From scrap to oven-ready aluminum

The new recycling plant Deral S.p.A.

Starting from aluminum scrap Deral Spa produces high quality billets for the national and international market. To ensure high production quality, the material loaded into the ovens must be carefully treated from any impurities. For this reason, the company has its own grinding and selection plant, recently upgraded by Panizzolo Recycling Systems with a new Mega 1100 hammer mill and new separation systems.

The journal recovery has the occasion to publish the interview of Mauro Cibaldi and Pietro Giulio Vincoli, respectively President and CEO of the Italian foundry DERAL S.p.A.

Mr Cibadi, when did the company start?

Cibaldi: Deral was established in 1986 in Manerbio, in the province of Brescia, initially dealing with scrap discarded from extrusion production cycles and from which we produced new billets. Over the years, the evolution of production has led us to expand the range of incoming aluminum, reaching today to be able to insert material from the demolition of windows and profiles into the melting cycle.

This evolution has introduced greater attention to the quality of recycling and enhancement of the raw material from scrap. In 2015 this process saw the replacement of the old line with a first Flex 1000 mobile drum plant in Panizzolo complete with eddy current. Over the years we have also implemented an x-ray selector, allowing us to effectively identify and separate the secondary alloys from the primary aluminum ready for use.

In Deral today we are structured for a production of about 40 000 - 45 000 t/a of finished product and we expect, for the next ten years, a production growth of the company both thanks to the new Mega 1100 and to a booming Italian market.

What are the main facts about your company?

Cibaldi: To date, the staff consists of 35 employees and 5 directors, we occupy an area of approximately 28 000 m2 of which 4000 m2 are dedicated to production in a covered warehouse and 600 m2 of offices. By 2030 we expect to be able to expand production with an additional furnace and a new line for casting billets.

As regards the flow we can say that we receive on average about 40 000 - 45 000 t of materials divided between scrap, pure aluminum ingots and, to a minimum, alligants. The output is mainly in the form of an aluminum billet and a small part of waste which is defined as slag. All our waste, slag or waste that comes out of the shredding system that is not correct for us, has an economic value and is therefore recovered.

How did you get to know Panizzolo Recycling Systems?

Vincoli: I went to a customer of the company to see a Panizzolo recycling plant at work, in particular on the crushing process of electric motors. I immediately liked the basic idea: more compact mills with a more than adequate investment and management cost, compared to a market that generally sees large machinery with considerable costs. An example? The maintenance of a 100 kg hammer is not that of a 22 kg one and with the Flex 1000 mobile drum we have processed 10 000 t of material for 3 – 4 years.

How does the Panizzolo Recycling Systems make your treatment cycle more efficient?

Vincoli: At the beginning of the business we worked with shear presses and a manual selection for the cleaning phases. In particular, our double shaft shredder produced a very large piece of aluminum (50 - 60 cm) and forced us to slow down our productivity. Furthermore, the quality of the product was not perfect, with clear repercussions at the time of casting. For this reason, in recent years we have opted for complete and more effective systems such as the Panizzolo line, up to the new x-ray selection.

One of the first Panizzolo machines installed, due to timing reasons, was the hammermill Flex 1000, started up in a very short time while now we have switched to a stationary hammermill Mega 1100. Our first need was to increase the production capacity of the grinder and from the first accounts of the new production cycle we have already seen a clear improvement. With the grids set for our scrap we have calculated a productivity of about 15 – 16 t/h.

We want to support the operators with new technologies for monitoring production, so that the plant operates every day at its maximum potential. The new software, which also works with artificial intelligence, will analyze all the operating data of the machine and will bring us the necessary feedback to understand where we are going and how we can improve.

What prompted you to choose Panizzolo Recycling Systems as a technology supplier?

Vincoli: Surely one of the reasons is that Mauro Panizzolo has a long experience with grinding and hammer mills. He has used them personally, has noted strengths and weaknesses and created a product based on his own experiences. There are other hammer mills of this size but they are not up to the processing of our ferrous scrap. I also found Panizzolo‘s technical office to be very prepared and professional.

The structure of the Panizzolo hammer mill at the manufacturing level is very good – I have visited the factory where all the machines are built. This is also supported by the fact that our Flex 1000 Mobile had no problems, even though it worked for many years under intense production regime.

What also distinguishes their recycling plants is both its simplicity and low operating costs, avoiding the need for highly specialized or constantly present personnel. Following the simple routine maintenance, the Panizzolo hammermill does not give any problems, with undoubtedly lower costs than the double-shaft hydraulic shredders on the market.

