Necessity is indeed the mother of invention and in the United States, where manufacturers who rely on steel for their production have seen costs escalate in the last several years, the mother of invention is anyone who can hasten an economy of savings when it comes to this vital raw material.
This is where recycling comes into play and having a key role in precipitating this activity for industries is General Kinematics, makers of a variety of vibratory machinery and creator of the De-Stoner(tm) and Finger Screen(tm) vibrating machines that present better overall efficiencies and safer environmental characteristics.
They represent two state-of-the-art advances that are in the right place in the right time. Expansion in China and other regions, points out Marketing Manager Tom Musschoot, has created a huge demand for scrap metal as a way to save overall on costs. And it seems industry statistics bear out his point: According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc., last year, the estimated value of scrap materials produced topped $30 billion. Two out of every three pounds of new steel produced in the United States is currently made from ferrous scrap. Approximately 60 percent of the metals and alloys produced in North America are made from nonferrous scrap, and over 40 percent of the paper industry’s needs are met through the use of scrap paper.
Further, ISRI states, last year in the United States alone, scrap recyclers handled more than 130 million tons of recyclables destined for domestic use and overseas markets. This tonnage included approximately:
• 70 million tons of scrap iron and steel
• 60 million tons of scrap paper and paperboard
• 4.1 million tons of scrap aluminum
• 1.5 million tons of scrap copper
• 1.1 million tons of scrap stainless steel
• 1.4 million tons of scrap lead
• 248,000 tons of scrap zinc
• 3.5 million tons of scrap glass or cullet (beverage containers only)
• 300,000 tons of scrap plastic (beverage containers only)
• 56 million scrap tires
To help facilitate such enormous recycling activity is the company’s single knife De-Stoner(tm) that performs separation and classification for a wide range of recycled materials including MSW (municipal solid waste) and other commingled materials, ASR (auto shredder residue) C/D (construction/demolition waste) bio-mass fuel and RDF fuel.
The system offers energy-efficient vibratory action and high-velocity, low-pressure air streams that work together to fluidize and stratify commingled materials according to differences in terminal particle velocity. Air curtains provide further separation after the initial cut of the heavy particles. The result is fast, efficient removal of heavy materials such as stones, metallics, and glass from lightweight materials such as aluminum, paper, plastics and wood.
The dry de-stoner system eliminates the need for a water supply and other attendant “wet” system problems and has wide range of application engineered options, including base mounted blower, air knives, curtains, and fluidized decks.
The company’s patented non-binding Finger Screen(tm) design concept for resource recycling has been a boon to a range of applications that are prone to hang-ups common to conventional wire perforated mesh screening surfaces. Typical scrap and resource recycling applications include glass, metal and plastic from commingled MSW; recyclable metal from mass burn bottom ash; “hog” or biomass fuel preparation to remove stones and non-combustibles; non-ferrous metals in ASR, metal, wood, brick, and concrete from C/D; stringy bark from logging or wood lot cleanup and virtually any mixed bulk material.
The simple jam-proof movement of its unique finger screen delivers highly efficient separation and classification. The unit’s vibrating motion spreads material evenly across the deck for maximum separating efficiency. Multiple size separating decks enhance classification while staggered finger positions help to prevent material bypass. Separation performance is enhanced as material freely moves through the unit with less “trapping.” The result is fast, smooth continuous material flow throughout the entire separation and classification process.
GK’s Finger Screen works better and costs less when compared to rotary trommel or disc type screening equipment, explains Musschoot, because it does not “fluff” or increase the material volume of paper or other lightweight materials. In addition there is no periodic production interruptions to move wound material common to rotating or disc classification equipment. This machine can also be custom engineered for specific applications, with a wide range of finger deck designs and materials, including abrasion or corrosion resistant alloys.
“These are our key products in the recycling industry,” says Musschoot. “We are the only company that makes a density separator like the De-Stoner that uses air and vibration to separate materials,” which is much better than traditional separation methods such as water, which may carry chemicals into the environment.
