What kind of scrap do you have?
This article is the first in a series that looks at grading scrap metal. There are guidelines that all scrap yards follow, but the details will differ between some yards. Additionally, the guidelines change over time and what might be a great grade today might be subpar in the future. I intend to update these each year, so you always have accurate information. Everything covered here is how Emfinger Steel grades scrap metal and, while it might also be how other yards grade their scrap metal too, I guarantee the best results when you scrap with us.
The first test
We refer to all the metals that contain enough iron in them to be magnetic as ferrous. This keeps them separated from all the other metals without iron, naturally called nonferrous. Keep reading to figure out which type of ferrous metal you have.
Prepared steel is small and heavy. It's at least 1/8" thick, no longer than 36" and no wider than 18". Exclusions: wire, cable, sealed containers, and steel with other metals attached. Even though nearly everything that you can attach to steel is worth more on its own, steel mills hate getting lead or copper mixed with their molten steel and we have to remove it before it ships.
Examples of prepared steel include car rims (without the tire or lead wheel weights), plow points, brake rotors, and mobile home frames cut to 36" lengths or shorter.
Light steel and autos
Examples include automobiles, tin, and appliances (even fridges without the compressor).
Fence, wire, and cable
Examples: chain-link fence, barbed wire, and twisted cable.
To learn even more about how to tell what kind of scrap you have, come back often, and watch this space for more articles.