The lockout/tagout standard, 29 CFR 1910.147, is arguably the best Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard ever written. For the price of a lock and tag, an employee can be confident he or she is protected from the sudden release of hazardous energy while performing maintenance, cleaning or servicing activities on equipment. When performed correctly, lockout/tagout is extremely beneficial; however, when performed incorrectly, serious injuries and fatalities may occur.
During the last 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to review lockout/tagout programs for a broad range of industries, from steel and paper to chemical. Listed below are critical elements necessary to ensure an effective lockout/tagout program.
1. Servicing and maintenance activities versus lockout/tagout
I recently observed a machinist reprogramming a CNC machine with his arms entirely inside the machine. When questioned about lockout, the machinist stated: “This is a normal production operation—lockout is not required.”
This is a very unsafe practice; a multiple amputation could occur if the machine were to become energized suddenly.
Do your employees follow lockout/tagout when changing the grinding wheel on an abrasive grinder, adjusting the belt speed on a drill press or changing a light ballast on a fluorescent light? Lockout procedures must clearly define what constitutes normal production operations versus when equipment must be locked out.
2. Identifying all energy sources: equipment-specific procedures
To ensure employee safety, it is imperative that all potential energy sources are identified. Employees typically apply locks and tags on the main electrical disconnect; however, additional energy sources, such as thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic, radioactive, gravity or chemical energy, may exist on equipment. OSHA requires equipment-specific lockout procedures for equipment containing two or more energy sources. (See 29 CFR 1910.147[c].)
3. Correct identification of energy-isolating devices
When isolating energy sources, employees frequently lockout control-circuit-type devices, such as power switches, emergency stops, interlocks and three-way selector switches. This is a very unsafe practice; control circuits do not isolate the flow of electrical energy to a piece of equipment.
To achieve proper equipment isolation, an energy-isolating device, such as an electrical circuit breaker or main electrical disconnect, must be locked out. For OSHA’s explanation of an energy-isolating device, refer to 29 CFR 1910.147 (b).
Lockout/tagout ensures employee protection while performing servicing, maintenance and other activities on equipment.
4. Protection of all employees
Lockout/tagout ensures employee protection while performing servicing, maintenance and other activities on equipment. However, lockout/tagout is seriously compromised when more than one employee is working under the same lockout/tagout device. An employee inadvertently could remove his or her locks and tags, seriously exposing unprotected employees. The best practice is for each employee to apply his or her personal lockout/tagout devices to each energy-isolating device. For complex jobs involving several employees and multiple energy sources, group lockout may be used.
5. Correct selection and use of locks
While performing lockout audits for clients, I commonly observe the misuse of lockout locks and tags. For instance, I once observed 300 employees using identically keyed locks—employees could remove one another’s locks. In another case, a supervisor had the duplicate keys for all her employees’ locks.
Another problem is securing tool cribs and personal lockers with lockout locks.
The best practice is to use uniquely keyed locks that come with only one key. Additionally, lockout and tagout devices must be standardized (See 29 CFR 1910.147[c][ii].) and must not be used for any other purpose.
6. Verification of isolation: lock-tag-try
Verification of isolation must be performed by every employee prior to commencing servicing and maintenance activities. Many companies refer to their lockout program as “Lock-Tag-Try.” In most cases, isolation may be verified by attempting to operate the machine. (See 29 CFR 1910.147 [d] and 29 CFR 1910.333 [b][iv].)
7. Training all employees
Most companies train employees who apply locks and tags to equipment (authorized employees). However, equipment operators and employees who may be in proximity to equipment that is locked out (affected employees) also must be trained in lockout/tagout. In addition, all other employees need to receive awareness training on lockout/tagout and the prohibition against removing lockout locks and tags from energy-isolating devices or attempting to operate locked out equipment. (See 29 CFR 1910.147 [c][i].)
8. Periodic (annual) inspection of lockout program
29 CFR 1910.147 (c)(6)(i) requires employers to conduct an annual review of their lockout/tagout programs to verify program effectiveness. Each equipment-specific lockout procedure should be field reviewed to ensure lockout/tagout is being performed correctly. Deficiencies must be corrected through revised procedures, training or both.
