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Plant Design for Electronics Recycling. Rafael Reveles Director of Engineering Noranda Recycling Inc. ISRI’s 2006 Convention and Exposition April 2 nd - 6 th , 2006. Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Noranda Recycling Inc. . 4 sites in US, 1 in Canada

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Plant design for electronics recycling

Plant Design for Electronics Recycling

Rafael Reveles

Director of Engineering

Noranda Recycling Inc.

ISRI’s 2006 Convention and Exposition

April 2nd - 6th, 2006

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino

Noranda recycling inc
Noranda Recycling Inc.

  • 4 sites in US, 1 in Canada

  • Brampton, Roseville and Lavergne operations focus on end-of-life electronics recycling.

  • Wholly owned subsidiary of Falconbridge - 48 operations, 18 countries

  • One of the world’s largest producers of zinc and nickel and a significant producer of copper, primary and fabricated aluminum, lead, silver, gold, cobalt and sulphuric acid.

Plant design for electronics recycling

U.S. Recycling Plants

Noranda Recycling, San Jose CA

Noranda Recycling, E. Providence RI

Noranda Recycling, Roseville CA

Noranda Recycling LaVergne, TN

Key elements of plant design
Key Elements of Plant Design

  • Facility selection

  • Tenant improvements

  • Layout

  • Machinery

Facility selection
Facility Selection

  • Transportation needs

  • Local regulations

  • Equipment needs

  • Output option proximity

Transportation needs
Transportation needs

  • Rail spur can reduce freight costs by 25%. Especially helpful when shipping shredded material to smelters.

  • Alternatively, local rail yards usually have trans-loading service providers.

  • Proximity to interstate and airports.

  • Survey freight providers.

  • Evaluate shipping container options.

Output vendors
Output vendors

  • Steel and Aluminum recycler proximity

  • Smelters- North America or Europe

  • Ports

  • Hazardous waste

  • Useful tool- Develop a matrix containing volumes vs. proximity

Regulatory considerations
Regulatory considerations

  • E-scrap managed as waste? (California – Universal Waste)

  • Example: In CA, subject to DTSC inspections, special container requirements, inventory aging requirements, facility signage, etc..

  • Output destination management can be affected- Excluded Recyclable Materials.

  • Zoning

  • Air permitting- dust collector discharge

  • Storm water permitting

Equipment needs
Equipment needs

  • Power- 3000 amp service (upgraded transformer a significant expense)

  • Foundation at least 6”

  • Ceiling height 28 to 32 feet

  • Grade level roll up doors

  • Fire pump, ESFR sprinklers

  • Roof loading- ceiling column spacing

Tennant improvements
Tennant Improvements

  • HVAC

  • Restrooms

  • Entrance / security

  • Footings

  • Lighting

  • Racking

  • Truck docks

  • Sprinkler

  • Permits

Plant design for electronics recycling

  • Is it necessary?

  • Insulated ceilings

  • Roof mount vs. floor level units

  • Make up air balanced to dust collection

  • Cold climates- sprinkler pipe freeze issue, ceiling fans, make up air must be heated

Restrooms and plumbing
Restrooms and Plumbing

  • Extra restroom capacity

  • Showers

  • Circulation pumps can be extra maintenance


  • Most customers require video surveillance – video server

  • Building alarm monitoring company (includes fire panel)

  • Entrance lobby – guard or bell

  • Card lock system- isolate business office

  • Trucker access

  • Perimeter security fence - bins

Equipment footings
Equipment footings

  • Soil sample with Civil P. E. analysis and permit if required

  • Excavation equipment access

  • Concrete cure time

  • Footings can be costly and deeper depending on soil conditions

  • Ensure final equipment layout prior to construction


  • Bay lighting

  • Ensure OSHA lighting standard

  • Add task lighting over production area

Warehouse racking
Warehouse Racking

  • Rack usage depends on business model, turn around time, and available floor space

  • Wire guide warehouse vs. conventional

  • Additional sprinklers may be necessary

  • Installation usually requires permitting due to seismic concerns

  • Protect the racks with bollards

Truck docks
Truck docks

  • Quantity?

