3 UK Waste and Recycling Facts

Environmental Facts and Figures For The UK

Next week is RWM, the UK’s largest waste and recycling exhibition, and we thought that it would be interesting to look at some of the present industry facts and figures.

Fact 1 – How Much Waste Do We Generate?

Even though we are in 2017, the latest waste statistics in the UK relate back to data from 2015.  The DEFRA report stated that households generated 26.7 million tonnes of waste in 2015, a fall of 1.1% on 2010.  This equates to 407 kg per person in 2015 compared with 421 kg per person in 2010.

There was also a fall in the generation of Industrial and Commercial Waste between 2010 and 2015.  In 2015, 13.9 million tonnes of Industrial Waste was produced compared with 12.6 million tonnes in 2010.  The fall in Commercial Waste was greater, with 15.1 million tonnes in 2015, down from 20 million tonnes in 2010.

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-1

Fact 2 – Recycling Rates

The household waste recycling target agreed by the UK Government and the European union is 50% by 2020.  So how are the individual UK nations performing so far?

Fact 3 – Metal Packaging Recycling

The last figures from 2014 show that the total amount of metal packaging waste produced was 736,000 tonnes.  Of this, 428,000 tonnes (58.2%) was recovered and recycled, often using Magnetic Separation technology in the form of Overband Magnets and Eddy Current Separators.  In March 2017, the UK Government set a new target of 69% recycling rate for metal packaging by 2020.

Metal Packaging 2

The facts and figures indicate that changes are needed in the waste and recycling strategy to meet the revised targets.  At RWM it will be interesting to see and meet the companies who are involved in the recycling process, either undertaking the processing of waste or developing equipment to improve recycling techniques.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators for recovering aluminum and steel beverage cans, please visit us on stand 5P80 at RWM 2017 or contact us on:

Other relevant environmental articles:

Bunting Overband Magnet over Conveyor



Can UK Metal Packaging Recycling Increase by 10% by 2020?

Are Revised Beverage Can Recycling Targets Realistic?

Every year, consumers in the UK use approximately 14 billion steel and aluminium beverage cans.  Of these, approximately 59% are presently recycled.  In the March 2017 budget, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced new targets for 2020, with the metal packaging recycling rate rising to 69%.  We investigate whether this 10% rise is really achievable?

Present Beverage Can Recycling Figures

Bunting Vulcanis-1097Since the late 1980’s, there has been a huge change in the global attitude to waste and recycling highlighted by the fact that, in 1989, the UK’s beverage can recycling rate was just 2%.  Globally, the beverage can is regarded as being the most recyclable packaging for drinks.

By the end of 2017, the UK will be recycling 55% of all aluminium packaging and 76% of steel.  This is part of the 72.7% of all packaging used in the UK that will be recycled.

Using reported recycling rates for aluminium and steel beverage cans, it is estimated that 14.1 billion cans are produced each year, of which nearly 80% are aluminium.  Of the 14.1 billion, 5.8 billion end up in landfill.  It is believed that if all aluminium and steel cans were recycled in the UK, the number of green bins could be reduced by 17.5 million.

The reasons for need to recycle and reduce waste are mainly 3-fold:

  1. Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill;
  2. Reducing the amount of energy used to produce steel and aluminium (recycled aluminium uses 95% of the energy needed for virgin production and steel 75%);
  3. More efficiently using the planet’s dwindling resources;

How Can The New Targets Be Achieved?

Between 2014 and 2017, aluminium can recycling rates have increased by 9% (from 46% to 55%) and steel by 3% (from 73% to 76%).  As recycling rates reach higher levels, previous statistical trends show that the recycling rate growth slows.  The latest recycling targets (2020) are for a further 9% increase (to 64%) in aluminium and a 9% (to 85%) increase in steel.

Additionally, although these may be less relevant due to Brexit, in December 2015 the European Commission proposed targets of 65% of all packaging by 2025 and 75% by 2030.  Of this, the recycling targets for aluminium and steel were the same at 75% in 2025 and 85% in 2030.

These are significant increases in the recycling rates.  From trends over recent years, it is apparent that without significant changes in the way the UK recovers, handles, and recycles materials, the targets set by the UK government and those proposed by Europe will prove difficult to achieve.

