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Aluminium Industry Trend & Analysis, Technology Review, Event Rundown and Much More …

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Aluminium recycling process and an over view of aluminum scrap/chip recycling plant by AFECO Industries

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Primary Aluminium History: People often think of aluminum as a cheap and plentiful metal, but 130 years ago aluminum was considered rare and expensive. According to the book “Chemical Principles,” refining aluminum from bauxite was so costly in the 19th century that the Washington Monument was given an aluminum tip to symbolize its value. In 1886, chemist Mr. Charles Martin Hall invented a cheaper way to refine aluminum from bauxite. The method he discovered is still in use today. Despite its convenience, however, the Hall process uses a considerable amount of energy.(See reference 4).

Why Aluminium should be Recycled: Aluminium is 100% recyclable and experiences no loss of properties or quality during the recycling process. Recycling aluminium also uses only 5% of the energy used to create new Aluminium and emits only 5% of the greenhouse gases. It is for these reasons that approximately 75% of the aluminium ever produced is still in use today by recycling method.

 Recycling Method: Aluminium recycling is the process by which scrap aluminium can be reused in products after its initial production. The process involves simply re-melting the metal, which is far less expensive and energy intensive than creating new Aluminium from its Bauxite Ore.

Success of Aluminium Recycling: Aluminum production has been ongoing for over a century and is still going strong. One of the key factors in the success of aluminum is its recyclability. In fact, recycling has proven so valuable—both economically and ecologically—that recovery and recycling has become its own industry, and a highly successful one.

While UBC (Used Beverages Can) are the most visible part of the aluminum recycling story, they are far from the whole story. In fact, UBC recycling typically amounts to less than 30 percent of the tonnage of aluminum consumer products that are recycled.

The growth of the market for recycled aluminum is due in large measure to economics. Today, “Aluminium Recycling” is cheaper, faster, and more energy efficient & it achieves higher recovery rate of aluminum than ever before. In addition, to achieve a given output of ingot, recycled aluminum requires only about 10 percent of the capital equipment compared with primary aluminum.

               Importance of Recycling Aluminum (UBC) Cans:

Saving Energy & Achieving Carbon Credit

According to the Aluminum Association, an industry trade group, recycling just one can saves the amount of energy it takes to watch the Super bowl — in other words, the amount of energy needed to power a television for three hours.(See Reference 4)

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In the Hall process, current passes through graphite electrodes submerged in molten alumina, or Al2O3. The carbon in the graphite electrodes reacts with the oxygen in the molten alumina to yield carbon dioxide. Although pure aluminum is isolated in the process, the amount of carbon dioxide released is considerable — more than 1 ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of aluminum produced (see References 1). According to Waste Online, recycling aluminum releases only 5 percent of the CO2 required to refine fresh aluminum from bauxite. This way you will get carbon Credit by adopting recycling process.

Reducing Waste & Mining Impacts

According to the EPA, Americans threw out 3.4 million tons of aluminum in 2009 — roughly 1.4 percent of the total waste stream. Moreover, the more aluminum recycled, the less manufacturers need to produce. Production of aluminum necessitates extraction of bauxite ore, and mining also has environmental impacts. Typically bauxite is strip-mined, meaning the soil atop the deposit is removed; in the process, the vegetation at the site is destroyed. (See References 3,4)

Economic Value of Recycled Aluminum

Recycled aluminum is a valuable commodity, so most recycling centers will accept your used cans. Moreover, aluminum can be recycled indefinitely — with no limit on the number of times the metal can be reused. According to the Aluminum Association, this property of aluminum gives it an extraordinarily high value as scrap (see References). According to Waste Online, aluminum is more cost-effective to recycle than any other metal (see References 2). The EPA notes that aluminum is easy to recycle, so there’s a wide market for the recycled product.

Aluminium Recycling Process

The aluminum recycling process is fairly straightforward in its major steps. Aluminum cans (UBC) recycling, for example, is a closed-loop process, which means the new product at the end of the recycling process is the same as the source product. It goes like this:

  • The consumer throws aluminium beverage cans and foil into a recycle bin.
  • All UBC (Used Beverage Cans) are baled and formed in compact shape and size for ease of logistics.
  • In the treatment plant the aluminium is sorted and cleaned ready for reprocessing
  • The cans are shredded into small pieces and fed into a Decoater Dryer Machine to remove paint coating available on surface area of the UBC metal shreds.
  • It then goes through a re-melt process and turns into molten Aluminium Metal.
  • The molten metal from the furnace is molded and cooled into rectangular or in other type of ingots.
  • The ingots are sent to other process or flattened into thin sheets, which are then used to make new cans.

How the process works

1.)    The Loading Conveyor:

Aluminium UBC arrives at the recycling plant in large blocks, or bales. These bales are loaded onto a conveyor, which takes them to the shredder.

