The construction industry uses a significant amount of the metal produced or imported each year in the United States, whether in the form of steel beams and plates, aluminum extrusions, copper wiring or red metal plumbing pipes and fixtures.
Likewise, when buildings are demolished, the metal within them serves as a significant source of scrap that creates business relationships between demolition contractors and scrap recyclers where each can profit from the harvested material.
When a demo project is large enough, those involved may need to consider bringing a baler onto the job site. In many other cases, scrap facility managers who know demo projects represent a major source of material will equip their yards properly to handle steel beams and other material stemming from the demolition process.
Bringing a portable baler to a demolition site involves several expenses, so the decision to do so ordinarily is made only after determining the return on investment will be worthwhile.
Factors influencing the decision include the size and construction style of the building and how near or far it is from the yard of the intended scrap buyer. “The size and type of the building will determine the amount of recyclable material available, and the contractor must make the call on the impact of loose material freight versus baling or shearing on-site,” Bob Pfeffer, a product manager with Helsinki-based equipment supplier Metso, says.
Therefore, large industrial buildings or complexes in remote locations can be candidates. “Examples are factories, mills, large building complexes and energy plants,” Steve Weinberg, national sales and marketing director for Lefort America, Sunrise, Florida, says.
Referring to a large power plant demo job in Florida, Weinberg comments, “Due to the size and type of the job, a tremendous amount of steel scrap was generated, thus justifying the shearing and baling of material for larger returns and greater recovery revenue for every load sent.”
A portable machine that can be moved around the job site also offers benefits, Weinberg says, in that, “you can bring the shear/baler unit to the material instead of moving the material to the machine, which many times cannot happen on difficult terrain.”
Another aspect of the decision is whether to purchase a piece of processing equipment, look for a way to lease or rent it or search for a specialty subcontracting firm that focuses on on-site scrap processing.