When disposing of a vehicle there are a number of steps that take place to enable the car to be fully disposed of. The vehicle firstly is dismantled for useable parts, along with batteries, and tyres are removed. The vehicle is drained, which allows the remaining car to be flattened and passed onto a scrap dealer. The vehicles are delivered to the scrap yard, and weighed. From this point onwards the car enters the shredding process. This involves separating the remaining material into three separate streams: iron and steel, non-ferrous metal and non-metallic scrap.
The shredding process shreds the crushed vehicles and other metal goods into smaller pieces of various materials. The machines are large in size and have powerful motors to drive rotors that spin hammers up to 175 miles per hour. Through this process the car is demolished into 10mm sized chunks or smaller. This is to allow the different components to be easily separated. The shredder can reduce a car to pieces in just 45 seconds.
Automobile shredders are multipurpose, heavy duty machines that are suitable for processing all types of materials. The shredder consists of a hammer mill which breaks up products, and separating ferrous and non ferrous materials, which are later separated using downstream processing such as magnets and cleaning systems. The hammer mill is generally four armed, with heavy duty swing hammers that can be replaced due to excess wear and tear.
To separate the different materials the shredded material are exposed to a number of techniques. Firstly the shredded material is passed by a number of chambers containing strong wind turbines. This pulls the light materials such as foam and cloth away from the heavy material. The iron and steel, which are highly recyclable, are magnetically separated from the other materials and recycled.
The remaining material is pasted through an eddy current separator, which separates the non ferrous metals with other components such as plastics and glass. The two streams are then processed further by the facility in a number of different ways. The remaining non metallic scrap, known as shredder residue is then sent to landfill. For each ton of metal recovered by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of shredder residue are produced, which means they are not being recycled.
Finally, the magnetic stream of materials is then checked, and any non ferrous or containments are removed by hand. This enables the final product to be a pure substance which can be easily recycled. The recyclable materials, such as the metals, are sent to end markets or steel mills to produce new metals. The other non-ferrous metals can also be recycled to be remoulded and reproduced into new objects.