Customer case

Hardox® makes the cut in glass recycling equipment

April 17, 2020 6 min read

Glass recycling

Case details

Industry Recycling

Recycling creates some of the toughest operating environments for equipment and machinery components. Glass recycling, one of the most common recycling practices, comes with many challenges. Hardox® Extreme in glass recycling equipment delivers extreme performance so you can keep your glass recycling equipment up and running longer.

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss of quality or purity. But it is undisputedly abrasive on recycling equipment. In order for glass to be recycled, when it arrives at the glass recycling plant it has to be crushed and ground down to a uniform size and sand-like consistency. Glass recycling equipment like crushers can wear out rapidly, requiring frequent – and expensive – repair and replacement.

Recycling and recovery companies themselves are taking the punch, too. The high weight of glass leads to high transportation costs, and separation and contamination issues also hang heavy over recycling companies.

All in all, squeezed profit margins, tougher environmental regulations, and growing amounts of scrap and waste create a full load of challenges.

SSAB’s wear test drum image
SSAB’s wear test drum at its R&D Center in Oxelösund, Sweden.

Case details

Industry Recycling

How glass recycling plants can cut waste

Doing away with waste isn’t just about handling the waste that equipment eats up every day – it’s also about wasted time and money due to equipment downtime. Many recycling and recovery professionals are finding that one source of waste they can control is the quality of the equipment they operate.

To remain competitive, glass recyclers have got to minimize equipment wear. As a result, they are constantly looking for an optimal balance between service life and lifecycle cost.

The wear-resistant materials used in glass recycling equipment and plants – such as ceramics and chromium carbide overlay plates – have high wear resistance. But they are expensive, both to purchase and to maintain. So simply achieving the longest service life is not an appropriate strategy to ensure profitability. Lifecycle cost also has to be taken into account. This is given by the cost of the equipment and its maintenance divided by its service life. A third factor is maintenance – the cost of materials and labor to keep the equipment operational.

Also, no dust from the wear-resistant material must be allowed to degrade the finished product.

SSAB’s wear test rig
SSAB’s wear test rig confirmed that Hardox® Extreme was more wear resistant than chromium carbide overlay.

Extreme performance for glass recycling equipment and machinery

SSAB’s commitment to making extremely clean steels enables us to offer a product that far outperforms typical 450-500 HBW wear-resistant steels. With a nominal hardness of 60 HRC (Rockwell) and a typical hardness of 650-700 HBW, SSAB’s Hardox® Extreme – the world’s hardest wear plate – meets the demanding requirements of glass recycling plants.

Hardox® Extreme crushes the competition in wear test with crushed glass

To fully understand the abrasive environment of glass recycling and the performance of different wear-resistant materials, SSAB developed its own wear test for crushed glass. Some of our findings were even published in the special issue of the journal Wear for the 20th International Conference on Wear of Materials in Toronto.

The SSAB wear test rig consists of an 800 x 100 mm (3.15 x 3.94”) steel drum with up to 34 samples placed in a holder mounted around the internal circumference of the drum. All tests were conducted under the same conditions.

A number of wear-resistant materials were tested under sliding wear conditions using crushed glass from a glass recycling plant in Sweden. The test revealed that SSAB’s wear-resistant grade Hardox® Extreme performed well, outperforming materials such as chromium carbide overlay.

Service life of Hardox Extreme relative to structural steel and other Hardox grades
test drum box
To determine the service life of different wear-resistant materials, samples are placed inside the drum and subjected to the abrasive material, in this case crushed glass.

Successful in operation

One of the first glass recycling plants to trial Hardox® Extreme was a facility in Scotland. The SSAB technical development team and Hardox Wearparts Centre Stirling Ltd. in Stirling, Scotland, collaborated closely with the customer. The results were excellent, offering both reduced lifecycle cost and extended service life. The project also acted as a platform for trialing other problematic wear zones in the facility, such as drop-pockets in impact zones.

Hardox® Extreme keeps sustainability high and wear low

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity. Does that make it the perfect candidate for profitable recycling?
glass recycling image

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