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  1. #1
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    How difficult is it getting to shift copper granules?

    Iím new to the game and at the early stages of setting up a cable chopping line based in the UK.

    Iím interested in learning more about the traction in this market. I understand that since China have stopped buying category 7 scrap metals it has encouraged more people to invest in granulator systems of their own, in turn, causing an abundance of Cu granules into the global market.


    Since Cu granule supply is near saturation point as demand growth is lagging behind, my 2 questions are:





    • Who is typically buying granules at the moment?
    • What are the challenges Iíd have to face when looking for buyers?

    Thanks in advance.


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmetal View Post
    I’m new to the game and at the early stages of setting up a cable chopping line based in the UK.

    I’m interested in learning more about the traction in this market. I understand that since China have stopped buying category 7 scrap metals it has encouraged more people to invest in granulator systems of their own, in turn, causing an abundance of Cu granules into the global market.


    Since Cu granule supply is near saturation point as demand growth is lagging behind, my 2 questions are:



    • Who is typically buying granules at the moment?
    • What are the challenges I’d have to face when looking for buyers?

    Thanks in advance.
    Copper smelting plant that's one of the world's largest copper and precious metal producers, as well as North America’s biggest recycler of electronic components. Take a guided tour and learn about copper smelting and processing techniques at the only copper smelting plant still in operation in Canada.
    Last edited by blackgold12; 01-06-2020 at 12:31 AM.

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  4. #3
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    We've sold copper to domestic mills in the US and as well as in Germany and Malaysia. Selling the copper is the easy part as international buyers will come to you (though not all will share your desired grading)! The biggest challenge is keeping the chop grade consistent whether you're selling as Cu No1 or Cu No2. It doesn't take much of an oversight to realize you have a whole day's chop at a lower grade than you need by underestimating the current wear on the blades.

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJinLV View Post
    We've sold copper to domestic mills in the US and as well as in Germany and Malaysia. Selling the copper is the easy part as international buyers will come to you (though not all will share your desired grading)! The biggest challenge is keeping the chop grade consistent whether you're selling as Cu No1 or Cu No2. It doesn't take much of an oversight to realize you have a whole day's chop at a lower grade than you need by underestimating the current wear on the blades.
    Another thing that can mess up a day's run, is not realizing there was some tin coated copper wire in the mix. That load on #1 is now #2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomasdev View Post
    Another thing that can mess up a day's run, is not realizing there was some tin coated copper wire in the mix. That load on #1 is now #2.
    Absolutely! If you're chopping for #1 overcautious pre-chop separation is necessary.

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  10. #6
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackgold12 View Post
    Copper smelting plant that's one of the world's largest copper and precious metal producers, as well as North America’s biggest recycler of electronic components. Take a guided tour and learn about copper smelting and processing techniques at the only copper smelting plant still in operation in Canada.
    Thanks for pointing me in this direction

  11. #7
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    @JJinLV @mthomasdev

    Guys, this is really useful feedback, thanks a lot. 3 more questions...

    - What are the best cost-effective techniques you guys use to pre-sort your cable?

    - Once it goes through the granulation system, is it too late to separate? (i.e magnetism or acids)

    - What defines #1 and #2 when it comes to Cu granules?

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    The difference between #1 and #2 copper is the same whether as sheet, pipe, solids or granules. You can search the forum for detailed descriptions. In addition to the copper itself, post-granulation copper can have an additional source of contamination from the too much insulation mixed with the copper. One of our buyers accepted .2% contamination as #1 copper. For another this would be too much. It depends on your buyer.

    Unless you're separating wires with dramatically different recovery rates (like 35% from 80% or romex) it will likely not be worth separating. 50lbs of #1 50% inside an 1100lbs gaylord of #2 35-40% isn't worth the labor cost to disentangle and will not negatively affect your chopped product of #2 copper. If separating large quantities use a skid loader. Best bet is to be careful when buying. If you know, for example, that cat-5 and cat-6 and romex and others without ends are never tinned then you know the copper inside will be #1 and the chopped product will be #1. Whereas computer monitor cables and open-eye heliax very frequently have tinned or otherwise contaminated copper and will produce a #2 copper chop. Just keep an eye on the pile as you dump new product on it and you'll be fine.

    I don't know of any post chop separation process. Am 100% sure it's possible and around 99% sure it wouldn't be worth the cost.

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  14. #9
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJinLV View Post
    The difference between #1 and #2 copper is the same whether as sheet, pipe, solids or granules. You can search the forum for detailed descriptions. In addition to the copper itself, post-granulation copper can have an additional source of contamination from the too much insulation mixed with the copper. One of our buyers accepted .2% contamination as #1 copper. For another this would be too much. It depends on your buyer.

