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metal scrap

The First Cut: Reducing Oversize Scrap to Size

Sept. 19, 2022
Alligator shear cuts oversized objects into more manageable pieces as an initial size reduction step before shredding or transporting them to the landfill.

Manufacturers often must deal with oversize scrap that cannot be shredded or transported easily without initial size reduction. When this is the case, a separate shear system can be used to reduce the material (whether rubber, plastic, metal, wood or composite) into more manageable pieces. By doing so, OEMs can cost-effectively recycle material for reuse, sell it to recyclers or arrange to have it hauled to a landfill.

To this end, portable, gas-powered, hydraulic alligator shears have been developed that quickly reduce oversized tires, building materials, sheet metal or other bulky scrap into smaller pieces. As a type of shearing machine, alligator shears are characterized by the hinged opening of the cutting blades which creates a tight shear action when hydraulically closed.

Although alligator shears are well established in the recycling industry, most are stationary. When designed to be portable, however, alligator shears can be towed to any site for initial size reduction, so the material does not have to be transported elsewhere for that step.

“A portable platform allows the initial size reduction to be performed onsite, instead of first transporting the oversize material to a stationary shear located elsewhere, and then possibly having to transport it again for final shredding,” says John Neuens, Industrial Consultant for Milwaukee, Wisconsin based BCA Industries, which designs and develops a wide variety of professional recycling equipment and accessories.

According to Neuens, manufacturers can use a portable alligator shear in various useful ways. The OEM can cut oversize scrap into halves or quarters with the shear and then shred the pieces into material small enough to reuse in the production process. Alternatively, an operator can cut the scrap with shears, shred it on-site, and send it to a recycler for further reduction and sale. When necessary, an operator can also cut large scrap into pieces small enough to be hauled away for disposal.

Manufacturers and recyclers often avoid processing oversized scrap like building materials or tires if they are too large to shred. In doing so, however, they miss out on its inherent worth if converted back into a feedstock for manufacturing or sales value to recyclers.

“When manufacturers cannot shred larger scrap, they shy away from what can be a lucrative revenue source,” says Neuens.

“Since many materials are too large to be easily transported, portable equipment can cut the scrap down to size on-site so it can be processed by a more affordable sized shredder.”

Understanding the gap in market offerings, Neuens’ company developed a product that reduces the size of oversized materials before shredding. The result is BCA’s new, portable PGS100 hydraulic shear, which enables OEMs to shear any scrap up to 48 inches in diameter.

“There was a need for a large portable alligator shear in the market, so we designed and manufactured a lightweight, towable system at the request of some of our OEM and recycling customers,” says Neuens. 

The unit’s 26.5 horsepower hydraulic drive provides the power to automatically lift heavy scrap onto a mobile platform for shearing into more manageable-sized pieces. This enables easy shearing with minimal lifting and/or manual handling.

“When you are dealing with 100 to 150-pound or heavier scrap, you need the equipment to lift it onto the platform before shearing,” says Neuens.

The gas-powered, portable shear needs only one person to operate it, freeing OEM personnel to tend to other tasks. To increase safety, the shear requires the use of two hands, ensuring the equipment activates only when the operator is ready.

“With two-handed control, manufacturers eliminate the possibility of the operator getting a hand in the way since it cannot be actuated with one hand,” says Neuens.

“The shear is designed to be versatile so it can be used on anything that needs to be cut before being shredded or further processed,” he adds.

“The idea is to broaden the range of materials that manufacturers can profitably utilize as a feed source for their process or render into saleable scrap.”

According to Neuens, the alligator shear completes BCA’s line of recycling products that reduce the size of materials into salable or usable scrap from start to finish. This includes portable alligator shears, stationary/portable shredders, portable sidewall removers, tread cutters, conveyors, magnetic separators, and vibratory, disc or trommel screens.

For more information:
Call (414) 353-1002; Fax (414) 353-1003;
Email [email protected];
Visit www.bca-industries.com;
Write to BCA Industries, 4330 W. Green Tree Rd., Milwaukee, WI, 53223