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With an Acculoader automatic loading system, even smaller yards can take advantage of surging overseas demand for containerized scrap metal

With an Acculoader automatic loading system, even smaller yards can take advantage of surging overseas demand for containerized scrap metal

Traditionally, recyclers across Canada have sent a huge percentage of their recovered scrap metal to Hamilton, Ontario, or Pennsylvania in the U.S., via open-top rail cars and truck trailers. The scrap is then melted down and turned into new steel. This is still the case for much of our scrap steel, but recently the growing trend toward containerization has introduced new opportunities for efficient, cost-effective shipping of both non-ferrous and ferrous materials to overseas markets. 

According to Greg Bushong, founder of Acculoader, any size scrapyard can order five, ten or one hundred 40-foot containers and use Acculoader's high-speed container loading system to fill them 25 tons at a time, in under 15 minutes each, and sell to high-demand steel mills overseas. 

"Containerization is a relatively new trend in the industry," he says. "The Acculoader container loading system can help recyclers take advantage of it," adding that this not only applies to larger scrap recycling companies, but smaller yards and family-run businesses. "With the Acculoader, any scrapyard can now sell direct to mills overseas, basically cutting out the middleman, and they can compete in the same market that the big scrap producers are competing in." 

Learn more about the Accoulader automatic loading system

Overseas demand for containerized scrap is currently particularly high; in Canada, especially on the east coast, this is not going unnoticed. At Acculoader, compared to 2018-2019, Bushong says they have seen about a 200 percent increase in installations over the past year on the east coast of Canada, from Nova Scotia down to the Maine border.

Baled stainless steel ready for transport.

The Acculoader Process

The yard space required for an Acculoader on the ground is about 100 feet by 10 feet wide which allows for a 45-foot loading box and space for a 52-foot tractor trailer combination to back up to it. Users simply place the Acculoader open-top box near the scrap pile where it can be loaded with a material handler. It runs on either diesel or electric power and uses a highly accurate, integrated scale, displaying loaded weight in real time so recyclers can maximize capacities very efficiently. Once full, the Acculoader is inserted into the shipping container. 

"We push a couple of buttons and we transfer the load into the container, without damaging the container and without having any personnel near the loading process," explains Bushong. Once the Acculoader slides inside the container, a hydraulic packer pushes the load in while withdrawing the packer blade. This all happens in as little as 10 minutes. The Acculoader's reinforced heavy-duty sidewalls absorb all of the impact and wear from loading abrasive materials, protecting the inside of containers, and the full, accurately weighed container load of scrap is ready for transport.

The Case for Kimco Steel

Scrapyards on the east coast of Canada aren't the only ones currently taking advantage of surging overseas markets for containerized scrap. Kimco Steel Sales Ltd., operating out of Kingston, Ontario, installed their first Acculoader in late March 2020.

According to Kimco founder and owner Gregg Rosen, "Our new Acculoader doesn't stop. We've shipped 400 containers of scrap metal already this year," he says. "If I didn't have an Acculoader, I would have had to sell all of my scrap domestically and simply wouldn't be able to take advantage of the great overseas export market." 

Rosen bought the Acculoader with intent to increase his efficiency exporting non-ferrous materials such as Zorba and Zurik, which he has been doing for many years. The way they did it previously, with skid-steer loaders, was time-consuming, difficult and costly. Plus, they weren't able to load containers to maximum capacities. Since adding the Acculoader, Rosen finds that he is using it more for ferrous export to meet current market demand from countries including Turkey, India, Bangladesh and UAE.

"I really bought it for non-ferrous and didn't think that I would ever be using it for ferrous," he explains. "But the ferrous market for export opened up, better than the domestic market, and I was able to take advantage of it. If I didn't have an Acculoader, I wouldn't have been able to do that. I would not have looked at ferrous material for export at all, only non-ferrous."

