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Shredders are value-adding assets

Waste shredders have a pivotal role to play in shaping a buoyant recycling and waste management industry in 2012, says Untha UK managing director Chris Oldfield

While the CBI has recently said the UK will miss a double dip recession, it’s still a worrying economic outlook for 2012. And few companies could profess they have been completely immune from the symptoms of austerity. However when forecasting industry-specific performance for the year ahead, it is important to consider some of the more encouraging signs that the recycling and waste management arena has already begun to witness.

Last year more organisations started taking their approach to waste management seriously. A growing number of companies began looking for more efficient and cost-effective ways to process, dispose of, and utilise their waste. And this momentum seems to be gathering pace and the market for shredders is undoubtedly set to grow as a result.

change. The industry is evolving with much greater velocity due to a collective desire to work smarter, generate a greater return on investment (ROI) and adopt a more intelligent approach to waste management. However innovative waste shredders are the vehicles that are allowing this change to happen, and they are the machines that are making the revolution possible.

As technology is becoming ever-more advanced, design engineers are increasingly working with clients to turn operational, efficiency and profitability aspirations into a reality. But developments in shredding technology are not so much focusing on new ‘off the wall’ applications. Instead seemingly subtle – yet still pioneering engineering – advancements are suddenly creating solutions that were previously not deemed possible.

Waste that is proficiently shredded and sold as a recyclable for example, generates an additional revenue stream whilst also saving on ever-rocketing landfill charges or storage costs. Furthermore it supports landfill diversion in line with the country’s impending targets, and promotes the reuse – rather than careless disposal of – valuable materials.

Of course there are still many organisations that don’t realise just what modern waste shredders are capable of. There is a need for an educational, awareness-raising approach to the supplier-client relationship.

Engineers and machinery providers must work with customers – either on site or at industry events such as RWM – so that waste shredders become more widely appreciated as value-adding assets, rather than simply a source of capital outlay. If this can be achieved, the market is sure to develop further still. A ‘hard sell’ approach simply doesn’t work because organisations want facts that show how their bottom line will benefit from a investing in a shredding equipment. 

While companies of all shapes and sizes are now considering either a first time shredder purchase or an upgrade, it is the bigger kit that has proven especially popular in the first few weeks of 2012, which is perhaps indicative of the scale of projects that are going to progress this year.

There has also been a rise in the number of clients seeking to procure complete waste solutions. Obviously suppliers could diversify to satisfy this demand. However focusing on a core engineering discipline, but developing networks of preferred technology partners, means a level of specialism is retained that ultimately benefits the client. A shredding provider for example can concentrate on what they do best – shredding – whilst providing material conveying and separating equipment recommendations from which the client can create a complete waste management system.

Clients continually want more and more from their technology and rightly so: it is the shredders that have been developed to deliver the exacting requirements of modern waste scenarios that will excel throughout 2012 and beyond.

BOX: Complete waste management systems

Brown Recycling has invested in an advanced SRF processing system for its Stoke-on-Trent plant. The company pre-sorts municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste in order to generate an income stream from recovered recyclables. Then the XR2000S pre-shredder and TR3200 swing into action with sophisticated conveyors, magnets and wind-shifters. Heavy metals and aggregates are extracted as the waste progresses through, and in only three minutes the company creates a product that they could sell to a fluidised bed combustion plant (such as a power stations) to be burned for energy.

This reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill and has the potential to create an additional source of revenue. Plus the cost, time and energy savings that can be recouped as a result of using modern, scientific machinery means that the financial benefits are multi-faceted.

BOX: Untha UK

In October 2011, Austrian manufacturer UNTHA bought out Riverside Waste Machinery’s industry-renowned shredding division and the new company UNTHA UK was born. The company’s expansion strategy for 2012 is serious, with half a million pounds set aside for sales and marketing development. Turnover is expected to double with at least one additional employee being recruited every month as 2012 unfolds. The successful Riverside Waste Machinery brand continues to exist but now focuses solely on waste balers.

BOX: Technology spotlight

The Untha VR for example has been purposefully designed to satisfy the need for high-quality precision shredding of clean and dirty wood, plastics, film, carpets and low-volume RDF. Thanks to a number of configurable screens, the VR can achieve incredibly accurate and homogenous particle sizes of 15-80mm depending upon application requirements. Consistency of particle sizing is especially important if the shredded waste is to be used in alternative fuel production, as biomass burners or gasification plants need small yet equal particles to get the best charge.

The other fundamental benefit of the VR is that it houses a new drive mechanism that has not been used in a shredder before, but is more commonly seen in heavy-duty applications such as mining and road-planing machines. The gearbox sits neatly inside the shredder’s rotor – currently the largest in the UK marketplace – and drives through the full 700mm diameter as opposed to only a small diameter stub shaft. Because the rotor diameter is so great, the rotor speed can be reduced without compromising the cutter tip speed. This means that even with a reduced RPM there is an unparalleled rate of throughput. Clients could expect to shred up to seven tonnes of plastic bottles per hour, or five tonnes of wooden pallets per hour.

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