Standing the test of time

When scrap metals recycling company Recycle West Virginia (RecycleWV), built its auto shredder facility in the mid-2000s, the Princeton, West Virginia-based company wanted to develop a sophisticated downstream recovery operation to capture nonferrous metals from its auto shredder residue (ASR).

"All along the way for us, that includes General Kinematics (GK) equipment," says Jason Breeden, manager, nonferrous operations.

The initial processing equipment system integrated two key pieces of equipment from Crystal Lake, Illinois-based GK: High-Stroke Feeders and the Under Mill Oscillator. Two major upgrades and many small modifications later, GK’s equipment is still going strong, feeding the downstream operation with a consistent stream of material 24 hours a day, five days a week. The company now has more than five different pieces of GK equipment at work, including the initial two feeding systems. And Breeden wouldn’t think of using anyone else in that role.

"The time at Recycle West Virginia has proven they have a longevity and a performance that reinforces and galvanizes our desire to work with GK equipment," says Jason Breeden, Manager of Nonferrous Operations.

EVERY STEP OF THE WAY

Breeden joined the company in 2007 when the shredder facility was being installed. The shredder manufacturing company, Harris, Cordele, Georgia, put together a package based on the RecycleWV’s goals. "A big portion of that package as far as General Kinematics was concerned was a feeder underneath our mill, our Undermill Oscillator (UMO), which is a vital part to the process," he says.

That wasn’t the only area where GK equipment played a role. Across the system postshred, GK feeders were performing important functions to the overall operation. A GK feeder between two drum magnets was used to shake and spread out the shred with vibration. Then, at the beginning downstream process, GK machines were used to feed other sorting equipment. If a vibratory feeder was needed, RecycleWV relied on GK.

Breeden says the company wanted to use only the best equipment in every area of the plant. "What was suggested by both Harris and companies providing the downstream separating was General Kinematics," he says.

That's the route they took. The plan worked.

Breeden says RecycleWV took the suppliers’ word for it that GK was the best choice. It didn’t take long, however, to realize they were right. "GK lived up to its reputation that it was the best we could get," he says.

The equipment has been operating at full scale since about 2009. From then until today, Breeden says, "We've had minimal issues out of the two primary GK machines that the company uses every time it shreds."

After large items, like automobiles and other scrap metals are processed in the shredder, RecycleWV sizes its ASR into three lines. Those three streams of shred go through a host of sorting machines. Proper operation revolves around having good distribution onto those machines. The primary way that happens is for a vibratory feeder to feed those machines to distribute that flow.

RecycleWV prides itself on being creative and advanced in its equipment set up. Technology such as eddy currents, air knives and overband magnets require proper feeding. "General Kinematics does a very good job at that distribution," says Breeden.

Repairs to the GK equipment over the years have been minimal and only included new taps on some of the vibratory motors and replacing a bearing on the Undermill Oscillator.

Because Recycle WV’s system is completely integrated, any portion of it that fails can stop the entire system, which is costly. Luckily for Breeden, the GK pieces of equipment have not led to lengthy stoppages, and that reliability is immeasurable. "We have had huge success with the machines," he says. "We count on them every day. They have been phenomenal for us. There would be no reason for us to consider any other vibratory feeder, even in a package."

PROACTIVE APPROACH

Even when issues have arisen, GK technicians have been proactive. Breeden recalls an incident when GK responded even before RecycleWV was aware there could be a problem and before that problem had a chance to become more serious. GK alerted Breeden to a possible stress fracture issue on a later model machine RecycleWV was using. GK had a fix for it, and technicians came out to make the repair over one long day to keep downtime to a minimum. That gesture really made an impression on Breeden.

"That they would step up and bring to light an issue and fix it at their expense before it became a problem is just another feather in their cap," he says.

Breeden emphasizes that RecycleWV doesn’t have to do very much to keep the feeders and UMO’s working properly, "and yet they continue to turn on and turn off and do everything we require the equipment to do."

Because the system is so integrated with multiple pieces of equipment from multiple manufacturers, Breeden says it is important that each part in the system work properly and as long as possible. "The last thing we need is for something to go down," says Breeden. Luckily for Breeden, GK gives him peace of mind. "The GK equipment gives us the performance we need and the life that we need, and that is important to us.

HEADING INTO THE FUTURE

RecycleWV prides itself on staying on the leading edge of nonferrous recovery. It continues to invest in new equipment and evolve its downstream operation. GK already has five pieces of equipment in operation at RecycleWV, and future upgrades will continue to include the manufacturer. Breeden estimates that within the next year, eight or nine pieces of GK equipment will be running at RecycleWV. Why? Because there is no need to look anywhere else, according to Breeden.

"GK has earned that position when it comes to vibratory feeders to us," Breeden adds. "They’ve earned a reputation for us that they are the head of the class."