Upstate Shredding LLC, New York State’s largest scrap metal processor, and one of the largest privately held scrap metal processors on the East Coast, is in the final stages of completing a $25 million upgrade to its Owego, N.Y., plant.
“Industry experts tell us that there are few, if any other plants in the world that have achieved our level of technical sophistication in the maximum recovery of metals from the waste stream and in environmental responsibility,” said Adam Weitsman, company president.
Innovations at Upstate included the enclosure of the 200,000 sq. ft. Owego complex with an anticipated 2009 scrap production for all metal grades of approximately 700,000 tons. Most plants of this type operate machinery outdoors where rain runs off metal residue to contaminate soil and water supplies. By walling and roofing the facility, installing a new storm-sewer system and an onsite water treatment plant, the goal of Upstate Shredding is to exceed the high standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and become the first “green” plant of its type in the state.
“At a time when many businesses are retrenching, we are investing in the future. This new technology gives us a competitive advantage that is already helping to grow our business despite the economy,” said Weitsman.
Inside the plant, which shreds autos, appliances and all types of scrap metal, the company has, and is in the process of adding several new, advanced metal recovery technologies, including:
• A 10,000 hp (7,454 kW) Riverside Engineering 122 in. (310 cm) Mega Shredder. This new generation machine can shred complete automobiles, trucks and motor blocks at the rate 450 tons (408 t) per hour. It is equipped with the latest electronics, such as cruise-control and automatic feed adjustments to increase productivity and reduce energy consumption. Weighing more than 500 tons (453 t), the new machine nearly doubles Upstate’s Owego production capacity.
• A polishing drum magnet system that automatically removes electric motors containing copper armatures from vehicles and eliminates the dangerous, inefficient practice of hand-picking motors from fast moving conveyor belts. It results in virtually total recovery of these types of motors and improves worker safety.
• Four dynamic ferrous metal separation systems — using eddy current technology they segregate nonferrous metals like aluminum, copper and brass from ferrous metals such as iron and steel.
• Dual-energy x-ray separator system — identifies metal particles by atomic density and segregates aluminum from heavier metals, such as zinc, copper and brass.
• Six sandjet dry heavy media plants — a new technology that removes copper from aluminum.
• Optic color sorters to separate yellow metals from red metals — each unit uses several ultra high-speed, high-resolution video cameras. Images of metals traveling on a conveyor belt go to a computer that analyzes metals by shape and color to trigger automatic separation.
• An $8 million dollar wire recovery system, a new, breakthrough method that is revolutionizing the recovery of copper wire encased in plastic insulation. This technology recovers small diameter wires found in autos and appliances that was previously uneconomical to recycle and went to landfills. It uses inductive metal detection combined with near-infrared scanning to remove wires from the waste stream, separates insulation from copper and granulates copper into a pure commodity.
“Our next goal is to recover glass and plastic as soon as we can find the technology to do it efficiently. Our corporate mission is to extract the last ounce of value from the materials we process, not only to keep material out landfills, but also to help conserve natural resources,” Weitsman concluded.
Upstate’s sister company Ben Weitsman & Son have scrap operations in Owego, Binghamton and Ithaca. Upstate is building a new facility in Syracuse and planning another in Scranton, Pa., both set to open in 2010. From its own feeder system and from scrap dealers in Canada and the United States, vehicle bodies and other scrap metal is sent to the Owego mega-shredder for processing. Recovered metal commodities are marketed both domestically and around the world.
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