No one can afford to stand still for long in the recycling industry, and Pacific Steel and Recycling, the Intermountain Northwest’s largest scrap metals recycler, is no exception. Pacific has 46 branch locations in the states of Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Montana, and Alberta, Canada. The company’s recycling division processes some 500,000 tons of ferrous and nonferrous scrap per year.
Facing increasing competition and declining prices for scrap metal, Pacific is constantly looking for ways to streamline operations and boost efficiency. To that end, when Pacific decided to break ground on a new scrap recycling facility in Billings, Montana, in 2011, they took the necessary time and effort to develop the best plant design possible. According to Pat Kons, Vice President, Scrap Operations, “We tried, at that point in time, to say, ‘How can we make this the most efficient facility in the country?’ That’s what we tasked ourselves, and so this plant concept came from that process.” Ken Halko, VP Ferrous Products and Trading, says, “We talked to a lot of other companies that had built greenfields. We visited them and asked how they developed their layout, ‘what did you do right, and what would you not do again?’”
The same attention to detail was evident when it came to purchasing equipment for the plant. According to Pat Kons, “Prior to us buying the equipment, and we did it both on the shears and the shredder, we vetted the decision internally with our managers and our executive team. We also put the suppliers to task and said ‘OK, we want to see your equipment, we want to talk to people operating that equipment, and we want to hear those people’. So we went on a lot of tours, visiting different locations,” he says, “and that’s how we came to make our decision on buying the Metso product. We not only heard the side of the sales people and engineers, but the ‘boots on the ground’ operating it and what they thought.”