    Unless you're separating wires with dramatically different recovery rates (like 35% from 80% or romex) it will likely not be worth separating. 50lbs of #1 50% inside an 1100lbs gaylord of #2 35-40% isn't worth the labor cost to disentangle and will not negatively affect your chopped product of #2 copper. If separating large quantities use a skid loader. Best bet is to be careful when buying. If you know, for example, that cat-5 and cat-6 and romex and others without ends are never tinned then you know the copper inside will be #1 and the chopped product will be #1. Whereas computer monitor cables and open-eye heliax very frequently have tinned or otherwise contaminated copper and will produce a #2 copper chop. Just keep an eye on the pile as you dump new product on it and you'll be fine.

    I don't know of any post chop separation process. Am 100% sure it's possible and around 99% sure it wouldn't be worth the cost.

    Will look out for copper grading on other threads.

    One last thing on granules, can the gauge of the granule determine what grade it is? I've read somewhere that buyers pay less for lower gauged granules as outside layers of fine granules get obliterated as they go into the furnace, could just be a myth?

    Finally, how can I test purity of my granules?

  15. #10
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    Furnace loss is a real thing but more with aluminum than copper. Granule sizes only differ so much from shredder to shredder and shouldn't meaningfully change your sale price.

    Not sure there is a cost effective way to test for impurities on the chop side. XRF guns are wildly expensive and only marginally useful in testing granules in any quantity. With a small furnace you could test but again I question the cost effectiveness if just using for tests and not actual furnace work. Most yards I know send off samples to prospective buyers who do their own testing. Tbh when gauging whether your chop is clean an eyeball test for insulation and #2 goes a very long way.

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  17. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmetal View Post
    @JJinLV @mthomasdev

    Guys, this is really useful feedback, thanks a lot. 3 more questions...

    - What are the best cost-effective techniques you guys use to pre-sort your cable?

    - Once it goes through the granulation system, is it too late to separate? (i.e magnetism or acids)

    - What defines #1 and #2 when it comes to Cu granules?
    Let me start by saying I don't have a system, but have a good knowledge of them. I sell to a company that processes alot of wire and other copper bearing material. They build thier own equipment and also sell it. There is at least one member that has one of thier systems.

    Pre sort would be by eye.

    You can seperate copper from aluminum after, but I'm not aware of a way to pull out tinned copper.

    Look up the ISRI definitions of number 1 and number 2 wire nodules and talk with your buyer. I don't believe size makes a difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomasdev View Post
    You can seperate copper from aluminum after, but I'm not aware of a way to pull out tinned copper.
    Yeah I shoulda been clearer. Was referring to separating #1 Cu from #2 Cu. Your machine *should* have a magnetic belt or some other heavy magnet process that will remove iron post-chop and pre-separation as well as a wet or dry post-chop separation process to separate aluminum from copper.

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  21. #13
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomasdev View Post
    Let me start by saying I don't have a system, but have a good knowledge of them. I sell to a company that processes alot of wire and other copper bearing material. They build thier own equipment and also sell it. There is at least one member that has one of thier systems.

    Pre sort would be by eye.

    You can seperate copper from aluminum after, but I'm not aware of a way to pull out tinned copper.

    Look up the ISRI definitions of number 1 and number 2 wire nodules and talk with your buyer. I don't believe size makes a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJinLV View Post
    Yeah I shoulda been clearer. Was referring to separating #1 Cu from #2 Cu. Your machine *should* have a magnetic belt or some other heavy magnet process that will remove iron post-chop and pre-separation as well as a wet or dry post-chop separation process to separate aluminum from copper.

    Thanks again both.

  22. #14
    greenmetal started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthomasdev View Post
    Let me start by saying I don't have a system, but have a good knowledge of them. I sell to a company that processes alot of wire and other copper bearing material. They build thier own equipment and also sell it. There is at least one member that has one of thier systems.

    Pre sort would be by eye.

    You can seperate copper from aluminum after, but I'm not aware of a way to pull out tinned copper.

    Look up the ISRI definitions of number 1 and number 2 wire nodules and talk with your buyer. I don't believe size makes a difference.


    Stumbled upon this when looking into ISRI's definitions... Suggests #1 should be free of granules that are 16 gauge or smaller. I take it you both haven't come across issues when selling #1 granules with finer granules mixed in? I guess it's down to the buyers descrecion, right?

    Also, is #1 Cu granules priced the same as bare bright?







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