Scrap Metal Recycling: Best Practices to Know in 2023

Recycling scrap metal comes with numerous advantages, such as it helps in preserving our Planet, supports and creates job opportunities, and earns money by saving.

FREMONT, CA: For accurate sorting, scrap metal recyclers use the latest technologies. In order to ensure the quality supplied to buyers, the integrity of the business, the safety of employees, and regulatory compliance, the exact chemical composition of scrap must be determined.

The best practices for getting accurate readings when analyzing and sorting the metals are outlined below:

Cleaning it up: Keeping an eye out for coatings, platings, and residual paint is necessary. When the Ni coating is not removed, the handheld X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer may detect pure Ni. As well as interfering with chemistry, paint can lead to the misidentification of alloys. Metals can also be affected by natural occurrences, especially those exposed to the elements - removal of corrosion, oxide layers (rust), and scale before measuring is crucial. Additionally, interfering materials, such as caulk, rubber, etc., should be removed.

Separating the layers of metal: Each layer should be separately analyzed to determine if there are entrapped lead or copper-bearing electronics.

Making powder out of it: A small car's catalytic converter may contain 1-2 grams of platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh), while a large truck's catalytic converter may contain 12-15 grams. Having the ability to quickly and accurately determine the contents of Pt, Pd, and Rh in spent catalytic converters at the collector's site or in refineries is important to avoid considerable financial losses.

Distinguishing between close alloys by taking longer measurements: It is possible for two alloys with very similar specifications to be displayed as a close match. In some cases, a longer reading (5 - 10s) may provide the precision needed to separate.

Getting radiation safety training: A directed radiation beam is emitted by an analyzer when the tube is energized (tube-based instruments) or when the shutter is opened (isotope-based instruments). It is important to keep radiation exposures as low as possible. Using a handheld XRF analyzer directly at the sample and never at people or body parts is necessary when using a portable XRF analyzer, as the radiation emitted from it is similar to that received from a dental or medical X-ray.

Radiation Safety for Facility and Products: There are many instances where unwanted radioactive sources from old medical equipment, density gauges, etc., show up in metal processing facilities, threatening the safety of employees and products and resulting in costly plant decontamination. Multiple inspection points are necessary for the workflow to ensure that processed materials are free of radioactive sources.