2.)    The Shredder:

The shredder chops the cans into small pieces. The pieces are about the size of a 50p coin. This is so that it is easier to remove all the paint and coatings used to decorate and protect the can. It also makes the metal melt faster in the furnace.

3.)    The Magnetic Separator:

Shredded pieces of UBC are passed under a very powerful magnet which removes any traces of steel or the magnetic impurities. Steel or iron impurities are magnetic hence they can be separated from the aluminium using this powerful magnet.

4.)    Rotary Decoater:

The aluminium shreds move along the conveyor into the Decoater. Here the paint decoration is removed from the shredded cans. The decoater blows hot air through the shreds and the paint and coatings vaporise. The decoating process also warms the shreds up, so that they melt faster when they reach the furnace. The hot gases are removed and cleaned by passing into the after burn chamber. It saves 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions compared to the primary, or smelting, process.

5.)    Side well Melting Furnace:

The decoated shreds are fed into the furnace. The furnace is heated to 800°C – this is a low melting point for a metal. These furnaces are the latest ones with capacities ranging from 10 to 100 T. The charging of the light scrap is done in the side well, while fuel-fired burners give the heat input in the main well. The metal pump circulates the hot metal from main well to side well & also allows gas injection.

Vortex Generator: This new technology. Vortex generator or elctro-magnetic pump further improves the melting rate, reduce melt loss, improves alloy dissolution rate, reduce inclusion & gas contamination. Light scrap in the form of chips can be charged through a conveyor continuously in the vortex created.

Holding Furnace: The molten aluminium is transferred to another furnace. This ‘Holding furnace’ is where the metal waits to be cast into ingots. You can add various metals like Magnesium, Silicon, Copper etc. to prepare desired grades of alloy in various series like, LM 0 to LM 31 series .The holding furnace tilts gradually to pour the hot, molten Aluminium Metal.

6.)    Ingot caster machine:

 Different sizes of Ingots or billets can be casted in this process. The metal flows into moulds, the moulds are fitted over a conveyor. As it enters the mould it is cooled by a spraying the fine mist of water on  the moulds. As the aluminium cools it hardens and becomes heavier. This makes the base of the mould lower into the pit so that more aluminium flows into the mold. Gradually an ingot is formed.

7.)    The ingots:

The ingots are bundled and handled. By an overhead crane They are loaded onto a truck and dispatched to the rolling mill or for further process. The ingots are either used directly in the production of industrial products such as alloy gear boxes and engine blocks (auto components) or converted into aluminium sheets. Sheet aluminium is then used to produce new aluminium cans, house siding, roof, guttering or even aircraft skins.

At the rolling mill the ingots are rolled into a very, very thin sheet which is used by the can making company to make new Beverages drink cans. And the whole process starts all over again!

An over view of aluminum scrap/chip recycling process plant layout by AFECO Industries:

AFECO’s Aluminum Scrap/Chip Recycling Process Plant provides a very efficient and effective technology for scrap/chip recycling with minimum human interference.  It is one of the best technology Available in the world for various type of light gauge scrap melting in which the material will be fed into the side well Melting Furnace after shredding DE coating the process. In the side well furnace, liquid molten metal is circulated by the Vortex Pump & a specially designed well cavity. It will have an impact on the metal recovery yield. By pulling dry material subsurface through the vortex, Aluminium metal oxidation is minimized regardless of scrap type.

Hence Recovery rate will be increased and typically 94% max recovery will be received. And the process causes 5% to 6% melt loss, depending on the existing method. If the system is operated properly as per designed layout and controlled Metallurgy process, consistent metal recoveries of 94 %-95% can be expected. And For maximum recovery, salt flux must be required.

Capacity of plant:

Any organization or Promoter person can start a new Business with this “Aluminium Recycling Process Plant” choosing various capacity from 300 kg/hr. to 5000 KG/Hr. Recycling Process.

This plant will be running 24X7 with pre decided output. The Financial Capacity of input material will be the deciding factor for Manufacturing Plant Capacity establishment.

Please click below for the Layout drawing and the Technical specs of the aluminum scrap/chip recycling plant by AFECO Industries:

Chip_Recycling_brochure new123

References:

1)”Chemical Principles, the Quest for Insight, 4th Edition”; Peter Atkins and Loretta Jones; 2008.

2) Waste Online: Metals-Aluminum Recycling.

3) International Development Research Center: Environmental Management in the Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminum Industry.

4) The Aluminum Association: Recycling One Can Saves the Energy Used to Watch the Superbowl.

5) EPA: Aluminum.

Mr. Prakash  Radhakrishna Maladkar is a mechanical engineer with around 22 years of experience as a design, manufacturing & marketing professional in the field of “Heating Systems & Equipment” and Foundry Industries & Metallurgy process control. At present, he works as the Managing Director of AFECO HEATING SYSTEMS and visits international and national clients regularly as an Aluminium Chip Processing Plant consultant.