Presently, there are several ways in which beverage cans are recovered including:

  1. Charity collection schemes, which commonly only collect aluminium due to the low prices for recovered steel cans.  These only account for a small percentage of all cans recycled;
  2. At designated can banks, where the only subsequent processing is separating steel from aluminium using a Magnetic Separator.  Again, this is a small percentage;
  3. From pre-sorted refuse, where households have segregated ‘recyclable’ waste into separate containers for processing in a Waste Sorting Plant.  This is a more automated system, with steel cans being commonly recovered off a conveyor by an Overband Magnet and aluminium cans either being manually picked or automatically separated using an Eddy Current Separator;Master Magnets Overband Magnet 2
  4. Automatically recovered from mixed waste, using Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators.  The source of the mixed waste includes:
    • Cans incorrectly put in the mixed recyclable rubbish for waste collection by households;
    • Waste collection from city centres;
    • Industrial waste collection;
    • Other waste sources

The challenge for the UK Government is identifying where improvements in can recovery can be made.  Further automation and less reliance on the general public may be required.

The Future

There has been a government focus on recycling and waste reduction since the mid-1990s.  In over 20 years, the aluminium recycling rate was only just exceeded 50%.  The latest recycling targets ask for another 10% growth in just 3 years.Bunting Vulcanis-1098.jpg

Also, given the present infrastructure of waste handling and recycling in the UK, achieving a recycling rate of 85% for any material will be difficult.  Steel Cans have always been a primary recyclable product, but what changes are needed to boost the present rate of 76% up by a further 9% in 3 years when it has only grown by 3% since 2014?

Setting recycling targets is simple, but achieving them without a solid structured plan will be challenging.

For further information on Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators for recovering aluminum and steel beverage cans, please visit us on stand 5P80 at RWM 2017 or contact us on:

Other relevant environmental articles:

Bunting Vulcanis-


Positive Vibes For Recycling at Waste 17

High Interest in Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators at Waste 17

Despite the rain and the General Election, Waste 17 proved to be a great success on 8th June 2017.  The Waste 17 exhibition was held at Manchester United’s ‘Theatre of Dreams’, their Old Trafford football ground, with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

“We were really excited [about Waste 17] as this was the first time that Bunting Magnetics and Master Magnets had exhibited together since the announcement of the acquisition in January [2017],” said Bunting Managing Director, Simon Ayling.

Bunting and Master Magnets were headline sponsors of the only Northern-located recycling and waste exhibition, organised by the team at Skip Hire Magazine.  The exhibition was well attended by both exhibitors and visitors.  In the external area, there was a wide range of large mobile recycling plant, waste collection skips, and vehicles.  Companies in the indoor exhibition were providing both services and equipment to the waste and recycling sector.  There was also a seminar area.Waste_17-0634

The Bunting/Master Magnets stand was located directly in front of the main entrance doors and on display was an operating Eddy Current Separator, Permanent Overband Magnet, and Metal Detector.  On the Eddy Current Separator, small non-ferrous metal was being separated from shredded plastic.

“This year we wanted to show visitors our equipment,” explained Simon.  “Having a working Eddy Current Separator on the stand is always impressive and we were able demonstrate the separation capabilities.  There was a really positive reaction from the visitors’ and we are sure that undertaking demonstrations was an important factor in the high number of enquiries.”

The team were also able to demonstrate the depth of field of the Permanent Overband Magnet, used to separate ferrous metals from conveyed non-magnetic material as found in MRFs and Sorting Stations.Waste_17-0813

“The joining of Bunting and Master Magnets has been tremendously successful.  Being together at Waste 17 gave us a chance to meet and talk with existing and new customers and show that our ability to provide a complete metal separation solution has been enhanced.  We are now looking forward to our next joint exhibition, RWM17.”

For further details on the Bunting range of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors used to recover or remove metal to enable recycling, please contact our technical sales team on:

Metal Separation Demo Success at RWM 2016

Seeing Is Believing at UK Recycling Exhibition

Exhibiting at a show is all about showing off and demonstrations.  Showing off spanners and bolts hanging in mid-air under a Twin Pole Overband Magnet.  And demonstrating the separation of Stainless Steel and Printed Circuit Boards on a working High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC).

Bunting Magnetic Europe at RWM 2016

At RWM 2016 (UK recycling and waste exhibition held between 13-15th September 2016), we took full advantage of the opportunity to ‘show off’.  And it worked!

