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26.10.2020 Recovering copper wire electrostatically

Bunting, with European manufacturing plants at two locations in the UK (Redditch and Berkhamsted), reports that it has recently supplied a combination of an electrostatic separator and a metal separation module to a UK metal recycling company.  This has been designed to enable the recovery of fine copper and other metals from a waste product.

Bunting’s electrostatic separator, launched earlier in 2020, significantly enhances the ability of companies to recover fine metals such as copper wire.  In this particular project, the feed material is fine material from air-extraction post-shredding; a mix normally classified as waste despite the valuable metal content.  Previous attempts to recover the metal constituent, including fine copper wire, had been unsuccessful.

Prior to the customer ordering the equipment, controlled tests conducted at Bunting’s Customer Experience Centre in Redditch determined that a three-stage separation process would ensure high levels of metal recovery and purity.

On site, between 1-2t/h of the metal mix initially passes through the metal separation module before the final stage of electrostatic separation.  The metal separation module consists of a ferrite drum magnet, vibratory feeder and high-intensity rare earth roll separator.  The ferrite drum magnet removes strong magnetic metal with the remaining mix passing on to the vibratory feeder.  This regulates and presents an even, monolayer of material on to the belt of the rare earth roll separator.  

The non-magnetic metal mix passes on to the third separation stage to recover fine copper wire at a feed rate of about 1t/h.  In this project, the recovered copper wire has a purity of +95%.

Developing new metal separation processes, such as this three-stage Magnetic Separator and Electrostatic Separator system, is vitally important to reduce the amount of metal lost to waste and of unrecyclable material sent to landfill.  There is also significant financial gain, with increased metal recovery and reduced disposal costs. Videos explaining the technology and showing the separation performance are available to view on the Bunting-Redditch YouTube channel. Additional information on metal recovery and separation using the electrostatic separator, magnetic separators, and eddy current separators is available at:

Drum magnet – rare earth roll magnetic separator module

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