The “Peak Car” Era and Scrap Metal Implications…

Published by: ScrapWare    On: February 28th, 2014    In: Blog, Ferrous Scrap Metal

Lately, this subject has gotten a lot of media attention.

One of the best articles was recently published by

Some of points covered in the article include car-induced pollution, traffic gridlock, driverless cars, mass-transit, car-sharing fleets, and a lack of desire by young people to get a driver’s license.  Another point of the article is that newer cars stay on the road longer.

The image below was excerpted from the story.  It projects reduced auto production basis the above points.

2-28-2014 10-00-31 AM

All of the above translates into fewer cars being manufactured.  This also implies fewer cars being scrapped.

There are hundreds of automobile shredders in the U.S.  Many are using our ScrapWare software in order to make them more efficient, anti-theft compliant and gain inventory awareness.

Shredded scrap is used as feedstock for electric arc furnaces by steel mills.  The steel mills produce the steel used to make new cars.  Cars also have a great deal of aluminum and copper.  That supply chain is not too different than that  of steel.  This is a great oversimplification, but you get the picture.

There is a global overcapacity of steel mills.  Decrease the annual production of cars by 25-30 million and the problem gets worse.  It will also trickle down to the entire steel supply chain, as well as the non-ferrous supply chain.

If we have truly arrived at “Peak Car”, the scrap metal recycling industry should begin discussing how to adjust accordingly.




Quick Facts – Ferrous Scrap Metal

Published by: ScrapWare    On: March 13th, 2013    In: Ferrous Scrap Metal

As an ISRI Member, we recently received “The ISRI Scrap Yearbook 2012″.  We took some time to open it up and read it.

There are some fascinating facts contained in this booklet.

From time to time, we will present them on our blog.

Ferrous scrap is comprised of iron and steel scrap.

It comes from two (2) sources – obsolete scrap and prompt scrap.

Obsolete ferrous scrap is sourced from cars, steel structures, appliances, railroad tracks, ships and many other sources.

Prompt scrap  is generated from the manufacturing process.  This type of scrap accounts for about 50% of the ferrous scrap supply.

When we visit a customer running our ScrapWare software, we often see both types of the above.

This is especially the case if our customer is running a shredder.

Slabbed or crushed cars, as seen below, are fed into the shredder.  In a matter a seconds, a car is reduced to fist-sized pieces of metal.

From time to time, a car explodes in the shredder.

We have witnessed such events.  This occurs when a gas tank is not removed prior to shredding.  Or, in the case of race cars, when a nitrogen bottle is not removed prior to shredding.

The shredded material is then shipped by truck, rail or barge to a steel mill.  At the mill, the shredder material is melted in an electric arc furnace and turned into new steel products used once again in the manufacturing process.

Ferrous scrap is the most recycled material in the world.  In the U.S. alone, approximately 74 million metric tons of ferrous scrap was processed in 2012 by the scrap recycling industry.


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