Mobile Processing of EScrap in semi-mounted shipping containers?

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scwiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
Hi GRF,

Below is the image of my ‘Patent Pending’ with the USTPO: (provisional 62/858074). Obviously, this is in the idea and planning stage only; I'm told by an engineer, a physicist, and a patent attorney that it doesn't (obviously) break any laws of thermodynamics. For that, you need a really good lawyer.

It’s designed as a mobile device to recover powdered metal from PCB on site.

A mobile device offers some legal advantages as far as shredding/processing goes: most EPA and DEQ regulations assume that yards are in *fixed* locations; I’ve been told by reps from Michigan’s DEQ that they really don’t see the problem with a mobile processing unit, as long as it doesn’t violate basic standards of soil, water, and quality while operating; once the machinery is turned off, it can then be hauled off site.

Here is a pic of the Chinese system doing dry recovery (those guys should be wearing dust masks (hard to get right now!!)): https://youtu.be/RL7MRVjyoU4 ; basically my plan is to install this system into a semi trailer, as shown below.

Another part of my Patent Pending involves recovering metal from de-soldered components. I gather from helpful members of this site, that one of the classic steps of Escrap processing back in the day was ‘Burn and Ash’ material into ‘pulps’—a step necessary to separate metal from its plastic substrates, and that otherwise would be unrecoverable. Hence, a schematic for a Carbonization-Reduction-Chamber (CRC) that does the same thing, but that so far remains untested.

In talking with several scrap yard managers around the country, I've heard that there is potential interest in machinery that can handle processing in the 1-2 TPD range, that could allow buyer and seller to reach deals on up-front valuations based on assay. Few if any yard managers I know do any on-site assays up front; they take the word of their brokers, who take the word of the smelters.

I am interested in helpful advice as I pursue this project.
 

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kurtak

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Jan 16, 2014
Messages
2,478
Location
John Day Oregon
Interesting Idea - that said - the equipment in & of it's self needed to process the circuit boards is NO small investment - add the cost of the semi truck to it again is NO small investment

In other words - how many tons of CBs are you going to need to process before you pay off the equipment - then how many more tons of CBs to pay off the semi - then there is the operating cost (the smaller cost - but still a cost factored in - before you see "real" profits

And there are holes in the system that need to be filled

(1) the first step in your system is the "de-soldering" machine - which means the boards are being de-populated - the de-populated boards are then sent through the system ending with a separation of copper fraction (along with any gold plating in that copper fraction) from the non metal fraction

In other words - because the boards have been de-populated the system if ONLY processing the copper fraction of the bare boards with that separated copper fraction having some gold in the plating on the copper fraction

So --- (2) after the de-soldering (de-populating) --- how are you separating the rest of the components that come off the boards in de-soldering

(3) once those components are separated from the bare boards how are you processing those components which also contain gold & as well is were the silver & PGMs are - as well as all the other metals found in whole CBs (Both magnetic & non- magnetic)

In other words - it looks to me like you are going to need at least 2 if not 3 trucks of equipment to get full recovery of the metals in whole CBs

First truck to de-solder/depopulate the boards with equipment to separate the de-populated boards from the de-populated components

Second truck to process the de-populated (bare) boards

Third truck to process the components from the boards

Now the UP FRONT cost just went up times 3 - BEFORE setting up the forth truck (a smaller "box truck) you need to set up for your "assay lab" in

& speaking of doing the assay - that is a process in & of it's self - if not "done right" - it will NOT represent the true value of the larger lot you are assaying --- it could be high (way high) or low (way low) --- you better have your assay methods down to a T or someone is going to get cheated (you or the costumer)

Plus you still have the non metal fraction to get rid of which can't simply be sent to the land fill because (I believe - but may be wrong ) is considered hazardous waste especially when ground to a fine powder - the chemical compounds in fine ground plastics & epoxies (fire retardants being just one concern) brake down & leach out into the soil &/or ground water

Your going to have to deal with that part & it's a LARGE part

Just a "few" things to think about - there are answers to the holes in your idea - I just want to see if you can think them through :wink:

Something else to think about --- there is a reason why the BIG boys do it the way they do - which is a shred - incinerate - smelt process

Kurt
 

scwiers

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Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
Kurt, thanks for your feedback. Yes, there are holes in my proposa! big enough, well, to drive a semi through. A fleet of them, even.

