To process fine wires and flex's you need a pulveriser or a turbo, this smashes the cable and rips the copper out of the insulation, it also helps when the material lands on the sorting table as it can curl the strands and in some cases turn the copper into small balls, this helps add weight, which in turn makes it easier to sort from the lighter insulation on cables.
As Much as we would like to buy a brand new machine, sadly we just can't - these machines don't come cheap!
So after a long search and a lot of driving we finally have one, these days you can either have a compact system where all the components are fitted into one machine or like we have as separates, this has meant we have a large 18.5Kw turbo, now the big boys in the industry have massive systems but we don't have the : space, power or funds, we do now have a 2 section 16 cell turbo, this is fed by a 7.5Kw Granulator (we plan to add a pre- shredder soon), once the cable feed has been pulverised by the turbo, it is fed to the sorting table, from here we get the two fractions - Copper and insulation. The copper is moved up the processing chain and will be feedstock for a furnace, then will become Copper cathodes which are traded on the London Metal Exchange (LME).
As for the insulation, we have to keep the different types separate so that these can be reprocessed, most insulation is PVC, however we also have HDPE which is normally from SWA Steel Wire Armoured cable, the last type of insulation is either rubber or silicon and we are always looking for the best way these can be recycled, the latest products that are using these material is the feet for site fencing usually called Heras fencing.
Unfortunately is not all plain sailing, as with any second-hand machinery there is always something that needs work, for us it has been blades that have needed attention, the previous owner didn't keep it up to date but luckily it wasn't that bad either, by the looks of it the Turbo blades have never been checked, you can see from the pics that the leading edge is showing the signs of wear, so while we wait for new blades to arrive these have been turned 180* to wear the other side and should last until the new ones arrive (blades for turbo usually are flipped).
The Granulator blades also need sharpening and replacement, sharpening is usually about 10 days -2 weeks but new ones take about 12-16 from order, this has given us a chance to clean the machine down and remove the build up of dust, clean away the old lube and replace split ducting. Air filters and dust filters are also on order but we have managed to get the beast up and running again and its doing a fine job on data cables, we have never been so happy to process Cat 5 & 6!