These systems have helped to further the position of General Kinematics, Crystal Lake, Ill., which has become the leading supplier of vibratory process equipment and solutions. The company was founded by Musschoot’s grandfather Albert in 1960, who had worked for a competing vibratory machinery company and decided to strike out on his own. The company’s current CEO, Albert’s son Paul Musschoot, has helped grow and develop the business, turning its focus from a primarily domestic company to a global organization. With 45 years of experience, General Kinematics is known as pioneer and a supplier of choice in industries that include chemical, coal and mining, food, foundry, glass, minerals, paper and pulp, petroleum, pharmaceutical, power plant, recycling and scrap, rubber, tobacco, wood and controls.
The company’s recycling systems have solved problems around the globe. For a regional U.S. recycler of construction and demolition material that required a more efficient processing solution for separation of waste materials, the company’s Engineered Solutions Group worked with other suppliers to create “a highly efficient system, which separates heavy and light aggregate at 500 cubic yards per hour with reduced manpower, more than doubling capacity.
“When we work with customers,” Musschoot explains, “they’re not getting a standard piece of equipment but a specific solution designed according to what they need.”
Cool new products
General Kinematics is set to again revolutionize the foundry industry with its Spira-Cool(tm) casting cooling spirals that save space and reduce foundation and maintenance costs. The company’s patent pending air chamber design cools castings efficiently and quietly. The spirals design shuffles castings in an oriented path with no casting damage. An added bonus is the addition of sand collection built into the deck, which is deposited to a single removal conveyor. The casting cooling spiral operates with one-third the horsepower requirements over competitive designs with no vibration transmitted into surrounding areas.
Another product that has helped to advance General Kinematics’ position is the VIBRA-DRUM(r) grinding mill, proven in dozens of milling applications in the chemical, food ingredient and pharmaceutical industries. Grinding processors are achieving impressive energy savings (35-50 percent), thanks to a unique rotational material motion that is more efficient than conventional ball or rotary mills. New processes such as micron grinding, grinding food, fiberglass processing, and mechano-chemical grinding give customers a unique and effective competitive advantage.
The Vibra-Drum can be used for processes other than grinding. It has been used to process fiberglass, mix product components, clean castings, and other processes. It offers high reduction ratios with grinding throughput to 10 tons per unit for fine grinds for 8- mesh to low micron sizes. Most important: GK’s non-rotating drum design simplifies the installation of feed and discharge systems and facilitates in-process inspection.
The VIBRA-DRUM proved its worth recently when a candy maker needed a process to give customers more perfect candy pieces. According to the company’ case study: “Rejected material needed to be recycled and reused with a stringent focus on blending with fresh final product pieces.” VIBRA-DRUM’s process enabled the manufacturer to reclaim the rejects and improve the aesthetic presentation and quality of the final products.
Full service provider
In addition to its vast spectrum of products, GK also offers an assortment of services, which include troubleshooting problems with GK vibratory equipment or any other competitor’s equipment; installation of new equipment, start-up of new equipment, overseeing modifications/design enhancements within the field to ensure they go as planned, and a component sales and service department who helps keep all of GK’s equipment up and running. The company also offers vibration analysis and troubleshoots vibration problems within an industrial environment on GKC equipment or any other non-GK vibratory process equipment.
To facilitate its customers’ needs for service and replacement parts, GK’s component sales and service department is positioned to provide immediate help for its customers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. GK has a full service staff that is able to respond to a customer’s call anywhere in the world within 24 hours, and a component parts department that can ship in stock replacement parts the same day they are ordered, minimizing customer downtime. Records on every piece of equipment sold by General Kinematics are kept to ensure that the replacement parts requested are exactly what their customers need.
Through all this activity the company has witnessed 10 percent growth a year since around 2002. Expansion in China and the growth of the recycling market will no doubt further its march upward, especially when considering the volumes associated with industrial recycling: According to the ISRI, there is the potential for at least 70 million tons of ferrous scrap to be shredded, sheared, baled, crushed, briquetted, broken, and torched on an annual basis. “This capacity,” the ISRI reports, “is reflected in multi-billion dollar investments by the industry in land, building, and equipment. Today, the scrap recycling industry in the United States, and in many parts of the world, is a sophisticated, capital-intensive industry preparing millions of tons of scrap for reuse each and every year.”
It is a field, like others, in which GK will show its aptitude for handling delicate and critical problems. Explains Musschoot: “We help our customers with solutions to their toughest process problems, providing them with ways to do things better, with significant payback.”