W. Jon Wallace, CSP, MBA, is a safety consultant with nearly 30 years of occupational safety experience. He also is an adjunct assistant professor at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 919-933-5548. This piece is reprinted from the Workplace Safety website, www.workplace-safety-nc.com, with his permission. Wallace founded Workplace Safety in 2002.
Extending its reign
Features - Cover Story
Sunnking, headquartered in Brockport, New York, looks to add to its processing capabilities and geographic footprint.
Electronics recycler and asset management company Sunnking, headquartered in Brockport, New York, has an ambitious tagline: “We rule electronics recycling.” To ensure the company delivers on this promise, it recently has taken steps to expand its processing capabilities.
From resale to recycling
Duane Beckett founded Sunnking in 2000 as an electronic equipment reseller, but the company quickly began accumulating devices that had no resale value. “We began as an asset management company always looking to find value in material,” he says. “Over time, we have expanded our focus to recycling material.”
Beckett called upon his 10-year history in the scrap metal industry, having worked as a plant manager for Integrated Recycling Services, Lancaster, New York, and began recycling the devices Sunnking had accumulated.
While Sunnking resells whole units primarily, Vice President Adam Shine says the company recently began component recovery initiatives. For instance, Sunnking employees harvest parts from LCD displays and from laptops to create kits to service these devices.
“As a processor, everything that enters the facility is processed or refurbished,” Beckett says of the company’s Brockport plant. The 204,000-square-foot facility houses Sunnking’s resale and recycling operations, which include a semiautomated dismantling line and sorting capabilities. In 2016, nearly 25 million pounds of electronics passed through the facility, he says.
In addition to its Brockport location, the company operates transfer facilities in the New York cities of Buffalo and Syracuse where employees perform initial sorting and consolidation of incoming electronics.
“We receive material from throughout the northeast United States through three channels,” Shine says. These channels include business-to-business clients seeking asset disposition and recycling services; sites run by municipalities throughout New York state to collect devices from residents; and large recycling collection events that Sunnking hosts to collect residential material.
Shine says initially Sunnking’s business focused solely on corporate and institutional accounts; but, when New York state enacted its electronics recycling law in 2011, Sunnking began targeting residential electronics collected throughout the state. Today, Shine says 40 percent of Sunnking’s business is from the business-to-business sector, while residential devices collected under New York law or at the company’s own collection events comprise 60 percent of its business.
In addition to handling these traditional devices, Sunnking manages industrial, medical and commercial equipment, Shine says. “Our motto is that we specialize in anything with a cord or a circuit board.”
The company sells its refurbished devices internationally via online channels, including its eBay store, http://stores.ebay.com/sunnking, and locally at its retail store in Brockport.
“We began as a reseller of electronics and still heavily focus on the reuse side of recycling,” Beckett says.
However, Shine says recycling has grown to account for a significant portion of the company’s business. “Currently, our business is 10 to 12 percent reuse and 88 to 90 percent recycling,” he says.
That’s not to say that resale is no longer a priority because, as Shine says, it offers more value for the company than recycling does. However, technology is progressing at such a rate that 3-year-old products essentially are obsolete, he says. “They no longer have reuse or resale value, and you have to recycle them.”
Sunnking’s combination of resale and recycling helped to minimize the effect of the downturn in the commodities market that began in 2015. Having withstood the trials of the last two years, Sunnking is focusing much of its energy on producing cleaner streams of recyclables.
Expanding its processing capabilities
Earlier this year, Sunnking added equipment at its Brockport location to shred and separate electronic devices to maximize material recovery and to produce cleaner streams of recyclables. Sunnking refers to this process as “semiautomated dismantling and sortation.”
Prior to the company’s move to its new Brockport facility and the installation of this semiautomated processing line, Shine says Sunnking sent some material out to be shredded by another area processor.
“We wanted to control our own destiny and better market the end material,” he says of the company’s expansion of its processing capabilities. “We got the added benefit of speed.”
Sunnking uses this equipment to process low-value devices, which are manually presorted to remove hazardous items that should not be shredded.
