In case all the missing copper didn't tip you off, scrap metal is in exceptionally high demand these days. To help meet that demand, End-of-Life vehicles are broken down into their base materials for easier recycling by a car shredder so gigantic it isn't measured in tons but rather acres.
The £10 million LYNXS automotive shredder is a cutting edge machine installed a £15.5 million metals recycling facility located at the Associated British Ports terminal in Newport, Wales. Run by the Sims Group UK, it is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world and has been in operation since 2006.
The LYNXS works much like a conventional shredder, albeit the size of a Brontosaurus. Cars are first crushed to reduce their volume, then fed into the machine. The feeder pipe allows large chunks of scrap to pas through to the shredding area while a Twin Roll Compression Feeder prevents too much material from hitting the shredder at the same time and clogging the mechanism. A series of huge, rapidly-spinning hammers — powered by a 40-ton, 11KV, 9200HP high voltage electric motor — tearing the vehicle into fist sized chunks. The LYNXS can digest 450 cars — roughly 350 tons of material — per hour. It is so big and so powerful, it had to be wired directly into the Welsh national power grid to draw sufficient current.
What comes out of the shredder is "high-density uniform fragmentized scrap" according the the LYNXS site. The machine is capable of handling a wide variety of materials. After being shredded, the plastics, rubber, carpet and glass pieces are separated from the metal bits and sent off for separate recycling. The metal, copper, ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, and aluminium are then exported globally (hence the plant's location next to the port terminal). About 60 per cent will reach South East Asia, where the demand for scrap is highest. The company exports roughly 2.5 million tons of metal annually.
Tom Bird, managing director of Sims Group UK, described the site as "without doubt the premier metal recycling site in Europe... this site used to have a staff of just 12 processing 2000 tonnes of material per month. It now processes 50,000 tonnes per month." That's a lot of dead cars and refrigerators. [Auto Express - Wikipedia - LetsRecycle - LYNX Shredders - WEG]
Image: Auto Express
The shredder's 11KV electric engine.
Another shot of the shredder's engine.
The plant in action.
The plant in action.