The Austrian plastics machinery manufacturer MAS Maschinen-und Anlagenbau Schulz GmbH has upgraded its DRD (Double Rotor Disc) “waterless” drying and cleaning systems for plastic film, flakes and fibers. These improvements offer significantly higher throughput rates without affecting the systems’ low energy consumption rates, according to Pineville, North Carolina-based eFactor3 LLC, the North American distributor for the company.

The standard DRD single-stage system can be used as a dryer for already washed film scrap, as well as to clean contaminated dry scrap. The two-stage DRD-DS systems are designed to handle the combined cleaning and drying of wet and dirty scrap in two steps for superior contamination removal, e-Factor3 says. The single and double DRD systems are designed to handle the most difficult scrap, including agricultural films, flakes and fibers, the company adds.

MAS Maschinen-und Anlagenbau Schulz and its affiliated company EKUMA began developing the DRD 10 years ago. It is based on a vacuum cleaner principle and works without water. In a news release, EFactor3 says, “Many customers have been looking for a solution for their costly water treatment and the associated regulatory requirements and have quickly found our DRD to be the solution to that burdensome issue.” The company says the DRD system has lower operating costs than systems that use water in addition to consuming less energy.

The most noticeable change in the next generation of the DRD, according to eFactor3, is the “significant” increase in throughput with only a moderate increase in power consumption. MAS also has improved serviceability by making the screens, rotors and drive elements more accessible.

The DRD is intended to be used to dry plastic scrap after it has been washed or to clean and dry mineral-contaminated plastic scrap, which is found primarily in agricultural products and in some postindustrial and postconsumer products.

The central component of the MAS dry cleaning unit is a double rotor system in a centrifuge housing. The lower rotor sucks the material supplied by a shredder and spreads it uniformly, according to eFactor3. During the cleaning process, larger and heavier impurities, such as metal parts and stones, are separated by gravity and discharged periodically from the bottom of the centrifuge chamber via a pneumatic flap. Simultaneously, the upper rotor creates a vortex of air, forcing the prepurified material into a turbulent cycle. To absorb the moisture during the cleaning process, hot air is generated by a central heater register. The particle separation occurs in the vortex using the friction between the plastic flakes, film or fibers in combination with declining moisture content to assist the liberation of residual dirt particles. These particles are removed by the centrifugal force on the lateral screens by dust collectors. After the purifying process, the plastic flakes are discharged and fed into a material-silo at the plant.

When combined in a recycling process that uses a pelletizing unit, the DRD system can use the waste heat from the pelletizer.

According to eFactor3, the DRD can produce flake with a residual contamination level of less than 0.5 percent and with a residual moisture content of approximately 2 percent.

The process is automated using a PLC (programmable logic controller). Power consumption and residence time of the plastic in the dryer/cleaner can be individually adjusted to the moisture content and the rate of contamination, eFactor3 says.

With the most recent upgrade to the DRD process, the previous DRD systems 18 and 24 containing a centrifugal diameter of 1,800 or 2,400 millimeters (72 or 96 inches) have been replaced by the DRD 21 and 26 with 2,100 and 2,600 millimeter (84 or 104 inch) diameters. By doubling the number of rotor blades, increasing the rotor speeds and drive power, the material throughput per batch could be doubled using almost the same volume of process air, eFactor3 says. In practice, the batch volume can be increased from 12 to 25 kilograms (26 to 55 pounds) for the smaller unit and from 20 to 25 kilograms (44 to 55 pounds) to 40 to 50 kilograms (88 to 110 pounds) with the larger unit. A batch time for "normal" contaminated feedstock with 15 percent moisture content is about 2 minutes, the company says. Accordingly, the hourly output has increased from 750 to 900 kilograms (1,650 to 1,980 pounds) to 1,200 to 1,500 kilograms (2,640 to 3,300 pounds).

Material that has more than 25 percent moisture may need a predewatering process in a centrifuge to keep the throughput and operation of the DRD more economical, the company adds.

The MAS dry cleaning plants are available as a two-stage stand-alone system, as well as a single-stage-system in combination with a “wet system.” When used prior to a wet cleaning process, heavily soiled sheets can be cleaned more efficiently, since most of the solids can be separated beforehand, avoiding overconsumption of process water, eFactor3 says. When applied after wet cleaning of purified material, the DRD can be an efficient dryer and additional cleaner.