The new machinery includes a shredder from Shred-Tech, Cambridge, Ontario; a ringmill from St. Louis-based American Pulverizer; and a bimetallic classifier from Hustler, O’Fallon, Missouri, with a magnetic head pulley to separate magnetic and nonmagnetic material. The shredder reduces the material to a uniform size of roughly 2 inches, Shine says, before feeding it to the ringmill, which liberates individual streams of material that will then be taken by conveyor to the classifier’s magnetic head pulley. The classifier automatically separates magnetic from nonmagnetic metals. The material then travels via conveyor, with employees manually separating the remaining commodities.
Shine says the company is considering various options for automatically separating this shredded material further. In addition to manual sorting, he says Sunnking has sent material for toll processing to a company with optical sorting capabilities to increase material recovery and purity.
“We would like to add that technology if there is an economic payback,” Shine says.
However, he says, Sunnking presently is focused on adjusting its recently installed equipment as it learns the intricacies of the different materials it is processing.
As part of this learning process, Shine says Sunnking is batching like devices together for processing. “We are cleaning the machines out thoroughly between each run,” he says. “That may not be the way we run in the future, but we are trying to get a sense of end markets and values.”
Shine continues, “We need to walk before we run. When we are comfortable and have markets, we will add processing capabilities.”
The installation of its semiautomated processing line has reduced the time needed to disassemble material, resulted in higher processing volumes and increased profits, the company says.
Sunnking uses a manual dismantling process for higher-value devices so as not to degrade the value of the components.
Looking toward the future
Shine says Sunnking’s management strategy is focused on continual improvement. “We are constantly looking for new innovations, processing methodologies, markets and sales channels to stay ahead of the curve,” he says.
Sunnking plans to maximize its Brockport processing plant, Shine says. “In the future, we will continue to add automation to our process as new technology emerges.”
Shine and Beckett also say they will be on the lookout for merger and acquisition and organic growth opportunities that are aligned with the business.
“One of the things I feel strongly about is that if you are not changing, you’re dying,” Shine says. “We are looking for growth opportunities—either further processing or geographic expansion.”
The author is managing editor of Recycling Today and can be emailed at email@example.com.
All bases loaded
Features - Baler Application Focus
Joe Krentzman & Son, Lewistown, Pennsylvania, expands its processing capabilities with the installation of a portable shear/baler/logger.
One of the best ways to stay ahead in the recycling ball game is to be sure a team has the best and most productive equipment. Joe Krentzman & Son, headquartered in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, is among those atop the standings of recycling companies and aims to maintain its position in the Mid-Atlantic region. It is a full-service scrap company that provides container service and scrap processing to the industrial sector and the general public.
Today, brothers David and Michael Krentzman are at the helm of the operation. They have three central-Pennsylvania locations: the main operation in Lewistown, a second yard in Hollidaysburg and the newest one in DuBois, formerly the H. Shakespeare & Sons business. The Lewistown yard is nearly 100 acres. “We could store more scrap than you could shake a stick at,” Michael says.
The brothers agree that, in the recycling game, hitting a regular stream of singles is more important than hitting a home run. That includes rounding the bases in their operation and stealing opportunities that present themselves.
“Big deals arise here and there, and they are great,” Michael says. “We love the extra-base hits. But our business is built on continuous relationships … ongoing, repeatable deal flow … and that stems from relationships.
“I’d rather have four steady customers I see a little from every month than the one very big deal,” Michael says. If one of the four goes away, the company still has the other three. Call it a mindset of risk mitigation by diversification.
The company also sells various grades of new and secondary structural, tubular and plate/sheet steel products.
Krentzman Metals Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Joe Krentzman & Son, trades scrap among other scrap processors and consuming mills and foundries in the Mid-Atlantic region as well as material processed by its parent company.
“The challenges of the past couple years have taught us a good bit about marketing scrap, which we do for scrap sellers and consumers in the Mid-Atlantic, Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley regions,” Michael says.
The Krentzmans also own Krentzman Supply company, which sells pipes, valves and fittings and plumbing, heating, cooling and mechanical products, as well as various industrial supplies.
Joe Krentzman & Son keeps improving, too, as well as diversifying. As part of a recent upgrade, the company added a new Sierra 750 portable shear/baler/logger to its main processing yard in Lewistown.
