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Air Control Industries has assisted Alutrade, a specialist aluminium scrap processing company, in upgrading its can processing operation to achieve purity levels of 0.03 per cent.

This level of purity meets international recycling standards for the drinks can industry and has opened the door to many new markets.

In addition, it has enabled the company to get a better price for its higher quality recycled aluminium.

An essential part of this improved efficiency is the use of airknives during the separation of aluminium from non-conductive materials.

Alutrade was set up originally to recycle aluminium profile scrap, but six years ago it entered the aluminium can recycling business.

This involves accepting cans in various forms including bailed, ’clean’ loose cans and cans separated out from mixed rubbish such as domestic kerbside collections.

The original multi-stage can recycling operation involved pre-shearing of the cans on entry to the process, initial magnetic removal of ferrous metals and then separation of waste from conductive material using an eddy current technique.

This was followed by a hand-picking belt, a shredder, a vibrating fines separator and then one more travel over an eddy current sorting arrangement for final removal of contaminants from the shredded aluminium before weighing and bailing.

This procedure achieved purity levels of around 0.15 per cent and was acceptable at the time for can manufacturers in Europe.

Then the purity specification was upgraded by Alutrade’s principal customer to 0.03 per cent.

This meant the company had to find new markets for its product while it found a way to improve the quality of its recycled aluminium cans.

It was able to acheive this by adding blower powered airknives from air handling specialist Air Control Industries (ACI) of Chard.

’With the introduction of the ACI airknives the purity levels of our recycled product has improved significantly,’ said Malcolm George, director, Alutrade.

’This has enabled us to meet higher purity standards, broaden our markets and obtain better prices for our enhanced product quality,’ he added.

The ACI airknives are located below the two eddy current units: the first where heavies (waste) are separated from the shredded cans after the magnetic removal of ferrous metals; and the second for final cleaning of aluminium shreds before weighing and bailing.

Their purpose is to boost the flight of the conductive aluminium as it is ejected by the electric field created by the eddy current device (positives repelling each other) beyond a separating baffle.

This greater distance of travel ensures a more positive separation of materials to achieve a cleaner end product.

This same technique is also employed on another smaller line, again helping to achieve improved recycling efficiency.

Air Control Industries

Air Control Industries (ACI) is a leading global provider of industrial air movement products.

We analyse the application and select or design the product with the right materials, performance and environmental characteristics to provide the most efficient and cost-effective solution.

ACI has the expertise to help satisfy all your air handling requirements, be it cooling drying or spreading.

Since 1969, ACI has been designing and manufacturing fans and blowers, both for general applications and for specific tasks that demand custom-engineered solutions. We have also been developing value-added products employing our fans and blowers.

These include Airknives, bottle/can-drying systems for the drinks industry and our extruded product/cable/wire drying unit. All are employed around the world by leading international companies.

Another ACI innovation for the health and hygiene market is our Jetblack personnel cleaning stations. Being blower powered, Jetblack provides a safe and economic method of de-dusting personnel. To extend options for our customers, we also offer EBM-Papst products, for which we are the exclusive distributor.

ACI has around 50 employees split between its UK headquarters in Chard, Somerset, and its US subsidiary in Maine, New England. There is a network of overseas distributors to provide international sales and support.

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