Here's what you are challenging me to clarify.

And before I proceed further with 'designing' and 'engineering' anything, I've got to stare the Devil in the face over the broader details--technical, legal, and financial--that would be required to pull this off.

The task: to design a truck-mounted system that can completely process 1 ton of any grade of PCB board, per day, anywhere. Let's assume it requires a two-person crew working 10 hour days, so, they have to process 200 lbs PCB per hour from PCB down to say %95 recovery of metal, and dry waste ( and for the sake of argument only, let's assume the tipping fee for this waste is $100).

My first goal is to determine the threshold of breaking even, considering capital machinery, labor, and depreciation (stuff breaking).

Let me (naively) assume I can break even by charging clients $1 per lb, where I'll gross $2000 per day, or $400,000 a year operating 200 days a year.

Fixed costs of $1000 per day:

$500 for labor, insurance, bennies, legal, office
$150 assay fee
$100 waste fee, permit fees
$250 fuel

Capital, depreciation, and profit?

$1000 per day, or $200,000 per year towards capital and depreciation: truck, machinery.

I guess, is the rate of charging clients $1 per lb for processing in the ballpark? What they would end up with at the end of a day, are barrels full of metal of known composition, mostly copper and tin, with traces of PMs. Once they have this metal of known composition, they can deal directly with smelter to determine most favorable return: no brokers needed to hedge anything.

Of course I have to convince them that paying me $2000 per ton is worth their while.
 

scwiers

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Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
oops- I forgot to include taxes in my model above. Oh well, bidden or not, taxes will come.
 

rickzeien

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Joined
Nov 14, 2017
Messages
544
If I put myself in the scrapyard shoes and evaluate your value proposition.

Even when you are done providing your service I will still have to wait to receive my settlement from the refiner.

Still uncertain what my payout will be. It will have to beat the direct to refiner net settlement. I now have to pay 2000 per ton for your service.

I went from a collection, sorting and shipping operation to add processing. What is my environmental risk?

I still need to aggregate and store the e scrap. I assume you would not come in for just 2000 pounds. How many days will you be on premise?

I would have to require you to have liability and workers compensation insurance sufficient to insulate me from injury to your workers, my workers, the public and the environment.

Do I have space to allocate to your production activities.

What security risk would I have with your access to my premises.

If I was contemplating this as a business opportunity I would survey a lot of scrap yards to see how it would be received.



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Thipdar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
82
scwiers said:
Hi GRF,

Below is the image of my ‘Patent Pending’ with the USTPO: (provisional 62/858074). Obviously, this is in the idea and planning stage only; I'm told by an engineer, a physicist, and a patent attorney that it doesn't (obviously) break any laws of thermodynamics. For that, you need a really good lawyer.

It’s designed as a mobile device to recover powdered metal from PCB on site.

A mobile device offers some legal advantages as far as shredding/processing goes: most EPA and DEQ regulations assume that yards are in *fixed* locations; I’ve been told by reps from Michigan’s DEQ that they really don’t see the problem with a mobile processing unit, as long as it doesn’t violate basic standards of soil, water, and quality while operating; once the machinery is turned off, it can then be hauled off site.

Here is a pic of the Chinese system doing dry recovery (those guys should be wearing dust masks (hard to get right now!!)): https://youtu.be/RL7MRVjyoU4 ; basically my plan is to install this system into a semi trailer, as shown below.

Another part of my Patent Pending involves recovering metal from de-soldered components. I gather from helpful members of this site, that one of the classic steps of Escrap processing back in the day was ‘Burn and Ash’ material into ‘pulps’—a step necessary to separate metal from its plastic substrates, and that otherwise would be unrecoverable. Hence, a schematic for a Carbonization-Reduction-Chamber (CRC) that does the same thing, but that so far remains untested.

In talking with several scrap yard managers around the country, I've heard that there is potential interest in machinery that can handle processing in the 1-2 TPD range, that could allow buyer and seller to reach deals on up-front valuations based on assay. Few if any yard managers I know do any on-site assays up front; they take the word of their brokers, who take the word of the smelters.

