A feature of medium-sized businesses in Germany is their ability to continually identify new niches and successfully service them. GRUNSKE Metall - Recycling GmbH & Co. KG of Oranienburg recently commissioned a new plant for cleaning metals that have already run through sorting systems for domestic and industrial waste. Using a Querstromzerspaner supplied by MeWa, the company is able to operate a highly efficient system producing ferrous fractions with a high level of homogeneity.
For metal recycling businesses, however, a Berlin address places them in a highly competitive situation. All the big waste disposal operators are here. And medium-sized businesses are expected to show a great deal of creativity and willingness to innovate. 'We continually have to identify new niches in order to stay successful,' states Axel Sievers, special scrap division manager at Grunske, with the certainty of experience.
One such gap in the market was spotted by company founder, Klaus Grunske, who found the ideal partner for making his idea a reality in the South German recycling machinery supplier MeWa Recycling Maschinen und Anlagenbau GmbH. In the past, metal waste mixed up with plastics could only be resold at low prices, so Grunske's business set itself the task of finding suitable technol-ogy to be able to effectively sort the material in-house. The aim was to 'clean' the metal scrap. In other words, to separate the ferrous and non-ferrous components from the mixture of materials and recover them in extensively homogeneous form.
Based in the rural district of Oberhavel, the company has been handling metal separator waste from mechanical and biological recycling facilities, bulky household item recyclers and waste sort-ing plants for many years. In such plants, the metals are removed from the process by magnetic separators at a very early stage in order to protect the equipment used in the subsequent phases against excessive wear. But plastics and fabrics easily get caught on the pieces of wire and sharp-edged metal and so are extracted from the material flow along with the metals. On average, the metal component of the mixed waste supplied is about 60 to 70%.
For the past four years MeWa has done pioneering work in the metal waste separation sector, developing an improved version of the patented Querstromzerspaner QZ precisely for this application. The machine enables mixed materials to be efficiently separated with minimal wear to the equipment and was literally tailor-made for Grunske's requirements profile. 'The QZ has clear advantages over other types of machines and plant solutions,' states Axel Sievers in explanation of the reason for the innovative concept. 'It has no problem handling even heavy metal parts. Whereas a scrap mill would jam if large solid pieces were fed in.'
At the end of the building, a continuous flow of steel scrap and non-ferrous metals which is separated to an efficiency of 98% leaves the conveyor belt. The wheeled loader's throaty diesel revs up again as it shovels the shiny metal into the skips ready to be collected. The steel industry needs feeding continuously.