Averaging over 10,000 pounds of aluminum chips per month, Production Engineering identified that their scrap chips were causing problems. They had an overall lack of control of their scrap metal, potential environmental issues, lost factory space, additional freight cost, lost coolant, and unrealized value in their scrap metal. Clint Emmert, Vice President of Manufacturing noted “In the past we would fill up a chip bin once a day and we were charged $100.00 for pickup. We had no idea of the chip weight amount and we felt we received less money for the chips compared to today’s standards.”
There was also one unexpected issue identified by Mr. Emmert, “Theft was occurring; we caught two women in our outdoor chip bin the weekend before Christmas shoveling aluminum chips into pillow cases to take home and sell to the local recycler for money to purchase Christmas presents. We believed this had been going for a long time, but had no way of proving it.”
To resolve these issues, Production Engineering evaluated their options and decided to invest in a chip briquetting system. Their goal was to take back control of their scrap metal issues and create long term advantages for the business.
Production Engineering Corporation was established in 1957 as a contract manufacturer in Minneapolis, MN. Over the last fifty years, Production Engineering has grown and developed to service a variety of markets including Aerospace, Defense, Electronics, Communications and Off Highway equipment.
In support of this growth, they have in this time been able to expand their technical capability to offer customers services in Computer Aided Design, machining, sheet metal fabrication, welding, painting, assembly and a full quality control system all housed in their 66,000 square foot facility.
The advantages of briquetting were clear, they could take their scrap metal directly to the briquetter and save space while still keeping the briquettes indoors. They could also reclaim lost coolants while increasing the value of the material and improving their working environment.
Production Engineering also wanted to ensure they were getting a fair price for their chips and wanted to ensure that when the metal left the facility, they had accurate tonnage weights for their briquetted metal. In addition, to ensure maximum return from their recycler, their briquettes had to have a moisture content of less than 3%.
To achieve these requirements, Production Engineering chose a Command briquetter from John Hart USA. Since installation their machine has consistently handled their briquette output and moisture content targets. The machine which is manufactured in Minnesota is state of art. It features heavy duty, reliable and efficient performance, with a simple to use control system and a range of automatic functions to ensure maximum uptime.
Even though the Command series machines comes standard with an automatic briquette output counter, Production Engineering went the next step and added a scale system in front of the machine to weigh their briquettes prior to shipping. Every shipment Production Engineering’s recycler sends them an email detailing the tonnage received for each shipment. Mr. Emmert commented on how close the recorded weights matched the recycler’s data each shipment.
Looking at some other key areas in focus:
- Coolant recovery: Production Engineering reclaims a large amount of coolant during the briquetting process. Hoppers at their machines collect the metal chips from the conveyors and excess cnc coolant is collected from each hopper before the chips are dumped into the Command briquetter. Mr. Emmert commented that “the Command metal briquetter from John Hart USA doesn’t change the physical properties of the coolant like some briquetting machines on the market today. This is a very important benefit, being able to reclaim and recycle our cnc coolant, further reducing our coolant cost each year.”
- Space saving: Mr. Emmert noted that “The metal briquetter itself doesn’t look like a piece of agricultural equipment, it’s a nice clean, self-contained, good looking piece of highly engineered equipment. In addition the full machine enclosure significantly reduces operating noise, you can stand right next the machine while it’s running and be able to speak in a normal tone – carry on a normal conversation. This allowed us to locate the machine in our warehouse, which is very quiet area of the factory.”
- Reliability: Looking at machine reliability, Mr. Emmert noted “Installation, Service, and Training have been a key to the success of the program. Reliability of the machine has been outstanding; we’re very pleased with products and services received from John Hart USA, located in Centerville, MN.”
The Command metal chip briquetter from John Hart USA has helped keep Production Engineering’s shop clean, quiet, and organized, while enabling them to reclaim their trapped coolant, increase revenue on scrap metal chips, and reducing shipping costs. Additionally, by internally processing their chips and coolant, Production Engineering are able to reduce their EPA exposure.