[Article from ScrapBook Autumn 2011]
Francisco Alberich S.A. is a traditional scrap dealer handling mainly ferrous and non-ferrous scrap material. The company is active in industrial demolition, scrap metal, waste management and recovery, industrial and environmental engineering, and the international trade in ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The company started business in the recovery branch 111 years as Brígida Vilalta, and is today one of the most important recycling companies in Spain; Francisco Alberich S.A. In 2003, Francisco Alberich decided to start a combined recycling business for the processing of cables, aluminium and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment).
Looking for a solution
As veterans of the industry, Francisco Alberich already had a clear idea of what they where looking for; a complete system for processing copper cables, aluminium and electronic waste.
The cable input was to be mixed dry cables (e.g. communication wire, copper wire and mixed household wire). The aluminium input was also expected to be mixed (die-cast, profiles etc.). The process input capacity needed to be about 2.5 tons per production hour, i.e. 250 tons cable and 150 tons aluminium per month. WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) input contains mixed electronic waste (e.g. computers, small home appliances and other electronic scrap).
It was considered vital that changes in the equipment required to switch the recycling process from e.g. cable to aluminium should be kept to a minimum.
As Francisco Alberich had already had business dealings for other equipment with Recycling Equipos, S.L., this was a natural starting point for them. Recycling Equipos is Eldan’s Spanish representative, so this was their introduction to Eldan’s recycling solutions.
Trusting the best solution
Finding the best equipment solution takes time and careful research. “When we selected Eldan as our supplier, we weren’t looking for a specific machine, but instead for a concept, an idea, a complete process that would fit our project and goals. When making such an important decision, one that affects the current situation as well as the future for our company, many arguments were taken into account, and we compared several solutions and offerings” says Rafael Martínez, technical manager at Francisco Alberich. “Naturally, the manufacturer’s experience of the industry, as well as their reputation were very important to us. The fact that Eldan specialised in metal recycling and understood our project very well was also important. Having dealt with many suppliers over the years, we place great value on the company’s competence, i.e. the technical and sales staff, the after-sales department, as well as the company’s whole philosophy. The professionalism and experience at Eldan and Recycling Equipos are remarkabl, which is why we opted for this solution.”
In the summer of 2006, Francisco Alberich acquired a specially designed Eldan plant for the downsizing, granulation and separation of cable, aluminium and WEEE. The plant included a Super Chopper (SC1412), a Heavy Pre-Granulator (HPG165), an Overband Magnet, an Eddy Current Separator (ECS), a Silo (V4), a Heavy Granulator (HG169), a Silo (SMV), a Separation Table (C22), a Fine Granulator (FG952), a Separation Table (C15) and a Water Separation System (WST). In 2007, a Tumble Back Feeder was added to the plant. This machine ensures a continuous flow into the Heavy Pre-Granulator, thus ensuring optimum machine load/utilization.
Processing cable, aluminium and WEEE scrap
As various input materials differ greatly from each other, they also have different input capacities. The plant can be run for a single daily shift (approx. 170 hours per month), but this can also be increased to two or three shifts a day.
Dry cable and wire of various shapes and sizes are the easiest of these material types to process. The Super Chopper processes this input at 3-8 tons per production hour, while the granulation and separation plant allow the processing of 250 tons per production month. The metal purity of the output is 99,5%.
Aluminium scrap can vary in processing difficulty (die-cast items, extrusions, profiles, sheets, window frames, baled UBC’s etc). Generally, the Super Chopper will process the input material at 3-5 tons per production hour. The granulation and separation plant can process 150 tons of input material per production month. Aluminium scrap with printing leaves the plant 97% free of paint.
Electronic scrap (WEEE input) with a maximum Fe-size of 1,5-2 mm is the most difficult of the three input types to process. The Super Chopper processes the material at 2-4 tons per production hour, and the granulation and separation lines process it at 2 tons per production hour.
No major adjustments or modifications are required when switching between cable, aluminium and WEEE recycling. When processing cable however, the Eddy Current Separator is not used.
Reputation breeds success
The Spanish market is not a new one for Eldan, who had already sold their first cable plant in the Barcelona area in the 1970’s. Since then, almost 40 plants and many more individual machines have been sold in the region. It’s a well-known fact that most others want to follow in the steps of a winner. “There are many recyclers in Spain who already have a single machine or a complete processing plant from Eldan. In our business, it’s very common to take a look at the competition and then try to copy and improve what they’re doing. This is why Eldan always ranks highly on the list of potential suppliers when a company is in the market for a new plant, be it for recycling tyres, WEEE or non-ferrous materials in general. Lately, we’ve been hearing rumours about the great performance of their machines when processing “waste to energy” materials, also like MSW (Municipal Solid Waste)” says Rafael. “Eldan has a very good reputation and is very well regarded in the Spanish recycling industry. This is largely due to he efficient sales and after-sales provided by their Spanish agent Recycling Equipos. Together with their mother company Industrias Hidráulicas S.A., Recycling Equipos has a wide network and a great reputation in the industry all over Spain, and internationally as well, which is a great advantage.”
When making a major investment that your business is going to be relying on, it is vital that you can trust the support you wi’ll be getting from the supplier. “The attention from product management and the support from Eldan’s after-sales division has been crucial for the smooth running and profitability of our plant. The truth is that they’ve helped us a lot, and they’ve cleared up many of the problems we’ve had in processing the materials we handle.Thanks to their advice and answers to the questions we’ve had, we’ve been able to improve the productivity and efficiency of our process” says Rafael. “When acquiring a large and advanced recycling system like this one, it’s going to take time to learn and understand the machines. As a user you need to adopt a good working philosophy and strict maintenance discipline.”
Even though the centralised support is important, minor issues can often be handled locally. “Our relationship with Recycling Equip os is pleasant and rewarding. They show genuine interest in our production and our equipment. We have an open, two-way communication with them, and whenever we have questions we always get a prompt answer from them. We’ve received good advice and solutions for minor, everyday problems, which can still be tricky to solve sometimes” says Rafael. “To sum up, they are great representatives for first-class products such as Eldan’s.”
"The attention from product management and the support from Eldan’s after-sales division has been crucial for the smooth running and profitability of our plant...” Rafael Martínez. technical manager
The close relationship between Recycling Equipment and its customers is a key factor for success. Marcos Clavel, Sales Manager at Recycling Equipos comments; “Alberich is a really good reference customer, but above all they’re really nice people who always make us feel at home when we visit them. This makes it very easy for us to recommend what we honestly believe is the best solution for them, even if that might mean losing an order. Trust is the most important factor in business.”
“In short, our relation with Eldan has been very positive so far. Everyone has learnt from everyone else, and we’ve reached our goals, as well as a bit more” says Rafael. ”We trust that we’ll be able to continue this way, and as I’m sure our business will always need quality equipment and recycling techniques, we trust that Eldan will be there to provide us with good solutions.”