The Cape Town based company achieves breakthrough and has found a recipe for turning recycled material into a reusable abrasive.
When it comes to abrasive blasting, most foundries rely on virgin media as the abrasive that’s used for blasting a wide range of component sizes and shapes on a continuous basis. After blasting is concluded the waste abrasive, along with the other waste materials such as silica and chromite sand, become a problem to consumers as they are classified as a “hazardous waste”, and are expensive to dispose of. This waste stream can be collected and recycled as a filler for construction-related products but this avenue is not readily accepted or being implemented in South Africa. However, Western Cape company Simple Active Tactics, has found a way to take the waste material from foundries, recycle it and then return it to value stream.
“The reduction of landfill waste by recycling is on the rise in South Africa as environmental regulations seem to become more stringent every day for businesses, and government departments begin to clamp down in this area,” says Charles Dominion of Simple Active Tactics.
“Managing the waste stream from your production process has become not only a matter of the law, but there are also significant economic, public relations, and environmental stewardship considerations. Finding ways to reuse your spent waste is especially beneficial to the environment, the user and of course the recycler. It is a matter of being innovative and finding a solution that becomes a ‘win-win’ for all parties concerned,” continued Dominion.
“Abrasive blasting applications produce a waste stream comprised primarily of spent abrasive dust and steel shot. Generally the abrasive dust itself is inert and non-hazardous. The problem typically comes from the spent abrasive and the material that is being blasted, either because the coating or contaminant contains hazardous components, or the surface substrate itself may produce a hazardous dust when it’s blasted.”
“Even the disposal of non-hazardous material from abrasive blasting can have a negative environmental impact because it ends up in a land fill.”
“We approached Atlantis Foundries to formulate a solution to lessen their environmental impact, while at the same time creating the prospect of generating job opportunities. Atlantis Foundries were keen for us to take their waste as it was classified as a hazardous waste and expensive to dispose of. We were keen to process the waste stream as we saw value in developing markets including recycled abrasives, ballast material and a source of iron for ferro-alloying and metal refining processes.”
“Our company, Simple Active Tactics, has over 30 years’ experience in abrasives and mineral processing. The company specialises in sourcing, manufacture and processing of unique industrial minerals, metals and granular abrasives, focusing on adding value through reducing consumption and recycling.”
“The waste stream from Atlantis Foundries is a mixture of used steel shot, silica sand and chromite sand. Atlantis Foundry uses a standard SAE steel shot S660 with a particle size between 2.5mm and 1.5mm to shot blast engine blocks manufactured at the facility. After recycling the shot many times, the material either wears down into smaller shot or breaks down into angular particles, which are no longer able to clean the castings as required. The spent shot is then discarded from the process as waste, along with silica sand and the chromite sand cleaned off the castings.”
“Last August we started processing the shot blast waste stream out of Atlantis Foundries. The venture has been a success for both parties as well as being environmentally friendly. Instead of dumping hundreds of tons of hazardous waste, we are now creating valuable products by processing the waste stream.
The process involves double stage magnetic separation and size classification.
Proprietary processing technology is used to process the waste stream involving multiple magnetic and sizing separation techniques, after which products are bagged into 1.5 ton bulk bags or 25 kilogram bags as demanded by various markets.”
“The steel products processed are sold into diverse markets including re-use as blasting abrasives, metal refining (as a source of iron), the ferro alloy industries, ballast for offshore drilling rigs, water treatment chemicals, brake pads and welding rods for example.”
“We set up a 600m² facility in Atlantis Business Park, which is adjacent to the foundry, and we now process 150 tons of product per month for resale. As a result, the recycling of the waste stream is saving approximately 2 000 tons per year of hazardous waste being dumped into land fills.”
“The chromite sand, which is separated from the steel waste product, is currently a “work in progress” as levels of refinement are improved. The silica sand is disposed of.”
“The business is providing much needed jobs and the opportunities for expansion are exciting. The partnership we have created with Atlantis Foundries is beneficial to both parties, with its positive impact on both operating costs and environmental control. We say why pay a premium to dispose of a waste stream that has inherent value if processed into usable products,” concluded Dominion.