Gravita Wins India SME 100 Award 2012

India SME 100 AwardGRAVITA INDIA LIMITED has been awarded as “India SME 100 Awards” in an Award Ceremony organized by Reliance Commercial Finance and Supported by Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The Award was received by Mr. Rajat Agrawal, Managing Director of the Company. Total 42623 Nominations were received and 100 Best SME’s were selected based on evaluation process audited by SDRC.

The Awardees had interaction with Mrs. Vijayalakshmi R. Iyer, Chairperson and Managing Director of Bank of India, V. Balasubramaniam, Chief Business officer BSE Ltd., Mr. Parag Patki CEO of SMERA.

Gravita is planning for exceptional growth and towards this end it has upgraded and done expansion at its Jaipur manufacturing plant during the financial year 2012-13. Going forward, the Company is planning to enter into value-added products of Lead metal to cater to global requirements.

Global supply of refined lead metal exceeded demand – ILZSG

Refined LeadThe International Lead and Zinc Study Group released preliminary data for world lead supply and demand during 2012. The data compiled by the ILZSG indicate that in 2012 global supply of refined lead metal exceeded demand by 64 kilo tonne. Over the same period inventories reported by theLondon Metal Exchange Shanghai Future Exchange and producers and consumers increased by 23 kilo tonne totalling 628 kilo tonne the year end.

Global lead mine production increased by 11.5% compared to 2011. Output was higher in a number of countries including Mexico, Peru, the Russian Federation and Turkey, however the increase was principally due to a reported 20.4% rise in China.Other key results are:

Rises in output of refined lead metal in the India, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States were largely balanced by reductions in Australia, Kazakhstan, Morocco, New Zealand and Spain resulting in a limited global increase of 0.2%. Output in China was at the same level as in 2011.

Despite a further decline in European demand for refined lead metal of 2.4%, world usage increased by 1.3%. This was primarily a consequence of higher demand in India, Japan, Mexico and the United States. Apparent demand in China was unchanged from 2011. China’s imports of lead contained in lead concentrates rose by 26.3% to reach a record of just over a million tonnes.

Cash Settlement and Forward Three Month Prices on the LME averaged USD 2061 and USD 2073 respectively during 2012, 14% and 13.3% lower than during 2011. The highest Cash Settlement Price of USD 2340 was recorded on 31 December and the lowest of USD 1744 on 27 June.

Source: ILZSG

Lead Battery Breaking System

Battery Crushing MachineNo matter which recycling technology is to be adopted, the batteries must always be drained before they enter the recycling process, since the acidic electrolyte produces several complications in the lead fusion-reduction. After drainage, batteries may or may not be broken, depending on the specific recycling process adopted.

Classic methodologies of lead recycling processes, including Water-Jacket Blast furnaces, reverberatory furnaces, electric arc furnaces, and short and long rotary furnaces, do not require battery breakage before the smelting process. The drained batteries are entered directly into the recycling process since pyrometalurgic techniques accept organic materials and other substances, which are burned or incorporated into the slag.

However, processes in which the batteries are broken prior to the recycling process are preferable due to:
(a) increase in the percentage lead production and decrease in the slag formation;
(b) possibility of soft lead production as well as antimonial lead;
(c) possibility of polypropylene recovery;
(d) simplification of furnace smoke treatment;
(e) pyrometalurgical techniques cannot accept the acid from battery electrolyte.

Furthermore, improvements in the battery production industry lead ultimately to the production of sealed batteries and other systems which are no longer easily drained. Therefore, an increasing amount of batteries must be broken before entering the recycling process.

Before the 1960’s, batteries were opened mainly by ax just when the recycling process demanded a lower organic content into the furnace otherwise they were inserted directly into the furnace. Although this situation has changed in most countries, especially in the developed ones, unfortunately it has not in most developing countries. It must be stressed, however, that manual breaking of batteries should be avoided at all costs, not only because it is a major source of human health contamination but also because it is an environmentally unsound management of these wastes. Nevertheless, some modern smelting plants still require manual breaking of big industrial batteries that cannot be broken by normal apparatus due to its size. If such technique is needed, all proper measures must be taken to provide protection to the workers and the environment.

