Portrait for “Recycling International” Scholz AG – (Worldwide) Steps forward in new environmental technologies Dr. Beate Kummer, Scholz AG


The Scholz Group, which includes numerous subsidiaries and firms under the umbrella of Scholz AG, employs a total workforce of about 7.500 employees throughout the world. The company headquarter is in Essingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The Scholz Group has direct interest in 50 companies and runs about 500 sites within Europe. The company provides full area coverage with collection centers and recycling sites in more than 20 countries throughout Europe. In Germany, the Scholz Group is one of the few recycling companies which are able to provide a complete recycling system by means of a wide range of processing methods. In facilities in Germany and Hungary, the Scholz Alumimium group manufactures a variety of products from secondary scrap aluminium, such as aluminium casting alloys for the light metal industry. In addition, the Scholz group operates one of Germany’s most flexible steel trading firms, Scholz Edelstahl GmbH. Due to its unique logistics and warehousing strategy, the firm can supply steel of any grade upon short notice. Scholz Industrieservice GmbH has established itself as a reliable partner for innovative service concepts for industrial firms throughout southern Germany. The Scholz Group is also poised for expansion outside Europe. In addition to operating sites in the U.S.A. and in Mexico, Scholz also plans to expand its business activities to Central and South America. The Chinese recycling market promises to have great potential, and the operations were
intensified in the last years.

Scholz AG, along with its subsidiaries, is among Europe`s leading recyclers of steel and metal scrap and a worldwide leader in know-how-transfer and development of new recycling technologies. Holistic thinking, responsibility and dedication are distinctive features of the employees in all the locations. Because steel and metal recycling is all about quality, precision and efficiency as well as responsibility towards the customers by facilitating their production processes and promoting their competitiveness. But recycling means also paying heed to the aspects of ecology and economy. Intelligent processes and procedures are needed. The Scholz group is an important constituent of a 100 % cycle from secondary raw materials to finished products. The main task is to coordinate and organise the
collection and recycling of steel scrap. For example, old cars, home appliances, machinery, industrial plants, building and bridge structures as well as any kind of new scrap produced in the course of industrial processing of materials containing iron and other metals are turned into the high quality raw material “steel scrap”. In the following article it is tried to introduce to some of the characteristic processes which are established in different locations.

Treatment plants for heavy and light shredder fractions Europe`s best example for automotive recycling

In order to meet the recycling and recovery rates of the ELV directive starting from 1st January 2006, Scholz AG invested in a new Post-Shredder-Technology in Leipzig-Espenhain (established by the Scholz group). The pressed car bodies are fed into the Kondirator for shredding, directly recyclable steel scrap is recovered in the process. The heavy shredder fraction mainly consists of non-magnetic metals, metalbearing composites and plastics composites. The light shredder fraction includes textiles, fibrous material, paints, polyurethane foams, plastics, rubber and glass. Apart from the steel scrap, all other fractions are further subjected to dry-mechanical treatment at the company Sächsische Recyclingwerke GmbH, located in Leipzig-Espenhain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scholz Recycling AG & Co. KG. The following products were recovered from the heavy shredder fraction by means of magnetic separation, classification by sieving and eddy current separation. The technology has been in operation since 2005  when the landfilling ban in Germany came into force – it is apparently still the only one in Europe that generates various metal and plastics fractions from the heavy and light shredder fractions fully automatically. All the ASR fractions from Scholz group in total about 220.000 t/a- are now treated in Leipzig-Espenhain.

The process to recycle the light fraction takes into account, that the scrap fractions have high flotating shares of the different scrap fractions: automotive, mixed scrap, consumer scrap, etc. Therefore the result is a much higher amount of mineralic parts in the shredder light fraction. The process ends up in three different products:

  • metallic product (steel, non ferrous metals)
  • mineralic product (sand, glass etc.)
  • high calorific product (plastic, rubber, wood, foam, foils etc.)

Systematic surveys over years have shown that it makes sense to produce two different products for energy recovery on behalf of content. For the products there are different recycling options:

1. Mineralic product (EWC 19 12 09): recycling as landfilling material
2. Light fractions 1 and 2 (EWC 19 12 10): energetic recovery
3. Light fraction 3 (EWC 19 12 04): input product for plastic sorting
4. Heavy fraction (EWC 19 10 06): fraction for further processing to separate the ferrous and non ferrous metals

With these processes Scholz group was able to proof in different shredder surveys that high recycling quotas and high metal gaining rates are reached:

  • Recycling of carbon steel: 98,9%
  • Recycling of non ferrous metals (e.g. wires) 94,9%

Due to the fact that the landfilling of the high calorific value fraction is no longer permitted since 2005, the further treatment of the particular plastics fraction was in the centre of interest during the last years. Firstly, as much adhering metal as possible was to be separated from this heterogeneous plastics fraction and secondly the plastics were to be sorted into their various fractions. In this case Scholz decided to cooperate with the plastic recycling industry to reach in the future even higher recycling rates and fulfill the demands of ELV directive from 2015.