I am interested in helpful advice as I pursue this project.

As a suggestion, I think I'd add photovoltaic panels on the roof of the container, with batteries and an inverter, to assist with the 60KW generator. Also, I'd include a hard-welded ladder to give access to the roof, for those times when the panels need to be cleaned or repaired.

All too often, I've seen great ideas that have been scuttled by the requirements of business. This idea seems to have potential.

-- Thipdar
 

silversaddle1

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2008
Messages
1,489
Location
Iowa
few things

The operating cost on that truck is going to be huge, as all commercial trucks are.

You will have to have a class 1 CDL, abide by all DOT rules, Etc.

Insurance on the truck and the operation is going to be crippling.

I would find it very hard to believe you could find 200 locations all over the country that would have the amount of material sitting around to make it worthwhile for you to visit, and travel time between them will be hard to set up.

Don't get me wrong, there could be true potential there, but you'd have to prove yourself to me.

Now, with that being said, I can some very good advantages for me with a deal like this.

!. No shipping of material
2. No real sorting of different grade of PCB's. This is my biggest peeve of the business. Sort, sort, sort.
3. Once you put them thru your truck, the waste is your baby to deal with.
4. Easy.

Payout delays could be a problem, but not a real deal killer.
 

Thipdar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
82
kurtak said:
Plus you still have the non metal fraction to get rid of which can't simply be sent to the land fill because (I believe - but may be wrong ) is considered hazardous waste especially when ground to a fine powder - the chemical compounds in fine ground plastics & epoxies (fire retardants being just one concern) brake down & leach out into the soil &/or ground water

Your going to have to deal with that part & it's a LARGE part

I can't help but wonder if those 'hazardous waste' byproducts can't be useful as a raw material for some other product. Perhaps they should be 'mined' rather than 'discarded'.

It seems that further research should be done on this part of it; even if this mobile processing approach doesn't work out for some reason, the fixed plant operations could benefit from recycling (part of) their waste.

-- Thipdar
 

Thipdar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
82
rickzeien said:
Even when you are done providing your service I will still have to wait to receive my settlement from the refiner.

That hasn't changed.

rickzeien said:
Still uncertain what my payout will be. It will have to beat the direct to refiner net settlement. I now have to pay 2000 per ton for your service.

With the ability to do an on-site assay, the scrap yard can get a closer estimate of the values involved, and thus be able to determine whether the refiner is being fair. The scrap yard would no longer be ignorant and at the mercy of the refiner.

rickzeien said:
I went from a collection, sorting and shipping operation to add processing. What is my environmental risk?

That was addressed in the OP.

rickzeien said:
I would have to require you to have liability and workers compensation insurance sufficient to insulate me from injury to your workers, my workers, the public and the environment.

There was an estimate for that in the operations cost break-out.

rickzeien said:
Do I have space to allocate to your production activities.

That seems likely. I don't see any estimate for the cost/foot^2 of space used. Hopefully, the scrap yard would be able to absorb that cost because it's close to nothing.

rickzeien said:
What security risk would I have with your access to my premises.

Also, would the presence of additional equipment raise the general security risks for the scrap yard?

-- Thipdar
 

Thipdar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
82
scwiers said:
Hi GRF,

Below is the image of my ‘Patent Pending’ with the USTPO: (provisional 62/858074). Obviously, this is in the idea and planning stage only; I'm told by an engineer, a physicist, and a patent attorney that it doesn't (obviously) break any laws of thermodynamics. For that, you need a really good lawyer.

It’s designed as a mobile device to recover powdered metal from PCB on site.

A mobile device offers some legal advantages as far as shredding/processing goes: most EPA and DEQ regulations assume that yards are in *fixed* locations; I’ve been told by reps from Michigan’s DEQ that they really don’t see the problem with a mobile processing unit, as long as it doesn’t violate basic standards of soil, water, and quality while operating; once the machinery is turned off, it can then be hauled off site.

Here is a pic of the Chinese system doing dry recovery (those guys should be wearing dust masks (hard to get right now!!)): https://youtu.be/RL7MRVjyoU4 ; basically my plan is to install this system into a semi trailer, as shown below.

