Metal Recycling Frequently Asked Questions

When you recycle scrap metal, you'll maximize your return on investment and get the most out of your metals - including chips, turnings, shaving and more - with a briquetter from Applied Recovery Systems.

The following list provides answers to the metal recycling questions we most receive most often from companies who want to learn more about the briquetting process. If your question isn't among them, please contact us! We'll respond promptly.

Why are briquettes more valuable than scrap metal chips?

By processing scrap metal into briquettes, it has a greater yield when recycled. Briquettes have several advantages for the melter (foundry or smelter) that translate into better value and more money. These advantages include:

  1. Removing and containing your coolant onsite increases the value of the metal in compact form. The processor adds labor, transportation or disposal fees for removing the coolant.
  2. Less surface area to oxidize and become slag. More than 85% of the briquette is submerged in the melt bath so the material does not have a chance to become slag. This typically produces yields of up to 96% - as opposed to 45 - 90% for clean and dry turnings.
  3. Briquettes are drier than chips from a chip wringer. When chips from even the best wringer are briquetted, there is still liquid to be pressed from the chips. Less liquid results in more value to the melter.
  4. Briquettes are easier to handle both in transporting to the furnace and once in the furnace. It is easier to pick up blocks rather than chips. Handling losses are lessened. In many cases, because chips are light, they can be pulled to the bag house rather than into the melt bath.
Is a binder required to hold the briquette together?

For most metals no binder is required to hold the briquette together. The briquette is produced with such force that the metal itself combines with the neighboring metal particles. There are a few "brittle" alloys that require a binder since the material breaks rather than yields. This is most common when processing nickel alloys.

Can I get a sample of my chips briquetted?

Yes. By sending a five (5) gallon sample to Applied Recovery Systems with freight pre-paid and an MSDS on the material, we'll run your material through our testing process. We'll prepare a proper Return On Investment analysis, as well as a quote for the required scrap metal processing equipment for your industry and application, including automotive metal stamping, metal casting or cutting, fabricating, finishing or recycling. Larger metal recycling samples (up to 40,000 pounds) may be processed for a nominal fee. Contact us for a quote.

How do I know if a briquetter is right for my company?

Companies briquette their scrap recycling metals for several reasons:

  1. Economic payback. Since most briquetted scrap metal is more valuable than turnings and chips, briquetting often provides a new source of revenue. By answering a few questions, we can help you determine if the economic payback will justify purchasing ARS scrap metal processing equipment. Often, the payback occurs in less than 18 months and sometimes in as little as three months. A general rule of thumb is that if you know your company is generating at least 200 pounds of chips/turnings per hour of aluminum, titanium, brass, copper, steel, cast iron, etc., then it is a project worth investigating. (We recommend that you check your scrap volumes. Sometimes they are higher than you think! To start this process call us at 1(800)577-3766 or fill out our contact form.
  2. Coolant Recovery. Scrap metal typically carries 20% to 30% of its weight in coolant, which costs the company money to replenish. This adds to the cost of transporting your metal. In addition to the cost, there is a potential liability associated with the shipment of coolant-laden chips. Many company's justification for the cost of ARS scrap metal processing equipment is based primarily on coolant recovery. Help your scrap processing company out, too, by eliminating the need for it to remove and dispose of the coolant.
  3. Scrap Accountability. With the recycling of metal that's briquetted, it is easier to determine the true weight of the scrap metal in comparison to determining the weight of chips. Additionally, the producer knows the moisture content and can in most cases eliminate deductions for moisture. While most scrap processors are fair, discrepancies can range from a 10% shortage to as much as 67%.
Can I use the coolant that is pressed out directly in my machine tools?

Not without additional processing. The coolant will contain small particles of the metal along with machine tool oil. We can provide you with a cost-efficient filtration and oil coalescing system with your metal extrusion process equipment that will prepare the coolant for re-use. These compact units remove the suspended solids and oils in a highly effective separations process and pump the fluid to your coolant storage tanks for re-use. Examples of these systems can be seen on the Coolant Recovery page.

Is liquid trapped in the briquettes?

The liquid is pressed out of the chips to the surface of the briquette. These briquettes are successfully being melted by smelters around the world without fear of trapped moisture.

What is the typical volume reduction?

By recycling metal scrap into briquettes, the volume reduction will vary depending on the length of the material and the type of chip. Typically the reduction is in the 8-to-1 range but can be as high as 45-to-1 and as low as 3-to-1, depending on the size of the material to be processed.

What materials can be briquetted?

To date, we have projects briquetting the following materials:

  • Aluminum turnings and chips
  • Aluminum clips from stampings
  • Aluminum powder
  • Brass turnings and chips
  • Cast iron borings
  • Copper chips from machining
  • Copper wire from copper wire chopping lines
  • Grinding swarf
  • Inconel
  • Magnesium turnings
  • Polycarbonate
  • Stainless steel chips
  • Steel chips
  • Tantalum
  • Titanium chips and turnings
What type of maintenance is required on this type of metal process equipment?

As standard on all hydraulic equipment, hoses, fittings, and o-rings need to be checked on a regular basis. Lubrication of the machine components is done as necessary, as well. When the integrity of the briquettes drops down, it may indicate that the tooling has worn and is due for a replacement. On a standard 1-shift operation, this tooling switch-out is annual to biannual, depending on the metal. As shift time increases, so too could the amount of changes in tooling. Most tooling is stocked at our plant in Waco, Texas.

Can Applied Recovery Systems provide buyers for briquettes?

We have established rapport with a number of reputable buyers and sellers of scrap metal. In most cases we have contacts willing to bid on your metal briquettes. If we do not have someone direct, we will offer direction as to where to turn for this option. Don't forget your current recycler, though. The company you work with will benefit from compressed metal, as well.

Is there , both national and international, for Applied Recovery Systems?

We have both national and international sales representatives. When selling to an "uncovered" market, we can and have done everything possible to ensure the distance does not significantly contribute to delayed support.