Stamping manufacturers that produce stainless steel and high-nickel alloy scrap can easily increase the return on their material investment. By following some simple guidelines, they can get higher value from the waste.
Stainless steel, nickel alloy scrap supply chain
Traditionally, when the stamping manufacturer’s factory produces stainless steel and nickel alloy scrap, the scrap dealer collects the material on site. Distributors act as intermediaries to sell these scraps to stainless steel and nickel alloy processors. The processor is the last stop in the scrap supply chain. The scrap is melted in a factory into new stainless steel, nickel alloy factory and foundry coils, plates and bars.
When preparing scrap for factories, processors go further than scrap dealers. It uses a proprietary chemical mixing program to control material quality. The processor ensures continuous supply of raw materials that meet the agreed chemical and density specifications to factories and foundries. The processor works with the factory to establish these guidelines based on the factory’s production needs at any given time. The processor’s expertise in mixing distinguishes it from scrap dealers in the supply chain and enables it to directly supply factories and foundries.
Mixing is a practice in which processors mix nickel-containing waste materials of different chemical properties, sizes and forms to generate uniform heat. When melted on a rolling mill, this heat will produce the required nickel, chromium, molybdenum and iron content.
More importantly, the processor’s mixing expertise enables it to control harmful residual elements. Residual elements include copper, tin, phosphorus, lead, boron and sulfur. The residuals are kept to tight tolerances, usually not exceeding a percentage of one-hundredth. If the residue is not controlled, the new stainless steel or nickel alloy produced from the mixture will produce poor performance and structural defects. In order to control the mixed and heated raw materials, the processor uses X-ray technology and an in-house professional metallurgical laboratory to classify and test all incoming goods.
Failure to meet the specifications of the rolling mill will result in rejection of all shipments or blow away heat. In the next step of the metal recycling process, heat (also known as charge) is generated. In this process, the scrap is heated in the furnace of the rolling mill into a molten mixture, from which a new coil or sheet is made (see Figure 1) .
If a batch of heat contains too much certain contaminants (such as lead), or the percentage of ingredients contained in the composition (such as copper) is too high, the heat is “blown away.”
The waste purchased by the processor is not only different in chemical properties, but also in different physical forms. The materials range from thick to thin plates, punching and turning. Using a baler, scissors and cutting torch to cut the material to a certain size, the processor can ensure that the mixture is uniform and meets the density requirements.
Processors should maintain appropriate safety equipment to ensure that no environmental or health-harmful agents are released during the torch process.
Meet the material expectations of the processor
Processors are willing to purchase stainless steel and nickel alloy scrap directly from the die. However, they should keep some precautions in mind for stampers that are to be sold directly and achieve higher returns.
Figure 1 Heat (also called charging) is a step in the metal recovery process, in which scrap is heated in the furnace of a rolling mill into a molten mixture from which new coils are made.
The importance of chemistry. The processor’s operations are focused on chemistry. They believe that each type of stainless steel and nickel alloy scrap is a unique mixture of nickel, chromium, molybdenum and iron, and each alloy is its own mixture.
Processors prefer clean waste classified by alloy type. Isolation and cleanliness enable processors to quickly and accurately calculate the chemical units incorporated into the mixture. If waste materials are mixed together, the accuracy of the chemicals may be reduced, so more rigorous testing is required. Segregated alloys will always get the highest value from the processing machine.
Consistency of waste flow. Processors promise to continuously supply thousands of tons to factories and foundries every month. Their ability to supply materials consistently in quantity and quality is why they have exclusive supply arrangements with stainless steel plants and professional foundries.
Therefore, the processor always knows the quantity and quality of waste from its source. This consistency allows the processor to better understand and predict its ability to meet demand. If processors know that known quantities of high-purity materials are being obtained, they are more likely to pay higher prices for these materials.
Four steps to prepare scrap for the processor
Compression molds must follow some simple guidelines to meet the expectations of processors so that they can sell directly to them:
1. Isolation. When the die is rolled off the assembly line, all stainless steel and nickel-containing scrap should be distinguished by alloy name. This can be done by using dedicated hoppers, hoppers, unloading devices and trays, with clear labels to identify the specific alloy to be placed in it or the part number or job ID corresponding to the specific alloy.
They should put labels on the slitting line, punching machine, laser table and CNC machine, indicating the type of operation and alloy being run
2. Establish a clean culture. The die should establish a responsible and clean culture in the factory.
Waste generators should educate machine operators about the importance of keeping materials isolated and how their workstations affect isolation.
The die assigns the responsibility of the machine operator to the machine operator to thoroughly clean his machine and work area before switching to a new job using other alloys. Operators should take extra care when changing jobs involving materials that are harmful to the production of stainless steel and nickel alloys, such as alloys of copper, brass, bronze, aluminum, and lead.
When dumping materials from the hoppers or garbage bins of their workstations to larger collection points (such as roll-off), the machine operator should be asked to sign the list, specifying the time, quantity and quantity of materials dumped. This will help track the source of pollution and determine what measures can be taken to avoid pollution in the future.
3. Use checklist, shipping checklist. Stamping manufacturers can use detailed packing lists and shipping lists to maintain clarity.
Each hopper, handbag, box or skid should be clearly marked by the type of alloy it contains, as well as the gross weight, net weight and tare weight.
Each waste container or pallet shall be assigned a unique ID number.
The packing list should be divided by alloy type and list the unique ID number and weight of each individual item and its container. This helps the processor report any discrepancies to the stamper. Then, the stamper can refer to its issuance to find out where the error occurred in the factory.
4. Be transparent about pollution. The stamper should communicate the inevitable contamination problem to the processor when it occurs. They have the proper system to handle it.
The die should describe the types of alloys mixed together, and if possible, please provide an approximate percentage of each alloy.
This item should be sent as a separate category on the packing list for careful handling.
If there are any questions, the die can contact any trained personnel of the processing staff. They are happy to answer any questions and assist in designing waste management procedures to enable stamping manufacturers to enter the supply chain.
Link to this article： How to improve the return on investment of stainless steel and nickel alloy scrap?
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