Another part of my Patent Pending involves recovering metal from de-soldered components. I gather from helpful members of this site, that one of the classic steps of Escrap processing back in the day was ‘Burn and Ash’ material into ‘pulps’—a step necessary to separate metal from its plastic substrates, and that otherwise would be unrecoverable. Hence, a schematic for a Carbonization-Reduction-Chamber (CRC) that does the same thing, but that so far remains untested.

In talking with several scrap yard managers around the country, I've heard that there is potential interest in machinery that can handle processing in the 1-2 TPD range, that could allow buyer and seller to reach deals on up-front valuations based on assay. Few if any yard managers I know do any on-site assays up front; they take the word of their brokers, who take the word of the smelters.

I am interested in helpful advice as I pursue this project.

It has just occurred to me that this approach could also be used with other methods of transport - by freight train, for example. Scrap yards with rail spurs might not need to "park a truck in their yard" to do this if they could take advantage of an unused rail spur.

-- Thipdar
 

Thipdar

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2020
Messages
82
silversaddle1 said:
few things

The operating cost on that truck is going to be huge, as all commercial trucks are.

You will have to have a class 1 CDL, abide by all DOT rules, Etc.

Insurance on the truck and the operation is going to be crippling.

I would find it very hard to believe you could find 200 locations all over the country that would have the amount of material sitting around to make it worthwhile for you to visit, and travel time between them will be hard to set up.

Don't get me wrong, there could be true potential there, but you'd have to prove yourself to me.

Now, with that being said, I can some very good advantages for me with a deal like this.

!. No shipping of material
2. No real sorting of different grade of PCB's. This is my biggest peeve of the business. Sort, sort, sort.
3. Once you put them thru your truck, the waste is your baby to deal with.
4. Easy.

Payout delays could be a problem, but not a real deal killer.

The way things are going, the "Commercial Driver" will probably be a robot.

In addition to operating locations, there will probably need to be storage locations (for mobile processing units that are idle between jobs). That's another cost, along with the logistics costs of moving the unit to and from storage.

-- Thipdar
 

scwiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
Rick, you pitched, and I'll swing.


1.
Even when you are done providing your service I will still have to wait to receive my settlement from the refiner
-ok, but now you know more or less EXACTLY the same thing in advance that the smelters and refiners know. An incentive to honest dealing up front. Of course, a yard manager can also hold on to metal of known composition for speculation more easily than mountains of scrap.

2.
Still uncertain what my payout will be. It will have to beat the direct to refiner net settlement. I now have to pay 2000 per ton for your service.
You know exactly what the payout will be today at a percentage of today's spot price, in the deal you work out with the refiner, and your assay up front means you don't have to take their word for it, alone.

3.
I went from a collection, sorting and shipping operation to add processing. What is my environmental risk?
You don't assume that risk; as an owner-operator, I do. And, we agree in writing, that you accept steel drums of processed metal bits of known composition at the end of a shift, for further processing or speculation.

4.
I still need to aggregate and store the e scrap. I assume you would not come in for just 2000 pounds. How many days will you be on premise?
You may aggregate and store if you want to; but these are really just wastes of time with lower grade material (think power supply PCBs or the otherwise unsortable material sitting in many yards I've visited, open to the elements). For high grade boards, sure, everybody is paying top dollar for them, and contracts for them(take or pay) can be locked in for years. So, sell those to your highest bdder. As a Ninja temporary peripatetic processor, I truck in, do a few tons of your low to medium grade stuff, and then truck out. And if you've got moe than several tons of low grade aterial on site, EPA/DEQ fines will run way more than what I charge for non-compliance, remediation, etc.

5.
I would have to require you to have liability and workers compensation insurance sufficient to insulate me from injury to your workers, my workers, the public and the environment.
As owner operator, I cover WC for my crew, who operates the machinery. Yes, our contract means I'm liable for environment at your site, which is a benefit to you. Because I drive away at the end of a shift, and run a clean operation, it's to my benefit, too.

6.
Do I have space to allocate to your production activities.
Room for a semi is required. Also, zoning is going to prtty much limit me to M2 areas, or FEMA disaster ares, where most zoning :eek: rules are waived

7.
What security risk would I have with your access to my premises.
Trust is the hardest thing to earn, and the easiest to lose.

