling processes. Although it requires a lot of energy, it’s a rather quick, and straight forward process that includes seven steps.

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Step 1: Scrap Metal Collection and Transportation

During this first step in the process, recyclable metals are collected and transported to the recycling facility. Recyclers typically offer pick up and drop off services for individuals and organizations that generate a lot of scrap metal.

Step 2: Sorting

When materials arrive at the scrap metal recycling plant, they are first sorted. Sorting is done to separate ferrous metals, which typically contain iron and are magnetic, from nonferrous metals.   Additional sorting separates these recyclable metals from other metals and materials that are not recyclable.  High quality recycled metals can only be produced if the original materials used in the recycling process are of similarly high quality.

Step 3: Squeezing, squashing, and shredding

Actual processing starts with compacting of the metals using a variety of machines so that they don’t occupy a lot of space on the conveyor belt. After this, the metals are shredded or broken into tiny pieces or sheets. Shredded metals have a higher surface area to volume ratio and thus consume less energy during melting.

Step 4: Scrap Metal Melting

Melting takes place in large, specialized furnaces. There are specific furnaces for specific types of metals. The shredded pieces/sheets are poured into the furnace, and the furnace is heated to temperatures capable of melting the particular metal being processed. The melting process can take anywhere from several minutes to hours depending on the type of furnace, the volume of the metal being melted, and the amount of heat being applied.

Step 5: Purification

After melting, the scrap metals are purified to ensure that the final product is free from impurities. There are different ways of purifying metals, electrolysis being the most common. Some metals can also be simply passed under a powerful magnetic system to remove any foreign particles.

Step 6: Solidification

Finally, the molten metal is carried by conveyor belts to a cooling chamber where it solidifies. At this stage, certain chemicals can be added to the molten metal to alter its density and change some other properties. It is also at this stage that metals are made into different shapes and sizes. In most cases, the processed scrap metal is formed into bars or blocks which can be easily transported.

Step 7:   Transporting the Processed Scrap Metal

That’s it. The metal is now ready for use in the manufacture of a variety of items, including household appliances, automotive parts, food containers and a wide array of other products.

For more information about our scrap metal recycling services in Austin and the surrounding areas call 512-243-1183….

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