It’s a fact that every machine shop needs to manage scrap metal chips to some degree, and when they accumulate in large volumes, the problem becomes where to store them. In the metal processing industry, there are often mountains of very long, spiral or sharp-edged shavings and chips. These are collected in containers which are sold as scrap to be recycled.
Consider a company with 70 metal lathes in operation, and a central shredder to handle the steady stream of stringy metal chips. Six to seven times a day machine operators would need to leave their core business tasks to transport chip containers to the shredder. This means that in addition to an operator’s regular work, they are pushing chip containers around, resulting in a loss of revenue.
Chip management becomes an unavoidable job when utilizing a centralized shredder setup, alternatively if a localized shredder setup is used, in which shredders are attached directly to the lathes, the volume of chips can be reduced by up to 92 percent. This setup not only removes the need for metal chip storage, but also reduces the amount of residual oil and lubricants in the chips, considerably increasing their value when sold on as scrap.
With certain chip types, there is risk of CNC machine damage if the chip bin becomes too full and the machine chip conveyor begins to draw chips back inside the machine. The costly consequence of this is a standstill that could last several hours while the chip backlog and machine is reset.
It also removes any risk of operator’s hand compacting chips in the bins, which operators have a tendency to do as they try to create more room, which can cause cuts and lacerations to hands and arm as they push down into the bin.
Even in a narrow space, there is still room for compact shredders
Erdwich’s most powerful locally attached compact shredder can process up to 300kg of chips per hour. Using a cutter, which can have one, two, or three spindles, depending on the model and application scenario, collects the chippings and cuts them down until the desired size is reached.
It then falls through the sieve positioned beneath the shredder into the container. These machines are very compact and can be installed in restrictive environments. The cutting blades in the single-spindle cutters employ overcut, which means that the material in the cutter is distributed evenly and stringy chips are unable to wind themselves around the cutting rotor.
Shredding is highly effective in removing oil and lubricant residue from chips
Chip shredding increases operational safety, since oil and emulsions often stick to the shavings, liquid residues can occasionally drip onto the floor creating a slippery surface. This can be a significant hazard to workers. However, after passing through the Erdwich shredders, the material is suitable for further processing. For example, a centrifuge can be positioned after the shredder, which can be used to clean the metal chips. This not only means that they are more attractive to chip-scrap dealers but the absence of oil means that the truck transportation no longer constitutes a potential environmental hazard. The cost-intensive coolants and lubricants obtained from the centrifuge can be reprocessed and reused – another area in which businesses can save money.
With the introduction of a non-centralized shredder setup, workers can concentrate on profit generating activities rather than sharing their focus with chip management, saving time and money, making the business more profit in the long run.