8.
If I was contemplating this as a business opportunity I would survey a lot of scrap yards to see how it would be received.
Most express a genuine interest in a) finding out the exact compostion of their material b4 smelting; b) a more efficient sytem that can handle low to mid grade material; 3) a shortening of the time between weigh-in at the point of collection (processing) , and pay out.

Whew-- one pinky at a time on this crappy old Amazon tablet-- but Rick, I did my !best
 

rickzeien

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2017
Messages
544
scwiers said:
Rick, you pitched, and I'll swing.


1. Even when you are done providing your service I will still have to wait to receive my settlement from the refiner-**-ok, but now you know more or less EXACTLY the same thing in advance that the smelters and refiners know. An incentive to honest dealing up front. Of course, a yard manager can also hold on to metal of known composition for speculation more easily than mountains of scrap.

2. Still uncertain what my payout will be. It will have to beat the direct to refiner net settlement. I now have to pay 2000 per ton for your service.** You know exactly what the payout will be today at a percentage of today's spot price, in the deal you work out with the refiner, and your assay up front means you don't have to take their word for it, alone.

3. I went from a collection, sorting and shipping operation to add processing. What is my environmental risk?**You don't assume that risk; as an owner-operator, I do. And, we agree in writing, that you accept steel drums of processed metal bits of known composition at the end of a shift, for further processing or speculation.

4. I still need to aggregate and store the e scrap. I assume you would not come in for just 2000 pounds. How many days will you be on premise?**You may aggregate and store if you want to; but these are really just wastes of time with lower grade material (think power supply PCBs or the otherwise unsortable material sitting in many yards I've visited, open to the elements). For high grade boards, sure, everybody is paying top dollar for them, and contracts for them(take or pay) can be locked in for years. So, sell those to your highest bdder. As a Ninja temporary peripatetic processor, I truck in, do a few tons of your low to medium grade stuff, and then truck out. And if you've got moe than several tons of low grade aterial on site, EPA/DEQ fines will run way more than what I charge for non-compliance, remediation, etc.

5. I would have to require you to have liability and workers compensation insurance sufficient to insulate me from injury to your workers, my workers, the public and the environment.** As owner operator, I cover WC for my crew, who operates the machinery. Yes, our contract means I'm liable for environment at your site, which is a benefit to you. Because I drive away at the end of a shift, and run a clean operation, it's to my benefit, too.

6. Do I have space to allocate to your production activities.** Room for a semi is required. Also, zoning is going to prtty much limit me to R3 areas, or FEMA disaster ares, where most zoning :eek: rules are waived

7. What security risk would I have with your access to my premises.**Trust is the hardest thing to earn, and the easiest to lose.

8. If I was contemplating this as a business opportunity I would survey a lot of scrap yards to see how it would be received.**Most express a genuine interest in a) finding out the exact compostion of their material b4 smelting; b) a more efficient sytem that can handle low to mid grade material; 3) a shortening of the time between weigh-in at the point of collection (processing) , and pay out.

Whew-- one pinky at a time on this crappy old Amazon tablet-- but Rick, I did my !best
Al in all pretty well thought out in your responses. At the end of the day it is the customer that you must convince and your results/service will get them to give you repeat business.

All the best!

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scwiers

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
Thipdar and Silversaddle1, I want to acknowledge your comments—

My goal is to have all of the machinery installed in a universal 40’ shipping container that could be carried from place to place on a flatbed trailer.

Trailers and shipping containers are for sale in abundance around here, costing about $3000 for the steel 40’ container, and maybe $15,000 for a DOT-certified and licensed trailer. Of course the main expense, a semi-tractor (and those easily run $100,000 or more, used), I’d hope to put off, well, maybe forever. Then, I will be in the position of hiring truckers for making ‘touch and go’ delivery of the equipment.

Right now the main problem with the concept, is devising machinery that can ‘carbonize’ plastic components; this device would have to be added to an already cramped area inside the shipping container.

A 65kW generator is probably the minimum it’s going to take to run all of the equipment; ideally, if 3-phase power is available at a client’s location, that would reduce my fuel consumption, and what I have to charge the client.
 
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