MetalX to build greenfield scrap processing facility in Ohio

Following its July 2017 acquisition of M&K Metal Processors in Delta, Ohio, MetalX has announced its plans to invest $35 million to build a greenfield scrap processing plant in that same city. The company, headquartered in Waterloo, Indiana, says it intends to develop its new facility on a 60-acre site across the street from North Star BlueScope’s flat-rolled steel mill.

When the first phase of the project is completed, MetalX says the facility will handle more than 500,000 tons per year and employ more than 80 people. Its plans for the site will grow employment to more than 100 people and annual volume to 700,000 tons.

“We have developed an outstanding relationship with the team at North Star BlueScope and see this as an opportunity to expand that relationship for the benefit of both parties,” MetalX President and CEO Danny Rifkin says. “The site is ideally located with respect to logistics, given the proximity to the steel mill and concentration of industrial and wholesale generators in the region. These freight considerations, combined with the efficiencies associated with a state-of-the-art processing plant, will make us highly competitive in the marketplace.”

Ferrous operations will include a heavy-duty shredder and recovery system, a production baler, mobile shears and a high-capacity staging and distribution yard. Nonferrous operations will focus on shredded aluminum recovery and industrial scrap processing. MetalX says it also will operate a full-service transportation hub to support industrial and wholesale suppliers.

Initial construction is slated to begin this fall but is contingent on securing certain state and local economic development incentives, plus customary approvals and permits, MetalX says. The plant will be fully operational within 12 months.

MetalX reopened the former M&K yard July 17. It will remain open after the new yard is operational, focusing on community recycling and commercial customers, MetalX says.

Harvey leaves shredder feedstock in its wake

Hurricane Harvey, which drenched parts of Texas and Louisiana, could create more than 500,000 totaled vehicles that will eventually be delivered to auto shredding plants.

A Sept. 3, 2017, article by the Washington Post cites “auto industry experts [who] estimate that 500,000 to 1 million vehicles will have been damaged by water” after Hurricane Harvey, “with most being total losses.”

The newspaper’s reporters also write that insurance firm State Farm “has already received almost 20,000 claims” on flood-damaged vehicles from the Houston area.

A commodities market summary by Milan-based T-Commodity says the Platt’s news organization foresees price support in the steel sheet market in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Also, according to Platt’s SBB (Steel Business Briefing), if 500,000 vehicles end up at auto shredding plants, that would be double the number that was shredded after Superstorm Sandy in the eastern U.S. in 2012.

Gianclaudio Torlizzi of T-Commodity adds, “Depending on the replacement demand for those vehicles, the overall impact longer term could be supportive for steel prices despite the increased scrap supply, as demand is usually the bigger driver of prices. Near-term scrap prices are expected to firm, given the difficulty of moving scrap in the affected regions.”

ISRI urges China to reconsider scrap restrictions

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, has sent a letter to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) urging it to reconsider newly drafted limits on prohibitives in scrap shipments.

The MEP draft proposes tightening the thresholds for “carried waste” (contaminants and prohibitives) to 0.3 percent for all scrap materials. If implemented, these standards could effectively prohibit scrap imports to China, according to ISRI.

“The application of this standard will effectively result in a ban on the importation of all these commodities,” writes ISRI President Robin Wiener in the letter to the MEP. “It is simply not possible to achieve such a control level, nor is it possible to even measure it with such accuracy.”

She continues, “The current standards followed globally by the recycling community and our industrial consumers are found in ISRI’s ‘Scrap Specifications Circular’ and vary depending upon the specific commodity. For example, for paper, ‘outthrows’ generally vary between 1 and 5 percent, depending upon the grade of paper. Similar levels are found in the plastic specs. These numbers were determined through an open and deliberative process within the global recycling community and reflect manufacturing standards and needs. The same open process is utilized for all the other commodities as well.”

In the letter, ISRI also comments on the proposed 80 percent weight requirement for “metal and electrical appliance scraps.” Wiener writes, “In the United States, a 50 percent threshold is used when defining what is considered legitimate scrap metal for recycling. For consistency in the global trade, we would respectfully request that a uniform standard of 50 percent be used within China as well.”