DRD cleaning and drying systems are modular and also suitable for combining with recycling systems from other manufacturers as well as those from MAS.

EFactor3 offers a variety of preshredding, shredding and granulating equipment, along with conveying and separation equipment, systems integration and installation.

Schnitzer Steel Industries Inc., headquartered in Portland, Oregon, has said that it completed the integration of its Auto Parts Business and Metals Recycling Business into a single Auto and Metals Recycling Business (AMR) during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. In accordance with the revised operating structure, the company says it plans to report financial segment and operating information for the combined AMR business for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2015, including comparable historical periods in its earnings release.

In advance of its full earnings release, Schnitzer also provided preliminary results for its fourth quarter of fiscal 2015. AMR is expected to generate operating income of approximately $16 million, which includes an estimated adverse impact from average inventory accounting of $5 million. Ferrous and nonferrous sales volumes are expected to be in line sequentially, while car purchase volumes for auto parts stores are expected to be approximately 10 percent higher than third quarter levels.

The company’s Steel Manufacturing Business saw slightly higher sales volumes combined with higher utilization rates, generating expected operating income in the range of $5 million to $6 million, Schnitzer says.

Schnitzer says it expects fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of 27 cents to 30 cents, which excludes restructuring charges of approximately 5 cents. Reported earnings per share from continuing operations are expected to be in the range of 37 cents to 40 cents, the company adds. Reported earnings per share are expected to be higher than adjusted earnings per share in light of the allocation of full year tax benefits to the fourth quarter, partly offset by restructuring charges.

The company says it also expects to report total debt of approximately $228 million as of Aug. 31, 2015, its lowest level since 2011.

The preliminary, unaudited information provided above is based on Schnitzer’s current estimate of its financial results for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, 2015, and remains subject to change based on management’s ongoing review of the company’s fourth quarter financial results and the completion of its annual audit.

Schnitzer says it will report the financial results for its fourth quarter and 2015 fiscal year Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. The company will webcast a conference call to discuss these results at 11:30 a.m. Eastern on the same day. The webcast of the call and the accompanying slide presentation may be accessed on Schnitzer’s website under the Investor section Event Calendar at The call will be hosted by Tamara L. Lundgren, president and chief executive officer, and Richard D. Peach, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The largest such settlement in federal history ensures 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste will be properly handled.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer LLC that they say will ensure the proper treatment, storage and disposal of an estimated 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste at six Mosaic facilities in Florida and two in Louisiana. The settlement resolves a series of alleged violations by Mosaic, one of the world’s largest fertilizer manufacturers, of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which provides universal guidelines for how hazardous waste must be stored, handled and disposed. The 60 billion pounds of hazardous waste addressed in this case is the largest amount ever covered by a federal or state RCRA settlement and will ensure that wastewater at Mosaic’s facilities is properly managed and does not pose a threat to groundwater resources, the agencies say.

At Mosaic’s eight facilities in Florida and Louisiana, hazardous waste from fertilizer production is stored in large piles, tanks, ditches and ponds; the piles can reach 500 feet high and cover more than 600 acres, making them some of the largest manmade waste piles in the United States. The piles also can contain several billion gallons of highly acidic wastewater, which can threaten human health and cause severe environmental damage if it reaches groundwater or local waterways, EPA purports.

Under the settlement, Mosaic Fertilizer will establish a $630 million trust fund that will be invested until it reaches full funding of $1.8 billion. These funds will cover the future closure of and treatment of hazardous wastewater at four Mosaic facilities—the Bartow, New Wales and Riverview plants in Florida and the Uncle Sam plant in Louisiana—as well as the long-term care of those facilities and three additional facilities that are already undergoing closure. The Mosaic Co., Mosaic Fertilizer’s parent company, will provide financial guarantees for this work, and the settlement also requires Mosaic Fertilizer to submit a $50 million letter of credit.

Mosaic aslo will spend $170 million on projects to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing and waste management programs at its facilities and $2.2 million on two local environmental projects. Mosaic also will pay a $5 million civil penalty to the U.S. and $1.55 million to the state of Louisiana and $1.45 million to the state of Florida, which joined EPA and DOJ as plaintiffs in this case.

