Abrasive Recycling System
by Richard Ward, EasiJet, Inc.
Abrasive is the single largest consumable cost borne by all abrasive waterjet cutting customers. In fact, it is not unusual to find abrasive costs in excess of $100 per hour for those operating a 150 horsepower system.
Figure 1. The Ward24 abrasive recycling system in operation.
The WARD 24 is a Waterjet Abrasive Recycling Dispenser that serves not only as an abrasive removal system, but also as an abrasive recycling system. The sludge is removed from the tank (Figure 1) with a patented abrasive removal nozzle, which has no moving parts. The sludge is then pumped through a series of screens where it is washed and separated into waste product, and good product consisting of abrasive over 100 mesh in size, ready to be used again (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Recycled abrasive.
The good abrasive is then dried and passed over a final screen where it is possible to add new abrasive at any desired ratio, bring the new and used abrasive into equilibrium.
The savings generated in field tests have indicated recovery rates from a general job shop environment of up to 70%. In fact, savings have been so great, it could be possible to save over $800 per day in recycled abrasive alone at larger operations. When the recycled abrasive is recycled for a second and third time, the savings become even greater.
As the abrasive is recycled, all associated costs are reduced, from sludge removal, to hauling away the waste sludge.
Typically, most abrasive removal systems need to keep the abrasive in suspension to operate efficiently. Settling of the abrasive can cause clogging and stoppages. The WARD 24 works best when the sludge and slime are stacked up over the removal heads. This eliminates the problem of having to keep everything in suspension. In fact, it is not even necessary to remove the abrasive prior to operation of the WARD 24. The nozzles can simply be dropped under the grates, and recycling can begin.
Figure 3. The Ward24 is compact, self-contained and easy to run.
The WARD 24 is the size of the average desk, is compact and can be placed up against a wall (Figure 3).
EasiJet, the sole distributor of the WARD 24, predicts a potential surge in waterjet systems sales as the WARD 24 proves its worth to operators. Firstly, existing operators using a WARD 24 should be able to increase profits immediately, and secondly, as operating costs plummet, contract cutters will become more competitive with laser and plasma. Many companies will need to re-evaluate the viability of waterjet cutting, taking into account the savings of recycling abrasive.
Indeed, several companies have already quoted large jobs contingent upon the installation of the WARD 24.
EasiJet is offering live testing of clients abrasive sludge at EasiJet’s facility, conditional on a company representative being present to witness the results. The sludge is weighed, then processed. A quick calculation will reveal the actual percentage of recovered abrasive from the clients waste sludge, either justifying or discarding the viability of the WARD 24.
If a company’s production is too small to warrant the use of WARD 24, the company could begin to store the sludge for recycling at a later stage, ultimately being able to justify a purchase purely based on processing the stored abrasive.
The WARD 24 has been described as the most revolutionary advancement in reducing operating costs since the inception of waterjet technology.
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