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Processing your CATs in-house

JMC CAT Guillotine
Machines such as JMC's CAT Guillotine may be a good route to increasing your profits but you will need enough volume.
We previously looked at the role of the merchant for processing your CATs. This issue we look at the potential of processing CATs in-house and ask if it could increase your profits?

Before we go any further, it is worth considering how many CATS you need to process to make de-canning worth considering. A deciding factor here is the amount of ceramic substrate (the material collected from within the CATs) you need for the major processors to deal with you. For example, BASF operate a minimum volume of 100kg (others have even higher minimum volumes). The average CAT has just over 1kg of substrate so that means around 100 CATs worth. Another factor to consider is that the merchant will usually pay on collection whereas the processors will demand standard payment terms.

So, how many CATs do you handle? Do you have a local market to buy from other auto dismantlers and ATFs? Have you the space to fit the equipment? And the big one; looking at the price of the machinery and the added return from selling the substrate direct, is it worthwhile? We have listed some contact points at the bottom to help you answer these questions.

One auto recycler who recently installed cat de-canning in-house told us they were currently running controlled samples, but have not yet sold any materials. From their calculations they are anticipating and uplift in value of 25 to 30% after allowing for labour and transportation. They did stress that it’s early days and we shall check back with them in a few months to see how it’s going.
So what’s involved?
In simple terms, cut the CAT in half and collect the contents. Then, send the contents off to a processor. Naturally, there is a little more too it than that and the number of outlets for the substrate is limited. Also, the material prices can fluctuate substantially as all commodities do.

JMC Recycling Systems Ltd (who also supply Vortex Depollution equipment), offer a range of Cat processing plant which mainly revolves around their McIntyre shears, catering for both small and large operations. They recently launched a new CAT processing system called the CAT Guillotine (shown above) which is designed to allow high volumes of catalytic converters to be cut up and the contents removed. Safety has been the main priority with all cutting actions take place within a fully guarded and fume free environment; the operator has no access to a cutting blade.

JMC has taken two years developing the CAT Guillotine. A CAT is placed inside the cutting chamber. The operator then closes a Perspex door and presses two start buttons located on each side of the chamber. The cutting blade cannot move unless the door is closed so the operator is totally protected. Once the catalytic converter is cut in two, the operator can open the chamber door. With the blade still guarded in the down position, the converter can be opened up using the top of the blade assembly. The cutting chamber is filtered so the operator is also protected from dust and fume. The Cat Guillotine can be supplied with or without a gantry, and as single or double systems.

The Cat Guillotine can process a CAT every 30 seconds. In trials JMC have processed between 40 and 50 catalytic converters in a 30 minute period on a single guillotine system with gantry. If that’s a bit keen for your requirement, then as we said before, they do a comprehensive range of CAT processing systems to suit the demands of smaller operations as well.

Another supplier to the market is Crow Environmental. Their unit also uses a guillotine to cut the CAT and then squash the can to crush the inner core, allowing the extraction of the valuable substrate. The material is stored in a 45 gal drum mounted under the work table.

The Guillotine is fully interlocked to meet European and American HSE requirements. The whole process is done within a dust extraction hood ensuring every grain of dust is recovered. Due to it’s design, there is no need for high level working platforms or tented areas. A pulveriser is available as an optional extra for those wanting to minimize their shipping volume.

If you think expanding into CAT de-canning may be of interest then talk to the companies below but also see if there are any operators locally who you can go and have a chat to.

BASF website
Crow website
JMC website
June 2013

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