During the decades of 60’s and 70’s, the battery breaking evolved into a mechanical guillotine or saw that greatly reduced human contact with the breakage process. They were also supplemented by automatic feed and were the first examples of entirely mechanized systems, some of them are still in use.

From the 1980 onwards, most of the modern smelting plants were adopting a totally mechanized system in which the batteries were received, transported and broken into sufficiently small pieces in order to separate the battery constituents:

The modern battery breaking process starts with the arrival of used batteries at the recycling facility. Human contact is usually minimized as much as possible so the used batteries are received and directed to the breaking apparatus by means of automatic mats or small wagons whenever possible.

Once the batteries arrive at the breaking machine, they are processed in the hammer mills, or other crushing mechanisms, that break them into small pieces. This breakage procedure ensures that all components, such as lead plates, connectors, plastic boxes and acid electrolyte are easily separated in the subsequent steps.

After breakage, the lead oxides and sulfates are separated from the other materials by gravity in water by a system of moving mesh conveyers. After separation, they are directed to a furnace, in case of pyrometalurgic techniques, or for other processes, for example hydrometallurgical techniques.

After the first rough breakage, sometimes there are other crushing mechanisms that further decrease the size of the remaining materials. The metallic parts, including lead plates, grids, connectors and terminals, are then separated from the organic parts, which include boxes, either polypropylene, ebonite or PVC, in the form of the plate separators, etc., by means of density difference in hydraulic separators which differ from process to process.

Other processes, through use of density properties and hydraulic mechanisms, separate the broken battery pieces in three different layers: the first one is constituted of light fractions such as plastics, the second is constituted of fine granular pieces of lead oxide and sulfates and the third one is the heavy layer consisting of lead plates, connectors, etc. This method, therefore, lacks the filtration step in order to remove lead compounds prior to plastic recovery. However, the complexity of these systems make them difficult to regulate and use.

After these separation steps, the organic layer is further separated into polypropylene wastes (called light organics), and separators and ebonite (called heavy organics). The light organics are then washed to remove traces of lead oxides, milled to small pieces, according to their future use, while the ebonite and separators are conveniently stored. Unless the breakage system is connected to the oven in a continuous process, the lead compounds and metallic parts are also stored until further processing.

Battery breaking methods differ from one another in process details and evolve as new technology becomes available. The suitability of each one for a given lead recovery plant depends on several specific factors such as local economy, quantity of raw materials as well as the demands of the smelting facility. Some examples of these systems are the Metaleurop, Bunker Hill, Gravita Technomech and MA Engineering, which can be understood in detail by consulting specialized references.

Nevertheless, every effort should be made to eliminate the use of manual battery breaking and the health and safety risks that are associated with this practice. If mechanical battery breaking equipment is unavailable, for whatever reason, the safest approach to prepare the battery for smelting would be the following: puncture and drain the electrolyte for the battery and treat it accordingly; remove the top of the battery complete with plates and separators using a circular saw and observing the correct use of guards and protective equipment; send the plates and grids with the top of the battery to the smelter; return the battery case to the manufacturer for reuse.