Scholz Aluminium: Recycling of salt slag (ScholzAlu Stockach GmbH)

The Scholz group has beside the steel scrap activities also fast growing non ferrous scrap activities. As a subsidiary of Scholz AG, ScholzAlu Trading GmbH is known throughout the world for its production of top-rate cast alloys, rolling ingots, wires and deoxidizing agents made from aluminium. The company also trades globally in primary aluminium ingots and cast alloys, billet, rolling ingots and other formats. Within the Scholz Aluminium Group, ScholzAlu Stockach GmbH (Germany) operates as one of Europe’s highest capacity smelting works at 60.000 t/a.The product range includes the production of wrought alloys (especially for production of thin strip and foils for food packaging at thicknesses down to 6/1000 mm) and cast alloys (especially safety-related alloys for the automotive and electrical industries, for example car rims) out of secondary aluminium. ScholzAlu Tatabánya Kft. (Hungary) produces cast alloys out of primary and secondary aluminium for the European market. In this capacity, ScholzAlu Tatabánya Kft. has specialized in producing aluminium wire and aluminium granulate.The main customers are the metalworking industry, steel industry and automotive/supplier industry. State-of-the-art production technologies ensure high quality and adherence to environmental regulations.Total production adds up to 50.000 t/a. Furthermore, ScholzAlu Tatabánya Kft. is the only company in Hungary that can produce and transport liquid aluminium.

It is the most direct way to keep aluminium scrap produced from industrial working and processing within the resource cycle and economic loop. It even requires up to 10 percent of the energy comparing with the production of primary aluminium. Furthermore aluminium is as often as possible recyclable without any loss in quality. Special know-how is a need for the process of salt slag recycling. The salt slag resulting from aluminium scrap melting and refining is fully recycled into aluminium oxide.The salt slag produced during melting and refining of aluminium scrap is fully recycled in the slag and water treatment plant. ScholzAlu Stockach GmbH has continuously enhanced and optimized this process. The present day plant runs at such high capacity that there is the possibility to run the salt recycling plant also with slag from other smelting facilities.

From the recycling plant there are 4 products generated:

Salt: for reuse in the melting process
Aluminium granules: for feeding back into the aluminium resource cycle
Aluminium oxide: regenerated as raw material substitute for bauxite
Clean water: for cooling purposes

The range of aluminium oxide products are used in the cement, refractory, steel, mineral fibre and ceramics industries. The available products are in the following forms: agglomerated or pourable, both at original water content. In light of scarcity of primary resources like bauxite and therefore increasing prices, using secondary aluminium is a responsible, necessary and the most economic reasonable
way to take. It is the most direct way to keep aluminium scrap produced from industrial working and processing within the resource cycle and economic loop. It even requires only 10 percent of the energy comparing with the production of primary aluminium. Furthermore aluminium is as often as possible recyclable without any loss in quality. During the development of the salt slag recycling process through the years, the possibilities of using such an aluminium oxide in different applications grows to our actual situation, where the salt slag can be recycled by 100%. The oxide fraction is further processed and can be sold as a high quality raw material substrate instead of bauxite.

Battle Tank Dismantling

In the „green heart“ of Germany is the place where battle tanks are dismantled, Rockensußra, Tueringia. It is the well-known centre for recycling of weapons and other military appliances. Already in 1991 the “Reducing Centre” for weapons was established. In 2003 there was founded an independent demilitarization company for reducing weapons. The dismantling and scrapping steps are processed over an area of 35.000 square meters. In 2006 the company was overtaken by Scholz Recycling AG & Co. KG. At the same time more acreage was acquired at the Rockensußra site. Today the demilitarization and dismantling take place on 129.000 square meters with a total of 17 employees. The name of the company is “Battle Tank Dismantling GmbH Koch (BTD)“ and the managing director is Peter Koch.