Audubon Metals to add aluminum capacity

Henderson, Kentucky-based aluminum producer Audubon Metals LLC will expand its plant in that city with an $8.3 million investment that will create 39 full-time jobs. Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s office made the announcement in late July.

Audubon will build a nearly 21,000-square-foot addition at its facility, enlarging it to more than 333,000 square feet to house a fifth reverberatory furnace for aluminum smelting. As well, the project includes an extension of its ingot casting line, expansion of its production storage building and a new warehouse.

“Since our Henderson aluminum smelting operation began in 1996, Audubon Metals LLC has steadily grown its market share in providing quality products to the secondary aluminum die-casting industry,” says Audubon Metals President and CEO Jim Butkus. “This project will expand and diversify our product mix and give us the required capacity to grow and enter new markets. Coupled with the contributions from our terrific associate employees and support from the Henderson community, we are confident we will continue to maintain our highest level of service to our customers and to our community.”

Using shredded automotive metal, Audubon separates, dries, melts and blends aluminum alloys to meet the specifications of individual customers. Die-casting companies throughout the Midwest use Audubon’s ingots to produce automotive parts, lighting and metering equipment, appliances and small engine components.

“Audubon Metals has been a steadfast employer and community partner in Henderson County for more than 20 years,” Bevin says. “We are pleased to announce this latest investment and new jobs by a company whose products are central to so many of Kentucky’s manufacturing operations—from automotive parts and vehicle assembly to the appliance industry and more.”

Audubon, a subsidiary of Evansville, Indiana-based Koch Enterprises Inc., opened the Henderson facility with 55 employees and a monthly capacity of 3,500 tons. It now employs 270 and can produce more than 15,000 tons monthly.

Kentucky’s aluminum industry has seen significant growth, particularly as automakers, seeking higher fuel efficiency, turn to lightweight aluminum components, including body panels, mechanical components and housings. Since 2015, Kentucky has announced more than $2 billion in aluminum-related corporate investment and about 2,100 new, full-time jobs, according to Bevin’s office.

To encourage the expansion, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved tax incentives of up to $1.01 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. KEDFA also approved up to $90,000 in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA).

Aluminum use in autos advances

Automakers will continue to increase their use of aluminum in new car and truck construction at a faster pace than any time in history, concludes a study commissioned by The Aluminum Association and its Detroit-based Aluminum Transportation Group (ATG). The trend is likely to bring additional volumes and types of aluminum into scrap processing facilities in the approaching decades.

Total aluminum content is expected to grow from 397 pounds per vehicle (PPV) in 2015 to 565 PPV by 2028, representing 16 percent of total vehicle weight, according to a survey of automakers conducted by Michigan-based market research firm Ducker Worldwide.

“Aluminum remains the fastest-growing automotive material over competing materials and is entering its most unprecedented growth phase since we’ve been tracking the shifting mix of automotive materials,” says Abey Abraham of Ducker Worldwide. “To further improve fuel economy, battery range, safety and overall driving performance, automakers no longer default to a single material and instead are pursuing a multimaterial design approach where the best material is chosen for the best application. This design evolution is what’s driving aluminum’s increased market penetration in the auto sector.”

The Aluminum Association President and CEO Heidi Brock says, “The aluminum industry invested or committed more than $2 billion to ensure increased capacity in the U.S. since 2013, and the industry is prepared to continue such investments in domestic manufacturing jobs as demand continues to grow.”

The study finds that total aluminum content in North American light vehicles will increase to nearly 4.5 million tons (9 billion pounds), averaging 466 PPV by 2020, an increase of 69 pounds from 2015. Aluminum parts will more than double, with aluminum hoods expected to reach 71 percent penetration (up from 50 percent currently). About 50 percent of total aluminum content growth from 2015 to 2020 will be driven by closures, crash management systems, steering knuckles and structural vacuum die cast parts. The average passenger car will contain 362 pounds of aluminum, and the average light truck will contain 523 pounds of aluminum by 2020.

More details on the study can be found at http://bit.ly/2eIa8yW.