“This case is a major victory for clean water, public health and communities across Florida and Louisiana,” says Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Mining and mineral processing facilities generate more toxic and hazardous waste than any other industrial sector. Reducing environmental impacts from large fertilizer manufacturers operations is a national priority for EPA, as part of our commitment to pursuing cases that have the biggest impact on protecting public health.”

“This settlement represents our most significant enforcement action in the mining and mineral processing arena, and will have a significant impact on bringing all Mosaic facilities into compliance with the law,” says Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Moreover, through this settlement, we establish critical financial assurance to cover the enormous closure and care costs at all these facilities. This sets the standard for our continuing enforcement of RCRA in the entire phosphoric acid industry. And, it reflects our emphasis on working jointly with impacted states.”

The alleged violations in this case stem from storage and disposal of waste from the production of phosphoric and sulfuric acids, key components of fertilizers, at Mosaic’s facilities in Bartow, Lithia, Mulberry and Riverview, Florida and St. James and Uncle Sam, Louisiana. Mosaic failed to properly treat, store, and dispose of hazardous waste, and also failed provide adequate financial assurance for closure of its facilities.

As part of EPA’s National Enforcement Initiative for mining and mineral processing, the agency has required phosphate fertilizer production facilities to reduce the storage volumes of hazardous wastewaters, ensure that waste piles and ponds have environmentally protective barriers installed and verify the structural stability of waste piles and ponds.

According to EPA, Mosaic has committed to spending approximately $170 million over the next several years to implement an innovative reconfiguration of its current operations and waste management systems. The development of these of industry-leading technologies will optimize resource efficiency and decrease the amount of raw materials required to produce fertilizer. EPA adds that this case spurred Mosaic to develop advanced engineering controls and practices to recover and reduce some types of acid wastes that result from fertilizer production, which will reduce the amount and toxicity of the waste materials stored at Mosaic’s facilities and the severity of potential spills while cutting Mosaic’s costs for treating material at closure, which would otherwise have been categorized as hazardous waste.

Under the settlement, Mosaic also will fund a $1.2 million environmental project in Florida to mitigate and prevent certain potential environmental impacts associated with an orphaned industrial property located in Mulberry, Florida. In Louisiana, Mosaic will spend $1 million to fund studies regarding statewide water quality issues.

Mosaic produces phosphorus-based fertilizer that is commonly applied to corn, wheat and other crops across the country. Sulfuric acid is used to extract phosphorus from mined rock, which produces large quantities of a solid material called phosphogypsum and wastewater that contains high levels of acid. EPA inspections revealed that Mosaic was mixing certain types of highly-corrosive substances from its fertilizer operations, which qualify as hazardous waste, with the phosphogypsum and wastewater from mineral processing, which is a violation of federal and state hazardous waste laws.

A consent decree formalizing the settlement was lodged yesterday in the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Florida and the Eastern District of Louisiana and is subject to a 45-day public comment period in Louisiana, a 30 day public comment period in Florida and approval by the federal court.

Employees are at high risk for long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems, agency says.

Workers separating circuit boards at a Plainfield, Illinois electronics recycling facility were found to be overexposed to high airborne concentrations of lead and cadmium, putting them at high risk for long-term damage to the central nervous, urinary, blood and reproductive systems, according to U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA inspectors determined that Kuusakoski US LLC failed to implement engineering controls and monitor employee exposure to these hazards, the agency says.

Kuusakoski received 26 serious OSHA health violations Sept. 28, 2015, including overexposure, according to the agency. Proposed penalties total $114,800.

Automatic Kzl Series Fertilizer Granulating Machine

"Lead and cadmium can cause irreversible health damage, but Kuusakoski's compliance programs lack information on controlling exposure levels and protecting workers through common-sense safety measures like wearing respirators and protective clothing," says Kathy Webb, OSHA area director in Calumet City, Illinois. "The company must protect the long-term health of employees exposed to these dangerous metals."

Founded in Finland in 1914, Kuusakoski recycles metal and electronics, with operations on three continents. Plainfield is the site of its U.S. headquarters.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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