During our recent trip to Belgium, we met with Achille, son of Claude Depla, one of the founders of Depla Recycling located in Meulebeke, a city in West Flanders.

This company, has been specialising in the collection and recycling of ferrous and non-ferrous materials since 1945 and is considered by many local companies and the public to be a landmark company in the recycling sector.

Over the years, Depla Recycling has worked hard and invested in the best available technologies to create a   circular economy model, investing its resources in cutting-edge machinery and technology in order to perform scrap recycling and cleaning in an increasingly efficient and completely environment-friendly manner. With an extensive array of recycling and sorting machines at its disposal Depla is able to perform precise and thorough sorting, separating and  cleaning of a variety of different material fractions with a constantly high level of accuracy resulting in higher profits for the company and a lower carbon footprint for the environment.

Achille Depla: the interview

Achille, son of Claude Depla, explained to us the enormous benefits that the introduction of the three integrated Zato recycling machines has brought to the company’s production process. the Blue Devil twin shaft shredder, followed by the Blue Shark hammer mill with the Blue Sorter scrap cleaning plant downstream of both. These three machines, used simultaneously or independently, have yielded significant cost reductions and productivity gains.

Q) Recycling, recycling, at all costs?

A) Yes, definitely! Recycling in the name of safety, profit and the environment.

Our company was established 76 years ago. We’ve been in Meulebeke since 1945, and are always looking for ways to make our business more efficient and profitable which is why we are constantly researching and evaluating what could be the ideal recycling machine or system for us.

At the moment, our scrap metal processing area is set up as follows: Zato Cayman demolition shears cut bulky profiles while two material handlers feed heavier scrap in to two independent shear balers. This process is pretty much streamlined and the workflow in this small but perfectly organised area is continuous.

The buzzer indicates the hammermill start-up procedure, while the material handler feeds a significant amount of scrap to the conveyor, starting a fine-tuned uninterrupted processing system.

Recently, another blue and white machine – aptly called the ´Blue Devil` – has joined our fleet. We’ve strategically positioned it behind a wall and a large pile of scrap to facilitate and speed up the crane operator’s job.

How would you classify a Blue Devil? Is it a pre-shredder, a rotary shears or a shredder?

A)Achille smiles. “The Blue Devil is actually all of the above, depending on when and how you use it. Definitions aren’t that important, after all. When my clients ask for ‘Proler’, I use the Blue Devil as a pre-shredder to allow our mill to work with increased efficiency. This way, we significantly reduce power consumption, hammer and wear plate wear.

In case of market contraction, I prefer to process my light and medium gauge scrap with our Blue Devil to ensure good clean material output at very low operating costs!

Q) Did you look for this machine because it ensured flexibility, among other characteristics?

A) Yes, because of its flexibility and safety, for sure. Let me explain better. The presence of unshredables and potentially explosive materials finding their way in to our scrap has become a huge problem. An explosion in the mill can cause severe damage to the whole plant, putting my operators in danger and creating lengthy downtimes. It’s a risk I don’t want to take!

In this regard, pre shredding the scrap with our Blue Devil ensures peace of mind. Its low-speed cutting system and open box design means that potential explosive items such as compressed gas canisters our partially empty fuel tanks are safely neutralised before they enter our mill.

Unlike conventional toothed pre shredders which may not expose or neutralise smaller gas containers, a Blue Devil with its bladed teeth won’t let any explosive item get through and won’t trigger an explosion, just a harmless white expanding gas cloud.

Moreover, the inevitability of unshredables hiding amongst our mill feed would mean unexpected and unwanted downtimes, something which would upset the entire process of our shredding operation.

But pre shredding scrap with the Blue Devil is not just a safety measure, downsizing the scrap before feeding it to our hammer mill has increased our productivity by 50%. Therefore, Im pleased to tell you that we are extremely happy with this choice.

Q) And what about the mill?

A) The loading system with a pusher is highly effective and strategic. It allows every crane operator to manage the pre-shredder and shredder without using a belt loading system, which takes up a lot of space we don’t have.

The material handler feeds a scrap car to the Blue Devil’s hopper, which processes an entire vehicle into manageable pieces which are slightly larger than a football in around one minute. The grapple then takes the shredded scrap and deposits it into the mill’s hopper which then feeds the pre shredded scrap in to the mill via the automated and intelligent pusher. Once processed by the hammers, a rubber belt conveys transports the significantly downsized proler to a zig-zag separator and towards two active drum magnets, which effectively removes all inert material, such as non-ferrous metal, plastics, dirt and dust.

All inert material undergoes a thorough downstream process to maximise the recovery of valuable non-ferrous metals.

Sieving, an eddy current separating system, and other processes maximise the recovery and enhance the value of scrap.

A) “If a machine or process will increase our efficiency and give us a higher value end product, we want to invest in it. I don’t think we will ever be entirely satisfied but that’s good, that’s what keeps us hungry and always on the lookout to optimise our processes and to keep us ahead of the pack.

This is the future, and we are already living it.” Concluded Achille.

Few words, hard work, early mornings and long days spent on the loader under the hot sun or in the driving rain. Clear ideas implemented effectively is Depla´s recipe for success.

Ciao Achille, Thank you and “Tot weerziens!”

Watch the video of our machinery in action: click here.