When we ran the HISC, visitors gathered around the machine questioning how it was possible for a Magnetic Separator to separate Stainless Steel.

“Is it a trick?” one visitor asked.

Just that one question illustrated that people remain skeptical about anything they read in the press or on websites.  Seeing is believing.  And we showed that it is possible to separate stainless steel and printed circuit boards.

The Metal Separator was also working on the stand.  The complete metal removal system comprises of a FF Drawer Magnet followed by a Metal Detector.  The Bunting Europe team poured metal contaminated plastic beads into the top of the Metal Separator and showed magnetic particles being captured on the Tube Magnets and non-ferrous metals being rejected by the Metal Detector.

Although not on the stand, there was a high level of interest in the Non-Ferrous Metal Eddy Current Separator.  The recent press coverage of the installation at Recapture Plastics in Kent had been seen by many visitors and they were keen to discuss new projects.

“Footfall at the show appeared to be lower than last year, but visitors were coming to the stand with specific metal separation requirements,” said Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “Next week, we will be receiving samples to run at our test facility, especially for Stainless Steel separation on the HISC.  We have a busy month ahead!”

We wish to thank all those who visited our stand at RWM 2016 and will be in contact over the next couple of weeks.  Photographs of the Bunting equipment and stand can be seen in our Flickr gallery.

For further information on any metal separation issue, please contact the Bunting team on:

Bunting Magnetics Europe at RWM16
Bunting Magnetics Europe displaying Magnetic Separators at the UK recycling and waste exhibition RWM16 (Sept 13-15 2016)

Seeing Is Believing For Bunting at RWM 2016

Magnetic Separators on Display at UK’s Leading Recycling Exhibition

Demonstration is the focus on the Bunting Magnetics Europe stand 5R81 at RWM16 (13th – 15th September 2016 NEC Birmingham UK) with a fully operational High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC) separating both stainless steel and printed circuit boards from non-magnetic materials.


Bunting Magnetics is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors and the European manufacturing headquarters are based in Berkhamsted in Hertfordshire, UK.  Since first exhibiting at RWM in 2013, Bunting has developed a strong reputation for supplying high specification Magnetic Separators and Eddy Current Separators.

On stand 5R81 at RWM16, Bunting will have a High Intensity Separation Conveyor (HISC), a Twin Pole Overband Magnet, a Metal Separator (combined magnetic separator and metal detector), Grate Magnets, Plates Magnets and Tube Cartridge Magnets.

“We have a ‘Seeing Is Believing’ attitude at exhibitions,” explained Dave Hills, Bunting’s Head of Sales.  “When customers visit our stand we do not want to just talk about how a Magnetic Separator performs, we want to show it.  Our HISC will be seen separating stainless steel and printed circuit boards from non-magnetic materials.  On our Twin Pole Overband Magnet, visitors will be able to feel the magnetic force trying to rip steel out of their hands when the place it under the magnet face.  It will be exciting for customers and us!”

Since launching the HISC at RWM in 2015, Bunting has sold and installed the high strength permanent Magnetic Separator in recycling operations around the world.  The HISC has been particularly successful in the plastics sector, removing small weakly magnetic stainless steel.

“RWM proved to be the ideal platform to launch the HISC in 2015 and we want to build on that success.  When you tell people that the HISC can separate non-magnetic stainless steel, they do not believe you.  Seeing the expressions of those same people when they see the separation happening on the stand, in front of them, is fantastic.”

Bunting specialise in separating metals using both Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors, a combination used on the successful Metal Separator.

“We will also be demonstrating the Metal Separator.  Metal contaminated plastic will be gravity fed into a feed hopper and immediately into a FF Grate Magnet.  Here magnetic particles are captured before the remaining plastic falls into the Metal Detector which identifies and rejects any non-ferrous metals,” said Hills.

Bunting will also have smaller Magnetic Separators, including Plate Magnets and Tube Cartridge Magnets where customers can experience the strength of the magnetic force by attempting to pull steel bolts off the surface.

Hills is excited by the opportunities at the show.  “Seeing actually is believing and we want visitors to be excited when they are on our stand.”

