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Features - List: North American Wire Choppers

The number of wire chopping lines operating in North America has grown considerably since China enacted scrap import restrictions.

October 14, 2019

China’s changing policies regarding imports of recyclables have led to considerable investments in North America to further process and consume materials that were traditionally shipped to that country.

In the metals recycling sector, companies have responded to these changes by adding sorting equipment downstream of their auto shredders to further sort and purify nonferrous metals. They also have added wire and cable chopping equipment to process insulated wire, aluminum and copper cable and other copper-bearing materials to add value to the materials they handle.

By the numbers

The number of wire chopping lines operating in North America has grown considerably since we last published this list in 2017. While the vast majority of the 74 wire chopping lines that we listed in 2017 remain in operation today, a number of new installations have been added to the list this year, taking the total number of lines in operation in North America to 123.

Looking specifically at Canada, the number of wire chopping lines in that country increased from eight in 2017 to 14 this year.

Within the U.S., Illinois and Texas are the states with the largest number of wire chopping operators at nine each. With eight wire chopping lines, Georgia takes the No. 2 spot for the number of these systems in operation. New York trails slightly behind in the No. 3 spot with seven lines in operation. A few installations are underway but not yet operating as of press time: Denver Metal Recycling in Denver; East Electrical in Marietta, Georgia; and Milliron Recycling in Mansfield, Ohio.

Duncan, South Carolina-based Sisk Scrap Iron & Metal was putting the finishing touches on the installation of a new wire chopping line in mid-September to replace its previous line. With the ability to process 5,000 pounds per hour, the new line, supplied by Cable Management LLC, Meriden, Connecticut, is much larger than its previous line, which was capable of processing 1,200 pounds per hour.

Sisk Scrap Metal’s Travis Knight says the company installed its original wire chopping line nine years ago. He says Sisk plans to “take it to another level” with this new installation.

Many newcomers to this list also likely had leveling up in mind when they added wire chopping capabilities.


The author is editor of Recycling Today and can be contacted at dtoto@gie.net.