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The technology required to recover light metals is becoming more and more complex. Bameta, a company in which TSR owns a share, has been making important progress in this area, helping to set the course for the future. The company has built a state-of-the-art recycling facility in the south German city of Buchloe. This plant not only fulfils the highest of standards, it also addresses the major challenges of aluminium recycling and has introduced some innovative solutions.
Nowadays, scrap recyclers are having to face new conditions: on the one hand, the volume of materials is increasing as devices are being exchanged for newer products at an ever faster pace. On the other hand, the composition and the share of recyclable materials in the fractions are changing. Ever greater efforts are, for example, being made to use lighter materials in products and the range of substances used is also growing. At the same time, greater numbers of composite materials are being installed in devices. The result is a greater share of mixed batches of substances which are unable to be separated according to type. Fewer and fewer materials can, therefore, be recovered that can be sent straight back to the smelting plants.
Good news for the climate: this innovative method of recycling aluminium uses approx. 40 times less energy than producing it from bauxite
Increasingly, more sophisticated technology and more intensive processes must be employed to make it possible for recyclable materials to be re-used. Aluminium, in particular, must be carefully sorted and cleaned before it can be sent back for smelting. It is very difficult to thermally clean aluminium due to its high affinity for oxygen and its low melting point. Aluminium smelting facilities, however, have set very high standards in this area. Often just a single digit after the decimal point is sufficient for the material not to meet the quality criteria.
The key advantages of Bameta’s recycling facility: its extended treatment capabilities and the fact that volumes can be bundled together
Bameta, a specialist in recycling light metals, is a subsidiary of TSR Recycling, a company belonging to the REMONDIS Group. One of Bameta’s main specialties is treating polluted aluminium scrap. To be able to do this, the company has developed its own special process which addresses current and future requirements regarding the changing composition of scrap and takes the specific demands of processing aluminium into account. Thanks to this innovative process, the company is able to recover high quality fractions which can be returned straight away to production cycles. For the most part, remelting is no longer necessary.
All types of composite materials are treated at Bameta’s facility. Besides aluminium scrap, input materials also include light iron scrap and intermediate fractions from processing facilities. The treatment process consists of a number of different stages. Depending on the material, it is cut up, screened and sorted according to electrical conductivity, shape, colour and density. A comprehensive quality assurance system is in place that includes samples being taken and analysed in the facility’s own laboratory during the actual treatment process. Up-todate information about filling levels and production data are recorded in real time during the production process. Moreover, stocks are checked and monitored online.
Bameta has developed a novel process to recycle aluminium
Whilst planning and building the plant, focus was put on the future requirements and measures needed to guarantee the most effective protection of the environment.
One of the challenges here is the different batch sizes and contents which arrive at irregular intervals and differ from region to region. As each batch has its own special requirements, the treatment process becomes more complicated with different types of technology and different settings having to be employed. Bameta, however, has found a suitable solution for this problem, too. Specific ”formula” have been entered into its state-of-the-art control system which can then be called up and used whenever required. This cuts out the timeconsuming task of resetting machinery in the facility, enables products to be swapped quickly and ensures the final product is always of the same high quality.
Bameta’s recycling plant was commissioned in the middle of March and is an example of one of the strategically important investments made by TSR. Approximately 15,000 tonnes of material are expected to pass through the facility during its first year of operations. Capacity will then be steadily increased after this period. Indeed, plans are to run a two-shift operation and have reached the 30,000t mark by the end of the following year. Christian Hein, plant manager at Bameta GmbH, commented: ”The classic scrap trade is currently undergoing a change. Thanks to our new facility, we can already provide an answer today to the questions of tomorrow.”
Christian Hein, Plant Manager at Bameta GmbH, (right) and his colleague, Herbert Mühlbach, are already planning the first steps to begin extending the plant's capacity