CASE STUDY – Automotive Industry Handling Metal Scrap:
One of the “Big Three” Automotive Manufacturers was faced with the challenge of having to produce stamped body panels from both steel and aluminum while the plant & scrap material handling systems were designed to process only steel. What they needed was an efficient method of allowing the existing stamping lines to produce both steel & aluminum parts and effectively segregate the steel and aluminum scrap and remove it from the building. And once the scrap was produced have a cost efficient method of handling the scrap for recycling.
Compass Systems analyzed the application and overall system requirements and proposed a design that went far beyond what they initially expected. We prepared a plan that included our modifying the existing steel scrap conveyors to operate in both a forward & reversing mode. By doing this, the steel scrap would continue on its current path through the plant and be handled as it has been for 50 years. Then when aluminum scrap was to be produced, we would reverse the main press conveyor and deliver the scrap to a shredder where it would be reduced in size for easier handling. After shredding the scrap, we proposed moving it from the press lines in the building through a series of pneumatic conveying systems and deliver it to dump trailers, located some 1500 feet away outside of the building. Once we had it outside, we proposed a custom designed delivery system that would allow the automatic filling of the dump trailers that are approx. 43′ long x 8′ wide x 8′ feet deep. To make everything operate efficiently & not add to the labor force, we proposed a completely integrated controls system that first obtained the signal of what type of material type of material was to be produced, steel or aluminum, from the plants computerized system, based on part number and giving us the designation of the type of that is to be produced, without relying on the operators to select which material is being run. This gave us 99% reliability for material segregation. Once we had this signal, we allowed our control system to change the direction of the main press conveyor(s), start our system components, ie: Shredder, pneumatic conveying systems, material distribution system and flow monitoring system. Lastly, the systems were designed to handle an additional 4 press lines with a minimal investment at each press line.
While preparing the recommendations and talking with the scrap metal dealers we found that by shredding the scrap we were increasing the density of the loose product by a factor of 6 to 1, thus reducing the number of truck loads that would be required to transport the scrap from the plant to the recycling facility. Also, we found that with the ability to ensure 95% + purity on the aluminum we increased the value of the scrap, as we eliminated the need for the scrap metal dealers to run the aluminum through a secondary metal sorting system, a second handling process, and last, by having the ability to pick-up the material at the end of the press line and pneumatically deliver it to the dump trailers, we eliminated the need for any additional labor, in fact we eliminated several positions per shift that they expected to have to have to move the material by fork-lift truck, out of the basement.
Late in 2003 we received the Turnkey Contract for this system, valued at just under $3,000,000.00. We completed the design of the systems in July of 2003. The fabrication of the equipment was completed by December of 2003 and we delivered more than (17) tractor trailer loads of equipment to the plant. The mechanical & electrical installation was started in January of 2004 and was completed in March of 2004. The system was started up in April of 2004 and has been running extremely well since then. In the past 18 months of operation the plant has run more than 8 million pounds of aluminum through our system which has a documented purity rate of 98% + with very minimal maintenance. Additionally, the plant was able to reduce their labor cost by more than $ 960,000.00 per year and they have secured a contract with a metal scrap dealer to purchase the aluminum scrap from them at a premium price. Additionally, they have cut their trucking & handling cost of the aluminum scrap by more than 50%.
While scrap handling is typically an added cost of the process, in this case we provided them with a system that actually increased their scrap value, reduced their labor cost, eliminated the need for secondary processing, to the point where the system cost was recouped in less than 2 years. After that the plant will continue to receive the cost savings for years to come.
AT A GLANCE
- Compass systems use the least number of moving parts.
- Robust systems handle tough metals, maintaining uptime and reliability.
- Sophisticated controls provide reliable visibility and automated maintenance.
- Top quality component fabrication ensures reliable performance
- All (En) Compassing Solutions Provide Single Point Accountability