“It augments our industrial baling capability and largely replaces excavator-based mobile shears,” Michael says.
The goal was to significantly increase throughput and to lower the company’s cost per ton to process scrap. “Our primary limitation as to baling and shearing is the amount of infeed material,” Michael says. “We are configured to shear and bale full-out and have a nice flow of scrap to do this. We didn’t miss a beat with the addition of this great piece of equipment. We only got more efficient.”
The 186,000-pound Sierra 750 features 750 tons of shearing force derived from a 230-horsepower turbo diesel engine. The shear can handle 16 to 22 tons per hour.
“Given the abundance of shredding capacity in our geography and given the type of scrap we see, this was a logical choice,” Michael says of the company’s decision to purchase the portable shear/baler/logger. (Pennsylvania is home to 15 auto shredders, according to the most recent version of Recycling Today’s auto shredder list, which was published in October 2016.)
The new machine is hitting for average. “We will hit the typical tonnage ranges Sierra quotes,” David says. “It does depend on the type of material we are running. Some material adds up faster,” he says.
Joe Krentzman & Son has some obsolete material it is processing alongside new material, as it creates the optimal flow pattern through its yard to the machine.
The Lewistown yard has a Fuchs material handler from Terex with an elevated cab feeding the machine from the charge box side. “We placed the pad for our shear slightly below the grade of where material is loaded, allowing for better reach and view and, therefore, better safety and efficiency of the loader operator,” David says.
While the shear/baler/logger can be operated via remote control, Joe Krentzman & Son currently has an operator stationed in the cab of the machine. “As we run more material over the next several months, we may re-evaluate this process and run via remote control,” David says, adding that for now the brothers like having the operator at the controls in the shear’s cab.
The Krentzmans chose Sierra equipment because they like the idea that Sierra believes in doing things the way they do—fundamentally, building a relationship and being there over the long haul. In other words, by hitting lots of singles.
“That was something that quietly drove the process as we decided not just what piece of machinery we wanted but whose piece of machinery we wanted as the basis of a relationship,” Michael says.
Joe Krentzman & Son has several streams of scrap that go to the most appropriate processing equipment for that stream. “We dismantle railroad cars, and our mobile shears are great for that,” Michael says.
Even though the mobile shears are not nearly as efficient at preparing most scrap as the Sierra machine, they are great tools for other jobs. They also leave no equipment stranded on base. One of the company’s mobile shears went to Joe Krentzman & Son’s second yard in Hollidaysburg to boost production there.
Anything under ¼-inch in thickness and basically in sheet form is baled in the three-ram ferrous baler. “This makes the most sense, given the premium for baled scrap,” Michael says.
The bulk of the yard’s clean, obsolete material will now be sheared.
The company also has an active nonferrous operation that handles all grades of nonferrous scrap.
While the brothers know their company is not the biggest, they say they strive to make Joe Krentzman & Son an efficient, well-run and well-focused company.
“Frankly, we strive to build relationships with good companies led by good people who are honest, honorable and dependable,” Michael says. “Profitable deals make business continue, but dealing with good people is what makes life worth living and makes business even more worth doing.”
The author is a contributing editor toRecycling Today and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stability amidst the turmoil
Departments - Ferrous
Supply and pricing for ferrous scrap shows relative stability.
The first half of 2017 has included a new presidential administration setting different priorities in Washington, several European elections and speculation about an upcoming national Communist Party meeting in China.
Amidst the geopolitical uncertainty, pricing in the steel and ferrous scrap market has been comparatively stable, as has demand for and the supply of scrap. Pricing released in late May 2017 calculated by Pittsburgh-based Management Science Associates (MSA) as part of its Raw Material Data Aggregation Service (RMDAS), showed almost no ferrous scrap price movement during the month of May
American Metal Market (AMM), in the indices it created to measure early June buying activity, found narrow (less than $2 per ton) changes in its export indices and similar shifts in its Midwest indices, with one exception: the value of shredded scrap in the Midwest fell by $11 per ton.
