Iron briquetting increases the value of the loose bits of cast iron, as briquettes create an optimal charge in blast furnaces, where the iron is smelted and returned to useful production. Iron briquettes command a higher price at foundries than loose iron chips, as they yield more metal in the smelting process.
Loose chips typically cannot be smelted unless the furnace or charging system has been specially adapted for chips. And because cast iron chips have a high surface-to-mass ratio, they are much more vulnerable to oxidation than iron briquettes, which have minimal surface area in relation to mass. The corrosive effect of oxidation lowers the value of iron chips.
Iron briquettes take less time and energy to smelt than loose iron chips, and briquettes also produce less slag – they’re an all-around more efficient choice for smelting use.
Advantages of iron briquettes include:
- The process also allows the collection and reclamation of expensive cutting fluids, which can be reused in the production machines, thus reducing production costs. This also keeps the contaminating fluids out of the waste stream, where they can pollute groundwater.
- Pressed briquettes take up less storage space than loose iron chips, freeing up square footage for income-generating production.
- The briquettes are easier and less expensive to transport. When pressed into briquettes, iron chips take up less space, reducing transportation and material-handling costs. Iron briquettes reduce the volume as much as 8:1, greatly increasing the amount of recycling per load.
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