The company behind the new recycling system, Nederman UK, have produced a report that says that the average business is losing up to £780 in potential revenue for every ton of waste metal that they recycle. The system works by using vacuum pumps to collect swarf from machining processes.
After coolants and oils are separated from the metal, it is turned into bricks which can then be sold or recycled. Previously companies would have to send the swarf away to another company to do this but this system allows them to do it on-site. Honda UK produces a thousand tons of swarf a year and are now using the system in their Swindon plant.
By selling the swarf and recycling the coolant they have increased their revenue from the process by three times. The system paid for itself within two years. Use of the system also stops any slowing of the manufacturing process, keeps the factory or plant clean, reduces labour costs and is environmentally friendly by reducing energy use and, of course, because of the recycling process itself.
Nedermann studied the process for manufacturers of car engines, steel machine tools, aluminium furniture, aerospace components and brass door fittings. They found that the potential increase in profitability was amazing. The actual process is also quite ingenious. The swarf is first shredded into a chip that is easily processed.
It is then passed by conveyor to a centrifuge to remove the oils and coolant which are moved on to a separate processing unit. The metal is then moved over a set of magnetic rollers to remove any ferrous particles. A natural earth magnet is used for larger ferrous and a raw earth magnet for the smaller ferrous. It is then formed into the easily manageable bricks.