“In the U.S. there is good demand and underlying strength in the steel sector, and the rest of the year is looking stable.” – Tom Bird of U.K.-based Liberty Steel
Speakers at the Ferrous Division meeting of the 2017 Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) World Recycling Convention, held in late May in Hong Kong, referred to recent geopolitical turmoil as well as to a ferrous market that has provided smoother sailing in recent months.
William Schmiedel, the BIR Ferrous Division president who also works from New York for Sims Metal Management, referred to 2017 as a year when governments around the world are “playing an increasing role” in the steel industry.
Despite, or in some cases because of, the government actions, demand for steel and ferrous scrap has been stable to rising in 2017, according to Ferrous Division meeting presenters.
Schmiedel referred to the Chinese government’s “never-ending stimulus package” as a factor in that nation consuming more of its own steel. China also has been shutting down smaller, induction furnace steelmakers to rein in capacity and limit emissions. Adding a cautionary note, Schmiedel said ferrous scrap traders “must be mindful” that government activities mean “things change and paradigms will shift.”
Reading a collection of market reports from around the world, Tom Bird of United Kingdom-based Liberty Steel said Chinese financial sector restrictions may create pressure for steelmakers there “to sell inventories due to increased short-term borrowing costs.” As Schmiedel also noted, however, Chinese “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure projects could help absorb much of this steel.
Bird said mill buyers in India “have gone quiet for June bookings” after a “flurry” of activity in April. Buyers in Turkey increased their purchases by 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with 2016, he said.
Imports from the United States, however, were down by nearly 6 percent, and from the U.K. they plummeted by nearly 24 percent. The winner was continental Europe, with the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany combining to ship more than 1.5 million metric tons of ferrous scrap to Turkey in the first quarter, almost double the U.S. volume.
Summarizing the current market, Bird stated, “The outlook for 2017 remains relatively positive. Demand should stay healthy, and there is a good scrap supply-demand balance.” He continued, “In the U.S. there is good demand and underlying strength in the steel sector, and the rest of the year is looking stable.”
Ferrous Division guest speaker Chen Ye of the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) said steelmakers seeking better return on investment should consider Nucor’s scrap-based model, which has demonstrated good financial results this decade compared with many other steel producers. “So maybe Chinese steel companies will consider using more steel scrap in order to control costs,” he remarked.
Chen also said a scrap futures trading contract can play an important role in the sector’s future. He pointed to the positive development of SHFE’s steel rebar contract, which he called “the most actively traded ferrous metal futures [contract] in the world.” In 2016, Chen said, the SHFE rebar contract “registered 43.3 million contracts (covering 433 million metric tons of material).”
Nathan Fruchter of Idoru Trading Corp., New York, a guest speaker, provided a retrospective of the changes he has seen after decades in the ferrous scrap business. He commented on the role of Telex machines in the 1980s and changes in global scrap flows during the past 40 years.
In the 1980s, Spain, Italy and Japan were among the leading export destinations for ferrous scrap leaving the U.S., joining Turkey, Mexico, India and South Korea. In the mid-1990s, Fruchter said, “Brazil appeared on the international market,” as did Taiwan, Indonesia and Malaysia.
In 2000, newcomers accepting U.S. scrap included China and Ecuador, with Vietnam joining the mix by 2010. From the ferrous scrap price index viewpoint, he said South Korean buyers played an important part in the 1990s in a role that was later usurped by Turkish mills.
Additional RMDAS (Raw Material Data Aggregation Service) pricing from Pittsburgh-based Management Science Associates (MSA) is available on the Recycling Today website at www.RecyclingToday.com/RMDAS.
The American Metal Market (AMM) Midwest Ferrous Scrap Index is calculated based on transaction data received that are then tonnage-weighted and normalized to produce a final index value. The AMM Scrap Index includes material that will be delivered within 30 days to the mill. Spot business included after the 10th of the month will not be included. The AMM Ferrous Scrap Export Indices are calculated based on transaction data received that are then tonnage-weighted and normalized to produce a final index value. The detailed methodology is available at www.amm.com/pricing/methodology. *FOB New York, in metric tons; **FOB Los Angeles, in metric tons.