In 2008 there was another milestone in the history of the company, the site was nominated as a verification centre, which means that BTD is the only company in the European civil sector which is authorized to store TLE (Treaty Limited Equipment) unrestrictedly. Since 2008 a lot of vehicles and other appliances were demilitarized, destroyed and recycled. A total of 15.200 pieces like battle tanks Leopard 1, tank destroyer Jaguar, air defense cannons or mine launching system Scorpions were treated in the last years. The dismantling procedures exist of 16 different steps:

1. Unload the vehicles from wagons or low loaders
2. Hand over/take over the vehicles
3. Measure radiation protection using random sampling as a safety check
4. Dismantle all components fitted on the outside of the tank
5. Remove the turret from the chassis
6. Dispose of properly in accordance with legal guidelines
7. Dismantle the drive assembly
8. Dismantle the fighting compartment
9. Dismantle the running gear
10. Dismantle the aiming device
11. Dismantle the rig and parts of the turret
12. Dismantle the drive assembly
13. Clean and prepare for destruction
14. Destroy in accordance with legal regulations (e.g. KSZE contract – Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Weapons Control Act, Certification guidelines for specialist disposal companies)
15. Acceptance by the armed forces`quality testing department
16. Market the scrap

Today the company is engaged with a lot of well-known manufacturers like Kraus Maffei-Wegmann, Rheinmetall Defense company or the Deutsche Bahn AG but also for German (Bundeswehr), the Austrian (Bundesheer) or the Swiss Federal Armed Forces (Swiss Army XXI). Peter Koch states, that the success story has an ongoing great future: “With the nomination as a verification centre our site is also interested for a lot other KSZE-states. We are interesting partners for recycling of different kind of battle tanks and other military appliances.”

Activities in Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited is a copper-processing enterprise, using the recycled copper scraps for anode copper plate production. Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited is a remarkable achievement of the joint-venture business between Mr. Zhou Yi Zhou and the Scholz Group. Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited uses recycled metal scraps for processing and develops the related business.

The total area of Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited is 85.953 square meters. The planning and the first phase construction was started in 2008. The estimated total investments of fixed assets is RMB195 million and the total investments of current assets is RMB400 million. The production capacity is 45.000 metric tons per year for that of anode copper plate with a total production value of nearly RMB4 billion. Up to March, 2011, the actual investment for fixed asset is RMB110 million and the total area developed is 22.334 square meters. The production of anode copper was started in October, 2010.

Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited and the related technology development institution have signed a technology development agreement, in which the parties will jointly study and develop the advanced technology, techniques on energy-saving , minimize pollution and labour-saving methods. This will be a solid foundation of continuous development.

Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited has 108 staff at the moment and they specialize in different areas including technology, operation, management, finance and commodity business. The professional team of Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited not only satisfies the current’s need as they are prepared for future development.

The target market of Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited is the carmanufacturing and ancillary industry, cable & wire production industry and all the related business.

Anode copper is the raw material in electrolytic copper production while electrolytic copper is a very important ingredient for processing and manufacturing of household electronics, automobiles, general electronics and power industry. For example, there are different copper alloy, car & air conditioner radiator, wire, circuit board, high voltage power switch etc. For the copper rod, this is the main material for copper cable and wire production. The clients of Guangzhou Xiangjun Copper Processing Company Limited are mainly based in the area of Pearl River Delta. The annual total production value of these enterprises exceeds RMB5 billion.

The copper recycling industry in China has developed for decades and it is now mainly dominated by privately-owned enterprises. The sizable enterprises are the market leaders while the middle-sized enterprises are the structural foundation of the industry. In this century, the trading volume of recycled non-ferrous metal keeps growing at a fast pace over the past 10 consecutive years. Starting from the Year of 2000, the volume is only with 720 thousands metric tons but in 2009, the volume increased to 6.33 million metric tons which is 24.3% of total volume of non-ferrous metal production of that year.

Copper is a very important material industry in the Chinese economy. It acts as an important role in economic, construction and social development. Copper is with high recyclable characteristic and it is environmental-friendly in terms of energy saving and low pollution. Compare between each metric ton of the recycled copper and the raw copper, there can be saved 1,054 t of coal for energy, save 395 cubic meters of water, reduce 380 metric tons solid waste exhaust and reduce 0,137 metric ton sulphur dioxide emission. The Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the Pan-Bohai Rim are the most well developed areas in China and at the same time, copper is in great demand in the areas. The annual usage of recycled copper in these areas is 75% of the recycled copper scrap usage in China. The Government strongly encourages the continuous development in recycled resources, the principle is to “reduce quantity, recycle and reuse” and it can achieve “low consumption, low emission and efficiency”. On 24th January, 2011, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese Ministry of Finance jointly launch “Recycled Non-ferrous Industry Development Program” and announce: the target and policy for “The target volume of recycled non-ferrous is 12 million metric tons up to the Year of 2015”. The recycling industry will receive a full support from the Government and the industry is well positioned to grow healthily.

Contacts for further questions:

Internet: www.scholz-ag.de
Dr. Beate Kummer, E-Mail: beate.kummer@scholz-ag.de, Tel.: +4915119381186
Heidrun Melchinger, E-Mail: heidrun.melchinger@scholz-ag.de, Tel.:+49-7365-8448

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