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About Prakash Maladkar

Mr. Prakash Radhakrishna Maladkar is a mechanical engineer with wide experience as a design, manufacturing & marketing professional in the field of “Heating Systems & Equipment” and Foundry Industries & Metallurgy process control. At present he works as the Managing Director of AFECO HEATING SYSTEMS and visits international and national clients regularly as an Aluminium Chip Processing Plant consultant.

65 comments

  1. Akshay Soundade

    sir,
    we are planning to set up an aluminium recycling plant please in maharasthra please send us the following details
    what will be the total cost of plant?
    what is the cost of scrap and cost of finished product in present market?

  2. Narottam kumar

    Dear sir
    We are running a ssi unit in puri odisha. Please give the address and mob no of aluminium scrap dealer, who can supply us regularly at competitive price.
    Thanking you.

  3. Anele Collins Chidera

    Sir, I intend to start up a UBC aluminum recycling plant in a small industrial scale. Please guide me with details on machinery, power and other utilities for start up. Thank you.

  4. sunil

    Sir,I wish to start Aluminium ingot from aluminium scraps. Please give details investment cost & process.

  5. Ravi Kumar

    Requirement for africa market:
    Used aluminium beverage can recycling plant complete machines for whole production line.
    Used aluminium beverage can converted into fresh aluminium beverage can ready for refil.
    Please advise what is estimated cost, photos of machines, FOB price.
    Thanks and best regards.
    Ravi Kumar.
    Wiltex Limited.
    Hongkong.

  6. Vishal Srivastava

    Sir I m interested aluminium recycling small scale advance plant send me completely details

  7. Sunil

    sir,
    we are planning to set up an aluminium recycling plant please in maharasthra please send us the following details
    what will be the total cost of plant?
    what is the cost of scrap and cost of finished product in present market?

  8. Gibson Nakandaul

    Dear Sir, We have finance available to set up a recycling plant. Can you able to give us the total cost of the set up?

  9. Brijesh Agarwal

    Dear Sir,
    we are planning to set up an aluminium recycling plant in maharasthra please send us the following details
    what will be the total cost of plant?
    what is the cost of scrap and cost of finished product in present market?

  10. Archana

    Dear Sir,

    What are the pollutants emitted during
    (1)aluminium recycling of aluminium cans and sections (window frames)
    (2) Copper and brass recycling
    and in what concentrations?

    Thank you

  11. Recycling For Money Expert

    Indeed, there is nothing more efficient than the aluminum that can be recycled when it comes to metal recycling. If more people get informed on how to do it properly it not just saves money but can also help you for a solid monthly income our of recycling other people’s aluminum waste.

    Maybe you should add some upcycled ideas with aluminum in your post so the readers can actually see how easy and enjoyable it is.
    As for the recycling methods you’ve mentioned,I’ve never thought the technology of aluminum recycling is so complex…

  12. VIVEKANAND.SANGAPPA.GUNAKI

    We are interested to start aluminium recycling plant in Rabakavi, Tq : JAMAKHANDI DIST : BAGALKOT
    Please me Total investment for small scale aluminum recycling plant
    State : KARNATAKA MOBILE NO : 9480534916

  13. VIVEKANAND.SANGAPPA.GUNAKI

    WE ARE INTERESTED IN ALUMINIUM RECYCLING SMALL SCALE PLANT,
    PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS THE INVESTMENT,
    PLACE : RABAKAVI
    TQ : JAMAKHANDI,
    DIST : BAGALKOT,
    STATE : KARNATAKA,
    MOBILE NO : 9480534916

  14. Gautam Kothari

    Dear Sir,

    I am staying in Guwahati. There is a plant for manufacturing of Aluminium Ingots in a small town about 200 Km from Guwahati. I have seen that unit and it is following a very crude process. They manufacture using aluminium scrap, mainly utensils.

    I am interested in going for this unit, but I would prefer to go for efficient process as stated in your article.

    Please inform me -

    What should be the minimum optimum capacity of the plant?

    What will be total cost of project and working capital requirement?

    Please also inform me profitability of this project.

    How much covered and open space is required?

    What will be requirement of manpower?

    As I am planning to shift to Gujarat, where I intend to start some new business, if I start this plant in Gujarat, particularly Surat – How do you think this location is so far as availability of scrap is concerned and how near it is to the potential customers?

    If I wish to take your services as Consultant, how much will be your fees and what will be your scope of work?

    Please revert back on my email id gautamkothari@hotmail.com

  15. Vishal Rohamare

    How to search market for Aluminium ingots ,also guide us how to increase the recovery of aluminum from UBC and other aluminum scrap in a small foundry of capacity 500 kg par batch.

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