Departments - Equipment Report
Recent news from suppliers to the recycling industry
Optical sorting helps Ontario county surpass recycling goals
Northumberland County in Ontario installed a Mach Hyspec optical sorting unit on the container line of its material recovery facility (MRF) in 2015, and as of the August 2016 production report, the unit was showing positive numbers, according to a news release issued by Plessisville, Quebec-based Machinex, which supplied the equipment.
Machinex installed the optical sorter for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in April 2015 at the Northumberland County single-stream MRF in Grafton, Ontario. Previous to this installation, PET was sorted manually at the facility. The purpose of the project was to increase the cost-effectiveness, diversion, optimization and rationalization at the MRF, which processes 15,000 tons of recyclables annually.
Based on these objectives, the primary focus was to update the processing equipment to optically sort PET, improve safety conditions for employees and reduce operating costs. The county requested 95 percent sorting efficiency on PET and a minimum processing rate of 4 tons per hour for containers. The Mach Hyspec exceeded the targets by reaching an average rate of 97 percent efficiency, Machinex says.
The MRF has increased PET diversion by 66 percent and is showing an annual savings of $360,000.
In addition to diverting more PET, Northumberland has seen an increase in diversion of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) to 8 percent, mixed plastics to 30 percent, aluminum cans to 9 percent and polycoat containers to 95 percent because the new equipment allows for fewer PET items to remain on the sorting belts, which increases sorters’ ability to pick other items. Overall, this project has increased the diversion of all containers by 39 percent, Machinex says.
More tons are recovered and marketed, while labor costs and residual disposal fees have been reduced and injury claims have been eliminated, the supplier says. The overall payback period for the capital investment of this project is 2.5 years.
Hammermills International undergoes ownership change
Kiefer, Oklahoma-based Hammermills International LLC has announced that prior co-owner Marlin Bills now has 100 percent ownership of the company, having bought out his former partner, Tim Csendom, in late April 2017.
Bills says the firm, which was formed in 2010 after a merger between Osborn Engineering Inc. and Nevada Shredder Consulting, has “proved very successful for more than six years.”
According to a Hammermills International news release, Csendom is no longer involved with the company and holds no ownership position in it.
Bills, now the sole owner, says Hammermills International has a focused mission: “To provide current and future customers with the best possible support in the metal recycling industry.” He says the new ownership structure and consolidation has brought new energy, “which will be evident in our equipment, designs and customer dealings.”
With the change, Bills says, “We have shed some overhead. Hammermills International will no longer offer direct installation services. However, we could, if requested, offer third-party services. We are ‘lean, but not mean’ as we continue to strive for better value and service to our customers.”
He says associated firms London-based Hammermills Ltd. and Alexander’s Machine of Fort Worth, Texas, “are also excited about the change.”
Founded in 1975, SAS Forks, Luxemburg, Wisconsin, is a leading producer of highly engineered and differentiated auto dismantlers and processors, as well as material handling attachments serving the auto salvage, material recycling, scrap processing and quarrying market niches, among others. The company will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Builtrite Holdings and will continue to operate from its modern manufacturing facility in Luxemburg.
Elmer Secker, founder of SAS, will serve as a consultant to the SAS Forks management team. His son Paul Secker will continue to serve as SAS president. All SAS Forks employees will retain their current roles with the company.
Builtrite Manufacturing, also a wholly owned subsidiary of Builtrite Holdings LLC, based in Two Harbors, Minnesota, is a sister company to SAS Forks. Members of the new SAS Forks-Builtrite Manufacturing alliance will work together to provide all customers access to the full suite of products currently offered by each company.
Builtrite designs and produces a range of truck-mount and stationary electric material handlers. The company also produces a broad family of attachments for applications on heavy mobile and stationary equipment.
Builtrite was founded as Northshore Manufacturing in the late 1970s by John Anderson and two associates. Anderson currently serves as a consultant to Builtrite Manufacturing’s management team. TJM Capital Partners acquired Builtrite Handlers from Northshore Manufacturing in April 2015.
SAS and Builtrite customers will have access to the full suite of complementary products offered by each company. The company says sales and marketing synergies are anticipated as SAS and Builtrite integrate go-to-market strategies, leverage sales and marketing resources and offer integrated and customized equipment and attachment packages that are designed to increase customers’ productivity, efficiency and profitability.