There are other models on the market as well, but normally they are mills of 1000 hp and up. In my opinion it is counterproductive to treat scrap like ours with high power systems. The Flex 1000 Mobile drum has allowed us to operate with a much less demanding system and with a productivity, in two working shifts, of between 100 and 150 t of processed material.

How important is the patented interchangeable cradle in hammer mill processing?

Vincoli: The interchangeable cradle has a simple and effective engineering that allows for really fast maintenance. Not only the extraction of the cradle, but also the extraction of the rotor itself is very practical. In a large mill, maintenance of the hammers would normally require a production stop of at least one day. Unlike in Panizzolo machines, it only takes a few hours if you do not have a spare rotor. With the Flex 1000 Mobile they had two rotors and therefore set off in less than half an hour.

Returning to the crib I think its sizing is ideal, so much so that I am sure I will retire before having to replace it. Seeing the side walls and the reinforcements below I don‘t think it will be subject to wear for at least 10 years.

What productivity do you expect from the new plant?

Vincoli: We will certainly produce at least 12 t/h, but already from the recent processing tests we have calculated that we are around an average of 15 – 16 t/h.

How is your commercial presence distributed between Italy and abroad?

Cibaldi: Mainly with regard to input, we have to make two major distinctions. Scrap is predominantly Italian, with a quantity of less than 10 % coming from abroad. Conversely, the pure aluminum ingots are all produced outside the EU.

As regards our sales process, 60 % of our turnover is directed to our parent company Estral. The remaining 40 % is almost all destined for the Italian market, where there is the presence of about 45 extruders and a small part for the European market (about 2 – 3 %).

Do you undertake any environmental policies at Deral?

Cibaldi: We are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified and we have the 333 certificate of 2011 which certifies the transformation of our waste into secondary raw material. In addition, in December 2020 we also received the environmental assertion validation certificate.

Our company’ sensitivity to the environment is growing and this constantly leads us to apply what are called the „best available technologies“ to the ovens, as well as to maximize the use of energy from renewable and natural sources. In June 2020 the new B.A.T. for the metallurgy sector, providing for a continuous monitoring system for emissions. For this reason, we have installed on all our fireplaces special detectors that analyze the outgoing emissions every 5 seconds.

As for the energy aspect, together with our parent company, we have an energy manager with whom we plan the use of renewable energy. In addition, in 2020 our parent company completed a 1 MW solar panel system and therefore many machines can benefit from self-produced energy.

How is the aluminum market structured abroad?

Cibaldi: Italy is the European leader in the field of extrusion both in terms of production and quality and in this panorama Deral is among the five main national billet production foundries.

Italy has a very large production and quality capacity with an export trend that is growing every year. As regards the final purchase area of our products, we can say that the German automotive sector is the master. Many German vehicles are structured with Made in Italy aluminum.

What are your sources of success?

Cibaldi: We are operators who are constantly active on the market, interacting with many subjects. This allows us to find news on the trend day by day, together with the classic information channels such as sector publications.

We are also part of the CENTROAL trade association, of which I am also president, because we believe that associations help individual realities. If there are regulatory problems, which in some way can have an impact, going it alone makes no sense.

What is your opinion on the changes in the sector in the coming years?

Vincoli: Major changes are taking place in our industry. In the next 10 – 15 years there will be more and more structured companies with complete systems that carry out the total enhancement of the material internally. In this process, the figure of the mere scrap dealer will disappear. In order to face the near future, companies must therefore structure or deconstruct themselves. An example? As a foundry, we collect demolition material or ready-made material, there is no more middle ground.

In Deral, thanks to the very strong demand for aluminum and the regulations aimed at reducing CO2, we are considering making an additional investment in the treatment plant. This is why I think that the 1100 Mega Panizzolo mill has considerable success possibilities for the treatment of aluminum. With the same machine it is possible to work both the profile and the aluminum casing and also other types of aluminum. However, it remains a machine with a decent size at low cost.

Cibaldi: At a European and national level, we see a whole series of incentives flourish on products and materials that have particular value within the circular economy. Among these materials, aluminum plays one of the most important roles. Aluminum is 100 % recyclable, its recycling process requires 1/20 of the energy that would be used starting from the raw material. It is used more and more due to its lightness and strength and involves very little CO2 emissions during melting. All these are elements on which we are focusing predominantly and will ensure that aluminum will become the material of the near future.


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