Rosen continues, "Greg Bushong handled it from beginning to end in the most professional way I've ever seen anybody do it. He spent basically a week here in Kingston, installing our loader and training our men on how to operate the machine. He was a gentleman, extremely professional and did everything he said he would do and more. I give Greg a lot of credit for what he's come up with, on the Acculoader design, and in the way he handles his customers. 

"We have a diesel-powered generator on ours, so it's not powered by electricity, and it hasn't stopped since we got it. I think we have a very nice installation of the Acculoader machine." 

Rosen notes that prior to their new installation, Kimco did have a tilter to load containers - but he never really liked it. "It was not for us. It takes longer. It's more cumbersome and it's a lot more dangerous," he says. "There's more opportunity for problems. The Acculoader is very simple, and it is an absolutely unbelievable safety improvement because only one guy is involved, and he's basically hands-off. It's all remote control: the operator that operates the excavator can operate everything."

"When I bought the machine, I was happy to do what I was doing before, about 20 containers per month of exported, mostly non-ferrous materials. I would have been happy to have bought the machine and only do 20 containers a month, or about 240 containers a year. 

"What used to take us two and a half hours now takes 20 minutes," he says. "I've only had it in operation since April, and from then through September I've already done over 400 containers." 

The Acculoader charge box or loaded hopper is driven into the container via hydraulic cylinder. Once inside the container, a second telescopic cylinder is activated and pushes the material out of the charge box into the container. The charge box is then reversed and exits the container as the telescopic cylinder continues to push forward, emptying all contents into the container.

Quick ROI for the Scrapyard

According to Bushong, "Costs have really changed over the years. It's hard to give exact ROI numbers because it really is a moving target. But what I can say is for yards that are doing 1,000 tons per month or more, the return on the Acculoader is very quick." 

He says they generally calculate ROI for customers based on several factors, including savings from reduced labour costs, loading times and safety incidences, as well as lower maintenance costs and general wear and tear on loaders and containers. Plus, with accurate real-time weighing, loads are maximized every time, which saves a lot of time and money in transport. "Even if you're a small yard and you're doing 500 tons, your ROI is going to be about three years," he says. "That's great on a big piece of equipment.

"I can't tell you how many times I get a call back, six months into their ownership, and they tell me ‘I should have done this five years ago.'"

With respect to life expectancy of an Acculoader, Bushong says they haven't seen one hit its end of life yet. "Ten years into the business, I've replaced only three upper boxes. And each of those three customers had put through more than 25,000 to 35,000 containers before we replaced the tops. All we had to do is replace basically the upper half. That's about 25 percent of the original cost - and that's it. For life expectancy, I predict 20 years plus."

He adds, "When the market's down, it's the perfect time to buy an Acculoader, because if all things are equal, and you're getting less money for your product, but you still have the same costs, then it holds true that if you can lower your costs, you make money in a down market.

"It's really hard for a yard to outproduce the Acculoader," he concludes. "The current world record is 62 loaded containers in one 10-hour day, with one man. 

"In Southern California, I have yards that regularly do 30 containers every day. These are yards that started off doing five containers a week, and they're able to take their business to 30 a day based on using the Acculoader.

"If you're loading scrap steel, you should own one of these machines. Period." 

Learn more about the Acculoader automatic loading system.

Company info

4804 Granite Dr.
Rocklin, CA
US, 95677

Website:
acculoader.net

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With an Acculoader automatic loading system, even smaller yards can take advantage of surging overseas demand for containerized scrap metal

Traditionally, recyclers across Canada have sent a huge percentage of their recovered scrap metal to Hamilton, Ontario, or Pennsylvania in the U.S., via open-top rail cars and truck trailers. The scrap is then melted down and turned into new steel. This is still the case for much of our scrap steel, but recently the growing trend toward containerization has introduced new opportunities for efficient, cost-effective shipping of both non-ferrous and ferrous materials to overseas markets. 

Learn more

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