For further information on separating and removing metal with Magnetic Separators or Metal Detectors, please visit our stand at RWM 2016 or contact the Bunting technical sales team on:

Phone: 01442875081

Email: sales@buntingeurope.com

Contact Us


Misconception of Ferrous Metal Removal before an Eddy Current Separator

4th of 5 Misconceptions About Eddy Current Separation

This is the 4th in a short series of blogs discussing misconceptions about Eddy Current Separation.  Eddy Current Separators are used extensively throughout the recycling industry to separate non-ferrous metal (e.g. aluminium beverage cans, shredded aluminium and copper etc) from non-metallic materials.

Bunting Eddy Current Separator-5

All Ferrous Metal Need to be Removed

Despite the Eddy Current Separator being a separation system based on magnetic principles, there is often a question about whether it should be used to also remove ferrous metals.

In its simplest form, the Eddy Current Separator is a conveyor with a magnetic rotor acting as a magnetic head pulley.  Due to the laws of physics, the Magnetic Rotor will attract ferrous metal and so could be used to separate magnetically susceptible materials.  However, there are some limitations:

  1. With Eddy Current Separators that have Concentric Magnetic Rotors (ie the magnetic rotor spins uniformly within an outer non-magnetic shell), it can be difficult to discharge magnetic material from the belt. Due to the high speed rotating magnetic field, magnetic material that has not been discharged and remains vibrating at the bottom of the rotor can get hot and, when the conveyor belt stops, can burn through the plastic of the belt.  This can then damage the shell and the magnetic rotor;
  2. The Eccentric Magnetic Rotor design is more forgiving as the rotor sits in a corner quadrant of the non-metallic shell and so magnetic material leaves the magnetic field as it is pulley around by the conveyor. This ferrous metal is discharged underneath and often into the non-metallic fraction;

Successful metal recovery and separation is achieved by focusing on specific materials at key points in the process and this means removing as much ferrous metal prior to the Eddy Current Separator as possible.  This then leaves the Eddy Current to focus on separating non-ferrous metals from non-metallic materials.

Typically ferrous metals are removed and recovered prior to the Eddy Current Separators with:

Other blogs in this series on Misconceptions about Eddy Current Separation include:

For further details on the Bunting range of Eddy Current Separators, Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact Carlton Hicks (carltonhicks@buntingeurope.com) or our technical sales team on:

Twin Pole Overband Magnet Solution for Hanbury Plastics

Enhanced Ferrous Metal Separation from Bunting Magnetics

Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd has worked closely with Hanbury Plastics Recycling (HPR) to provide a bespoke Magnetic Separation solution for metal separation.

From their operation in Stoke-on-Trent, HPR specialise in creating high quality plastic feedstock materials, by sorting commingled commercial, industrial and post-consumer waste into separated polymer streams of high purity.  Recycled plastics are available from HPR in a variety of formats, including bales, shred, regrind, agglomerate and compound.Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-7975

HPR operate 24 hours a day and continues to increase capacity for both infeed and output.  The design capacity of the plant is approximately 50,000 tonnes per year and presently HPR has an output of approximately 35,000 tonnes per year with a new 2nd line.  This equates to around 5 tph of mixed product.

Infeed material is received from a wide variety of sources including local authority MRFs.  The mixed baled material is firstly broken up in a bale breaker before passing through a Ballistic Separator from which there are 3 fractions:  -10mm fines; Fines and Paper; and +10mm material.

The +10mm fraction is then passed under a Bunting Overband Cross Belt Magnet to remove and recover the ferrous metals before passing over an Eddy Current Separator, which removes the non-ferrous metals.  The metal-free material is then processed over a series of NIR (Near Infrared Sensors) Sorting Systems to further segregate the plastic into different grades.

The quality of the end product and the subtle tuning of the final stage separation system is dependent on each stage of separation.  Bunting worked with HPR on the primary magnetic separation stage to efficiently remove the ferrous metal.  This involved several site visits from Carlton Hicks, Bunting’s Sales Manager, to assess and discuss the application and potential locations for the Magnetic Separator with HPR.  With experience gained from magnetic separation installations in many other recycling operations, Carlton was able to recommend the best solution in terms of the type, design and size of magnetic separator.

