Copper has been recycled ever since ancient times. It is said that the Colossus of Rhodes was made of copper, but unfortunately it was recycled and used to make other copper objects. However, it was easier for the ancient recyclers to re-use copper– you could just melt it.
These days, recycling copper is much more complicated, as the precious metal is often encased in plastics or other synthetics. Submarine power cable, which is an interesting source of recycled copper, may have a diameter of 150 mm, of which 100 mm is copper. The rest is hard and durable plastics. In order to get to the copper, you need to have the means to crush that protective layer.
In other words, you need:
- Lots of torque from your machinery
- Shredding teeth that can crush the hard casing
When you have the right machinery and right setup, you can feed cable into the shredder in short pieces and use a drum screen to separate the plastics from the copper. If needed, you can add a vibrating table and vacuum to further clean the recycled copper.
Needless to say, many shredders and crushers fall short when faced with the challenge of submarine cables. TANA Shark does not :) What's your experience with shredding demanding materials? Is there a material you would like to shred, but haven't found a technical solution for doing it?