Most people expect breakers yards to be a bit chaotic, but they run some of the neatest vacuum cleaners in the country.
Everyone’s familiar with those giant electromagnets that lift cars and the hydraulic presses into which they’re eventually dropped. But this high-tech industry has other tricks up its sleeves. Next, those compressed bales are shredded and passed beneath the inlet of a vacuum conveyor that takes up all the lighter materials. The remainder goes to metal separators that use magnetic and flotation methods.
Basically, every material in your scrapped vehicle, from glass to foam padding, from rubber hoses to the tennis sock you left down the back of the passenger seat, is conveyed away for recycling one way or another, and there is little waste. Ninety five percent of a vehicle is safely salvaged and recycled, and vacuum conveyors are important for reaching that target.
Authorised treatment facilities
Breakers who receive vehicles from insurance companies and the scrappage scheme, are heavily regulated to ensure green recycling principles. Many in the industry complain they’ve always recycled to the max anyway, it is how their industry works, but to receive end-of-life vehicles (ELV) they must become registered as ATFs.
Different parts are subject to a variety of different reclamation processes and standards. Oil and oil filters have their own requirements, waste electrical and electronic equipment has to be treated in another to qualify for WEEE accreditation. Wiring looms are sent to Africa or China for stripping and separation. Ford operates a scheme to encourage engine recycling, and engineering group GKN operates one for driveshafts.
Whilst separating metal components is relatively easy, the remaining 25 percent is considerably more difficult. It consists of plastics, fibreglass, rubber, carbon fibres and composites. Some are recyclable while others are not, but vacuum conveyors are an ideal tool to begin the extraction process. By conveying materials away with minimum hazardous spillage and waste they help companies meet those accreditation targets. Pneumatic conveying specialists like http://www.aptech.uk.com/pneumatic-conveying/vacuum-conveying/ happily advise reclamation companies on their options.
As oil prices recover, and environmental targets get tighter, recycled organic materials acquire increased value. Diesel engines are already being discouraged and industry experts predict a flood of electric cars from China in the near future. There could soon be a sharp increase of internal combustion engines waiting to be safely conveyed away.