The main conveyor transporting the broken baled material is 1.5m wide and inclined at approx. 30 degrees.  Bunting assessed the application and concluded that the optimum solution was a Twin-Pole Overband Cross Belt Magnetic Separator.  Unlike single pole designs, the Twin-Pole version produces higher and stronger magnetic fields, increasing the level of ferrous metal separation.  The Overband Cross Belt Magnetic Separator is suspended across the conveyor, lifting magnetically susceptible materials such as steel cans and lids, which is then discharged to the side by a continuously revolving rubber cleated belt.  The Twin-Pole Magnetic Box is designed to stretch across the whole width of the feed conveyor, with enough excess to enable the discharge of ferrous metals well away from the feed material.

Bunting Overband Magnet over Conveyor

Roger Evans, Hanbury’s Managing Director explained the reasoning behind purchasing the Bunting magnet.  “Bunting was able to manufacture a bespoke solution based on their experience of the application rather than simply provide an ‘off the shelf’ solution.”

Bunting provide a range of metal separation solutions for the recycling industry.  For further details on the Bunting range of Eddy Current Separators, Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact Carlton Hicks (carltonhicks@buntingeurope.com) or our technical sales team on:

Hanbury Plastics Bunting Overband Magnet-7946

Metal Recovery from Old Landfill Tips

Wheatway and Cotswold Recycling Use Bunting Magnets to Remove Steel from Old Landfill

A single Cross Belt Overband Magnet and five Magnetic Separation Pulleys supplied by Bunting Magnetics have been installed by Wheatway of Gloucester on mobile screens owned and used by Cotswold Recycling Company Limited, based near Bristol.  The screens are being used as part of a process to rework an old landfill site.

Cotswold Recycling has a two-year project for re-processing landfill on an old site near Reading, Berkshire.  The landfill originated from industrial and commercial waste and is being reworked and the area cleansed to enable the building of houses.  They are using a range of Powerscreen mobile screens to size and segregate the material.  Cotswold Recycling was established in 2001 and offer up-to-date crushing and screening equipment to hire or on contract.  Their equipment enables effective recycling, reducing costs and producing a re-useable product.


The landfill site had approximately 400,000 tonnes of material that required processing.  Originally closed in the mid 1990’s, the site had been used for industrial and commercial tipping for over 15 years.

One issue facing Cotswold Recycling was efficiently removing any steel and ferrous metals from the material.  The company was already working closely with Wheatway, who specialises in providing engineered solutions and spares to the crushing, screening and recycling industry.  Wheatway was tasked with assessing the application and contacted Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd.  Wheatway had previously worked with another magnetic separation manufacturer and decided to work with Bunting due to their excellent sales support and service.  Bunting proved to be flexible when working with Wheatway, something that was essential due to the nature of the project.

Initially, Wheatway designed a tower structure incorporating a Cross Belt Overband Magnet.  This was positioned between two screens and separated ferrous metals by lifting them off a 800mm wide connecting conveyor belt inclined at 30º.  The Bunting Cross Belt Overband Magnet was a twin-pole design, rather than mono-pole, resulting in a far superior level of separation.  Although there was an excellent level of separation, Wheatway then considered how to make a more flexible and mobile solution as the mobile screens were constantly being repositioned.  Wheatway contacted Bunting and then purchased five Magnetic Pulleys, one for each of the mobile screens.

The Magnetic Pulleys replaced the head pulleys of the conveyors on the output of the screens.  Bunting manufactured the Magnetic Pulley by mounting strong permanent ferrite magnets onto a steel carrier that is then encased by a tightly fitting stainless steel shell.  The magnets produce an axial magnetic field that rotates with the normal motion of the pulley.  This enables entrapped material to be freed and reduces the carryover of non-magnetic material into the reclaimed ferrous metals.  The Magnetic Pulley is a simple and very effective way to separate ferrous metals, especially when the particle sizes are below 50mm and can be designed to be retrofitted on most conveyors.


For the installation, Wheatway designed a stainless steel splitter plate, which was then bolted onto the existing framework without any need for any additional holes or modification of the screen frame.  All the screened material would then pass up the belt and any ferrous metals would be attracted to the pulley and discarded under the pulley, whilst all non-magnetic materials continued to cascade under a normal trajectory out and away into a separate pile.

Wheatway designed the retrofit to ensure that there was no reworking of the framework and utilised existing holes and fittings.  This meant that a team of three people, including Colin Smith of Wheatway and Richard Cooper of Cotswold Recycling, was able to install all the magnetic pulleys and the chutes in one day.