This section, and the other two sections in the lead reduction and lead refining processes, is not designed to describe or extensively list all possible sources of contamination that may occur in the lead recovery processes, since this is almost an impossible task. It is designed, instead, to itemize just a short and predictable list of common contamination sources and where to look when searching for them. Specific sources of contamination will have to be determined in the light of the process employed. Methods of contamination prevention will be treated in the environmental protection chapter. That stated, the common sources of environmental impacts in the battery breaking process are then:

(a) Spilling batteriesacid electrolyte and lead dust contamination source: battery spillage may be a very common source of environmental contamination as well as human health injuries since the electrolyte is not only a strongly corrosive solution but also a good carrier of soluble lead and lead particulates. Therefore, if this solution spills in an unprotected area, it may contaminate the soil or injure workers. Besides, after spilling on unprotected soil, the soil itself becomes a source of lead dust once the solution evaporates and the lead becomes incorporated into soil particles which may be blown by wind or raised by vehicle transit;

(b) Manual battery breakingsource of human health injury and environmental damage through heavy spillage and lead contaminated dust formation: manual breaking usually relies on primitive tools, poorly protected workers and no environmental protection whatsoever. The situation is even worst in the case of sealed batteries, which are not easily drained, increasing dramatically the risk of heavy spillage and damage to human health. Therefore, it should be avoided at all costs;

(c) Mechanical battery breakingsource of lead particulate: the process of breaking batteries through crushing on hammer mills may spread lead particulate. However, the fact that the mill is sealed and uses copious quantities of water the formation of such particulates is prevented.

(d) Hydraulic separationscontaminated water leakage: the hydraulic separations, both metallic from organic and heavy organics from light organics, are usually preformed inside sealed machines and with a closed water system. However, if any water leakage occurs, it will be heavily contaminated by lead compounds;

(e) Plastic and ebonite chipscontaminated wastes: ebonite scraps removed from the breaking process may pose a problem, since they are usually contaminated by levels as high as 5% (w/w) of lead. Therefore, it is important that the final traces of lead are removed by a second wash, preferably in an alkaline solution, followed by another rinse prior to further treatment or disposal.

Scrap lead battery prices inch up on LME rise

Scrap lead battery free-market prices have moved up a penny on the back of higher prices on the London Metal Exchange, although some buyers say they are waiting to see if the rise is a temporary symptom of post-fiscal cliff optimism.

Junk batteries moved up to a range of 37 to 39 cents per pound this week from 36 to 38 cents previously, while all other lead scrap grades were unchanged. One buyer said that his company had received quotes as high as 41 cents per pound but “didn’t get a solid quote.” A second buyer noted that quotes for delivery into the South were running into the 40-cent range.

New norms for Lead Acid Battery Recycling

The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) is in the process of bringing dealers of Lead acid batteries under the newly introduced provisions of battery management. Accordingly, the dealers will have to get registered with the PCB.

Lead Battery Recycling NormsThe Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, which had been in force, stipulated those dealers and other agencies handling lead acid batteries should file half-yearly returns on the number of batteries being handled. The rules were intended to ensure that the chemicals used in batteries are not handled unscientifically. There is a potential threat of polluting the environment due to improper handling or spilling of acid and other chemicals used in the battery. The new measure to get dealers registered with the PCB has been introduced as the direction on filing of half-yearly returns was not effective, a senior official of the PCB told The Hindu. The board had already asked 35 dealers to register with the board as per rules.

The initiative is to ensure accountability among dealers. Old batteries have to be disposed of scientifically or recycled in accordance with established norms to ensure that no pollution of environment takes place in the process. There are two battery recycling units in Kerala (in Palakkad and Pathanamthitta) which have been registered with the PCB.

While established companies have a mechanism to track down the batteries in use and recycling of them, there are local manufacturers who have inadequate set-up to handle hazardous chemicals or insufficient awareness, ultimately contributing to environmental degradation. The used battery would have to be neutralized under technical supervision.

Under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, it is mandatory for manufacturers, assemblers, re-conditioners, importers and dealers to comply with the statutory requirements to ensure that used batteries were collected back against new batteries sold. The manufacturers, assemblers and re-conditioners were to file half-yearly returns of their sales and buy-back to the PCB concerned.

The rules also stipulated that collection centers be set up either individually or jointly at various places for collection of used batteries from consumers or dealers. The used batteries collected are to be sold only to the registered recyclers.

Source: The Hindu