Modernizing Scrap Processing Capabilities - A Case Study

Written by: Josh Francis of Eugene, Oregon-based Revolution Design Group

As Seen In Wire & Cable Technology Magazine

Large BX Cable being despooled and chopped by Sweed's 5703 XHD

Large BX Cable being despooled and chopped by Sweed's 5703 XHD

Based out of McKinney, TX, USA, Encore Wire is a leading manufacturer of copper and aluminum residential, commercial and industrial building wire. Even though the company has enormous production capacity and distributes widely throughout the United States, its scrap processing capabilities lagged behind in sophistication. “We used to have a very labor intensive scrapping process,” says Scott Thompson, a Process Engineer at Encore. “It was a huge labor cost and could potentially pose a hazard to employees.” At first, Encore Wire updated its scrap processing system with a machine from a different equipment manufacturer. “It was a poorly designed and outdated machine,” Thompson says. “The only part of it that worked effectively was a small chopper by Sweed Machinery, Inc., and it worked really well.” After that, Thompson called Sweed, which worked closely with him to understand Encore’s needs, capacity and goals to be able to offer the best scrap processing solutions specific to Encore’s situation. Four years later, Encore has three additional Sweed machines customized to its needs, and the company’s scrap processing has never been more streamlined. “Sweed’s machines have exceeded our expectations,” comments Thompson.

Sweed 5703 XHD despooling BX Cable.

Sweed 5703 XHD despooling BX Cable.

Recovered Copper in Encore System

Recovered Copper in Encore System

With Sweed’s Model 5703 XHD scrap chopper and PCR 1034 prechopper, which process linear scrap material, Encore can efficiently liberate the copper and aluminum from various constructed products. Shaker tables further process the PVC, XLPE and Nylon by isolating them from the nonferrous copper and aluminum materials to be reclaimed. Thompson explains, “We produce and ship millions of pounds of finished product every year. A result of manufacturing that much volume, we generate PVC, XLPE and aluminum scrap every year, which diminishes our bottom line.” With Sweed’s machines, Encore Wire can efficiently reclaim reusable raw materials at a lower cost, all while increasing quality and volume of the company’s renewable raw materials internally. This increase in material use efficiency and labor savings has resulted in Encore increasing its bottom line and greatly reducing annual scrap loss. The ability to decrease scrap loss and increase renewable raw material use with the company’s processes is just one example of the steps Encore Wire is taking toward its zero-landfill goal, which is putting the firm at the forefront of sustainable manufacturing in the industry. Thanks in part to Sweed, Encore’s overall scrap footprint is continuously shrinking, and the company’s raw material recycling program is ever expanding. “Throughout this process, working with Sweed has been seamless. We’re in regular contact for preventative maintenance, and I can call or text any time and get an answer right away,” says Thompson. “These days, it’s hard to fi nd a company like that.” Plus, because all of Sweed’s equipment is custom built in the United States, orders and parts arrive quickly. “The locality and flexibility are great. You don’t have to wait weeks for parts shipped from England or Germany,” comments Thompson. Recently, when Encore needed a custom auger, Sweed was able to build it to Encore’s specifications and ship it to the company quickly without any workflow interruption. “It’s a great company. Old school manufacturing that’s down-to-earth and easy to deal with. They’ve got a good way of doing business—just like us,” concludes Thompson.

Encore Wire’s design efficiently processes 3000 to 6000 lbs/hr of steel and aluminum-cased BX cable in bulk and spooled form. This four-output system separates steel, aluminum, copper and plastic, and is also capable of processing all types of wire and cable including URD, ASR, ACSR, ACSS, MCM, wire harness and more.

Encore Wire’s design efficiently processes 3000 to 6000 lbs/hr of steel and aluminum-cased BX cable in bulk and spooled form. This four-output system separates steel, aluminum, copper and plastic, and is also capable of processing all types of wire and cable including URD, ASR, ACSR, ACSS, MCM, wire harness and more.