Each Magnetic Pulley is fitted underneath a 900mm wide conveyor belt carrying approximately 50 tonnes per hour of minus 40mm material and, depending on the area of the landfill being processed, removes up to 5% magnetics.  The magnetics are then passed on for further processing to recover, clean and reuse the steel and other ferrous metals.

Richard Cooper of Cotswold Recycling commented on the Bunting equipment, stating, “The magnetic pulleys are very good and are working remarkably well, especially considering what’s going over them.”

Bunting Magnetics design and manufacture a wide range of Metal Separators for the recycling industry and will be at the RWM exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham in September.

For further details on the Bunting range of Eddy Current Separators, Magnetic Separators and Metal Detectors please contact Carlton Hicks (carltonhicks@buntingeurope.com) or our technical sales team on:


3 Overband Magnet Installation Problems

Common Problems Installing an Overband Magnet

The Cross Belt Overband Magnet is one of the most commonly used Magnetic Separators.  The simple design of two pulleys mounted on a frame with a magnetic block in the middle has been manufactured for decades.  As the name suggests, the Cross Belt Overband Magnet is positioned above a conveyor, either over the head pulley, or more, commonly across the belt.

Bunting Vulcanis-1163.jpg

Unfortunately, the separation performance is often poorer than expected simply because the installation is not correct.  Here are 3 typical installation issues that can be easily remedied to improve the level of separation:

  1. Being suspended too high

    Every Cross Belt Overband Magnet will be designed to operate at a specific height above the conveyor.  To accommodate an occasional surge of material, the Overband Magnet can be temporarily raised and then, as the magnetic field is further away from the conveyor belt, the separation performance falls.  Often, when the Overband Magnet is raised it is not then lowered back to the original position resulting in an ongoing poor separation performance.  If surges are common, a larger Cross Belt Overband Magnet suspended at a higher height may be the solution;

  2. Being too narrow for the conveyor

    This can occur from day one, with the Cross Belt Overband Magnet not being wide enough for the conveyor width or when the Overband Magnet has been relocated within a plant.  This results in material being lifted out of the material and then dropped back onto the conveyor as the magnetic block is not wide enough to transfer and discharge the metal outside of the belt and framework.  The only solution is often to invest in a wider Magnet;

  3. Incorrectly positioned over the conveyor belt

    Many Cross Belt Overband Magnets have a single pole in the centre of the magnet block.  The maximum level of attraction and separation is achieved directly under this centre line.  Often, and especially when the Cross Belt Overband Magnet is too narrow for the conveyor belt, the centre line is positioned to one side of the conveyor nearer the area of discharge.  However, this means that it is less likely that any ferrous metal on the opposite side of the conveyor will be separated as the magnetic field is significantly lower.  This is not such an issue with the Bunting design of Cross Belt Overband Magnet as they are all designed with two magnetic poles instead of just one;

For free advice and help with maximising the performance of any Cross Belt Overband Magnet, please contact the Bunting sales team and we can arrange to visit your site and assess the installation.  For further details on the Bunting Cross Belt Overband Magnets, please contact our technical sales team on:

Other relevant articles include:


Better and Cleaner Magnetic Separation at Vulcanis

Twin Pole Bunting Magnetics Overband Magnet Enhances Recovery

Vulcanis has designed and built a recycling plant to receive and recover steel and aluminium cans in Barking, UK, and purchased a Cross Belt Overband Magnet for steel can recovery from Bunting Magnetics Europe Ltd.

Presently, consumers in the UK use approximately 13 billion steel cans and 50 billion aluminium cans per annum and recycling rates are 61% for steel (Tata 2014) and 57% for aluminium (Alupro 2014).  For steel in particular, the UK government has set a target of 76% recovery by 2017 and to achieve this objective more recycling plants and initiatives are needed across the UK.

The inspiration for the new plant came from Vulcanis Managing Director, Mena Ramsis.  He explained, “I was not involved in the recycling industry and only became interested when I was attending a wedding and wondered what happened to the waste.  When I started researching I could see that there was a need for additional recycling centres right across the UK and decided to build the Vulcanis plant in Barking.”

