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What’s your return on engines and boxes?

JMC Engine Cracker at bitsatMicks
Mick demonstrates that you don't need to be a huge outfit to profit from the materials within your ELVs.
I met a great guy in Nottingham who may not have the biggest yard in the world but sure is making the most of every car that comes through his gate. The yard is ‘Bits at Micks’ and Mick’s focus is very much on the materials and not on the parts.



As he explained to me, “The vehicles I buy are end of life so the number of quality parts is limited. If you do sell them it’s so easy to be ripped off. Someone buys a cat to get their car through an MOT, then takes it off and puts the old one back on and claims it’s faulty. It’s bad enough when you sell direct but with eBay you have no choice but to refund. The buyer is always right no matter how dishonest his actions. I can do without it so I concentrate on making my money from the materials in those ELVs”.

The amount Mick processes is impressive, he granulates his looms to separate the copper, he removes all the aluminium air con pipes and bales them, does the same with aluminium and copper radiators, even any copper brake pipes. Naturally all the starters and alternators (and any other motors) are also separated.

He has plenty of equipment on his very busy site and his latest acquisition is a JMC Engine Cracker. He previously had an old engine breaker but it was on its last legs and he saw the engine cracker at CARS 2014. Mick said, “I have dealt with McIntyre before and with them being in the same town they have always been great on service and helping with any modifications to suit my requirements. When I saw the cracker being put through its paces I knew that it had the potential to earn a lot of money over the coming years”.

For those of us who like the facts and figures, the cracker has a crushing force of 120 tonnes, letting you break between 3 and 5 tonnes of engines and gearboxes per hour. It can also handle electric motors and alloy wheels and can be supplied either as electric or diesel. Mick went for diesel as he has no 3 phase on his site. He does have a generator but it’s easier if it has its own power source. The constant upgrading of equipment by manufacturers means power consumption just goes up and up and you can easily come unstuck if you rely on your electrical supply.

Getting the ali as clean as possible means the use of a picking belt. “You can use an overband to pull of the ferrous but it’s surprising the amount of ali that comes off with it. If you hand pick you then put those ferrous parts that have ali still attached back into the hopper to run through with the next batch of engines so you end up with just cast aluminium”, Mick explained.

McIntyre’s (previously JMC) have carried out a couple of modifications since he installed the cracker which included a chute beneath the unit to direct any oils into a drip tray and a guard to protect the control panel. He is still commissioning the unit so couldn’t give me accurate production figures but he did point out the difference between the price of whole engines and the price for cast aluminium. One negative point he had was the limited number of buyers for the aluminium due to the ‘dirty’ nature of it - maybe there’s an opportunity for a small cleaning plant to wash the metal after separating!

Mick showed me the other processes on the site including his cable granulation - I think we’ll take a look at this in a separate article in a month or two. What did come over loud and clear was that he intended to make the most of those ELVs coming in to his yard.

On a more worrying note, he told me of the grief he was having with the environment agency over an area of land he wants included in his site licence. I don’t want to go into the ins and outs of it but we really are in a sad state when there are so many illegals out there and the EA are hell bent on making life hard for those who are doing their best to play by the rules - come on EA, pick on the real villains!

September 2014

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