  • Expensive to add after building construction (>25K to upgrade)

  • Hydraulic dock plates speed up unloading and provide a smooth forklift path into the truck

  • Ergonomically friendly vs. manual dock

Fire sprinklers
Fire Sprinklers

  • Absolutely a must with any E-Scrap plant

  • Early Suppression Fast Response preferred by insurers such as FM Global

  • Machinery usually requires additional fire suppression by local FD

  • Maintenance- flow, pressure, and alarm notification testing

Building permits
Building Permits

  • Local building department turn around time should be factored into timeline

  • A consultant can speed up the process

  • Permits commonly required for- HVAC, sprinklers, electrical, footings, racking, machinery

  • Permit fees vary and can sometimes include an expedited service fee


  • Receiving

  • Shipping

  • Warehouse

  • Work Cells

  • Automated solutions

  • Lift trucks

  • EH&S


  • Receiving is typically a bottleneck when planning site capacities

  • Reduced docks require delivery appointments

  • Scales should be in ground and greater than 48”

  • Forklift mounted scales can increase shipment receiving efficiency

  • Buffer considerations- minimize the amount of travel for shipping units


  • Largely dependant on business model – retail sales?

  • FEDEX or UPS terminal

  • Shrink wrap machines


  • Bin size – pallet location or small bins

  • Keep most popular stock items at floor level or in consolidated high demand area

Work cells
Work Cells

  • 2 types – de-package and disassembly

  • Determine your sort boxes- boards, steel, cardboard, shred, plastic, wire.

  • Adjustable height tables and benches reduce injury

  • Air tools speed up productivity

  • Scissor lift tables reduce lifting injuries

  • Tool balancers reduce injury and increase speed


  • Sort line

  • Wireless network

Lift trucks
Lift Trucks

  • Electric lifts reduce fire risk and do not create fumes

  • Riding pallet jacks are efficient at receiving and general pallet movement

  • Sit down units typically have 3000 pound lift capacities

  • Minimize manual jack use- slow and causes injury

  • Wire guide lifts and order pickers are expensive, but necessary for a large warehouse configuration

Plant design for electronics recycling

  • Floor conditioning- Epoxy

  • Spill containment

  • Flammable cabinet

  • Adequate storage for ink, toner, and batteries

  • Make sure you facility has a HMMP

Processing machinery
Processing Machinery

  • General Theory

  • Shredding options

  • Separation Technologies

  • Dust collection

  • Output options

  • New Horizons

Machinery general theory
Machinery general theory

  • Shredding reduces scrap in size and liberates metals into separable particles

  • Ferrous and Aluminum streams commonly extracted

  • All other streams will be copper bearing and go to a smelter or broker

  • Manual complete disassembly yields a higher recovery, but is cost prohibitive in the US

Shredding options
Shredding options

  • Primary size reduction requires a shear type shredder

  • 4 shaft- can be in series or stand alone

  • 2 shaft- delivers large pieces and requires secondary size reduction

  • Granulators provide a finishing step and produce uniform particle size

Separation steps
Separation steps

  • Screen off the fines (<8mm) with a shaker or a trommel

  • Remove ferrous with a overband or drum magnet

  • Remove aluminum with an eddy current

Plant design for electronics recycling


8 mm Screen


Roseville Metals Separation Plant

200 HP

400 HP

Shear Shredder (4")

Shear Shredder (2")

Granulator (1”)

Eddy Current

Belt Magnet


Copper Family


Copper Family

Mixed Plastics

Dust collection
Dust collection

  • Absolutely necessary when shredding

  • Must be effective at maintaining safe ambient air for staff- validate with periodic air monitoring

  • A cyclone-baghouse combination is ideal

  • Carry out due diligence and analyze the dust and loading conditions to evaluate explosion risk

  • Floor sweeper

Output options
Output options

  • Before selecting equipment, survey your local commodity market and know what their quality requirements are.

  • Steel vendors do not want copper - requires more size reduction to achieve

  • Aluminum vendors may not want circuit board contamination- a second eddy current may be needed

New horizons
New Horizons

  • Plastics separation- sink float, visual detection

  • Inductive separators

  • Color sorting machines

  • Shredding- VFDs vs. hydraulics