The whole plant was designed and built by in-house engineers after two (2) years of global research and includes equipment sourced from three (3) continents.  A key part of that research focused on separation equipment including the Magnetic Separator for steel can recovery and Vulcanis ordered the Cross Belt Overband Magnet from Bunting because of the strength and design of the magnetic circuitry.

Permanent Magnets, which are suspended over conveyor belts to attract, lift and dispose of tramp steel and iron, are used, extensively across the recycling industry.  A Cross Belt Overband Magnet consists of two pulleys either side of a magnetic box.  A belt then runs around the pulleys, driven by either an electric or pneumatic motor.  Metal is attracted up onto the surface of the magnet when it meets the rotating belt.  Cleats on the moving belt then move the captured metal away from the conveyor and out of the magnetic field where it is discharged into a collection bin.

Bunting Vulcanis-1179-2

When Vulcanis researched Magnetic Separators, they found that the Bunting design was fundamentally different to those proposed by most other suppliers.  The most common design of Cross Belt Overband Suspended Magnet uses a magnet box that projects a single magnetic field down onto the conveyor belt.  This is otherwise known as a ‘Single Pole’ magnet and is used commonly on mobile crushers.

Vulcanis identified that the separation performance of traditional ‘Single Pole’ magnets was limited and if recovered steel cans failed to get lifted when passing through that single area of maximum magnetic intensity, then they were missed completely.  The Bunting ‘Twin Pole’ Cross Belt Magnet projected two separate strong magnetic fields down onto the surface of the conveyor belt and so doubled the chance of capturing the steel cans, thus maximising recovery.

Ramsis first met Bunting at the RWM exhibition in Birmingham and was immediately impressed with the professionalism of the Bunting team.  Carlton Hicks, the Bunting UK Sales Manager, demonstrated the strength of the Cross Belt Overband being displayed on the stand and after assessing similar Magnetic Separators on other stands at the show, Ramsis quickly concluded that the Bunting design was magnetically superior and stronger.

Ramsis was impressed with the Bunting team, “Carlton and his colleagues were really helpful at the RWM exhibition and took time to demonstrate their equipment.  They made us feel welcome.  I recall my father betting Carlton £10 that he would be able to remove a bolt from the surface of the Cross Belt Overband Magnet.  Firstly, they held the bolt at 250mm and it shot up onto the surface of the magnet.  And then my father tried to remove it, which he couldn’t.  I don’t believe that the bet has been paid as yet, although we did buy the Overband!”

The Vulcanis plant is designed to receive 2 tonnes per hour of mixed materials with no organics.  The materials are received from across the UK, including as far north as Glasgow, often from existing recycling plants that are unable to produce a clean end product of separated metal or plastic.  Plastic recycling companies send Vulcanis by-products, often destined for landfill, who then process the material, removing all the metal, before selling the clean plastic back to the by-products supplier.  Due to the variable infeed, the split of the plastics, steel and aluminium output varies considerably on almost a daily basis.  Presently, approximately 10% of the infeed to the plant goes to landfill, whilst the aim is to reduce this to zero.

Despite only starting receiving materials in late summer 2014, the plant is already at 40% capacity, operating 8 hours per day, 5 days per week.  The output material of steel and aluminium is over 99% pure with a very high proportion being exported.

Bunting Vulcanis-1134-2Mena Ramsis explained the reason for their success and their vision for the future, “When I had the first idea for the plant, the support I had from my family was amazing.  I have always been inspired by my Grandmother and Father and they gave me the confidence to develop something that many people doubted would be successful.  We are building our business by offering our suppliers and partners favourable commercial terms and on the basis of opening up new opportunities for companies to reduce their waste and recover more material.  The response from the industry has been incredible and we are already looking at expanding the plant.  Our aim is to be processing 12 tonnes per hour in the next 5 years.”

Carlton Hicks added, “Working with Mena and Vulcanis has been a pleasure.  Their attention to detail has been acute and this meant that we were able to demonstrate that the Bunting design of Overband Magnet was exactly what they needed to maximise steel can recovery.  Although I am still waiting for my £10.”

Bunting Magnetics designs, manufactures and supplies a wide range of metal recovery and separation equipment for the recycling industry.  For further information, please contact the Bunting sales team on:

Phone: +44 (0) 1442 875081
Email: sales@buntingeurope.com
Web: http://www.buntingeurope.com