Founded in 1981 by Dr. Jim Howarth and Richard Kelly, Scantech has grown from a small, private firm based in Adelaide, Australia, to a successful public enterprise. The company, which started out using gamma rays to calculate the trace metals in coal moving on a belt in real time, joined ISRI in September. It is by no means a newcomer to recycling. Chief Marketing Officer Henry Kurth answers questions posed by Scrap News about the company and its near-term plans.

What should people know about Scantech besides that the firm makes scanning equipment?

Scantech has sold over 1,200 analyzers in 55 countries over 40 years and is a leader in analyzer [research and development] with unique measurement capabilities applied in many industries. We focus on representative, continuous measurement by selecting penetrative technologies that measure material composition and moisture in real time. Service engineers are based in most regions including North America and Latin America.

All technologies are proven, safe, reliable, and have no contact with material. They interface seamlessly with plant operating systems and can be installed during scheduled plant shutdowns. The benefits start at once. Analyzers can be used for blending, bulk sorting, feed forward control, compliance monitoring, etc. We customize solutions to supply the ideal data for each application, so in this case: rubbish in, data out.

How does Scantech fit into the modern world of recycling, where the type of commodity processed is not as stratified for companies as in the past?

Analyzers measure bulk conveyed flows continuously or bulk bags in batch mode. The elemental content is measured based on material-specific customized calibrations to provide optimal measurement precision. All materials contain [chemical] elements, so the measurement can be tuned to paper, cardboard, plastics, rubber, glass, ferrous or nonferrous metals, and even precious metals. Purity and contaminant levels can be found quickly and accurately. Scantech is already working with recycling companies in North America for e-waste, municipal waste (as an alternative fuel), and ferrous metals.

What product(s) are you particularly proud of?

Our flagship product is the GEOSCAN elemental analyzer, which measures a range of elements to lower detection levels over short measurement times unmatched globally. It can measure carbon, nitrogen, and from sodium onward in the periodic table. It can be used to measure every 30 seconds of conveyed flow or a bulk bag in 2 minutes to provide an average multi-elemental analysis. There are no sampling error or sample representivity issues because it measures all the material. The product penetrates up to 24 inches deep and is not surface analysis.

How did you hear about ISRI?

Scantech has been selling analyzers in the U.S. and Canada since the 1980s to the coal industry and more recently to the minerals sector (phosphate rock, copper, diamonds, boron, gold, etc.) and noticed interest from recycling companies [wanting to] measure and control the quality of their scrap before processing it further. Interest also picked up in Europe for analysis of ferrous metals and e-waste. We then looked for relevant organizations in the scrap and recycling sectors for resources, education, and networking opportunities.

How did you decide to join ISRI?

We saw that ISRI is the premium association in North America covering all the recycling commodities we could measure and felt we should get involved to better understand this market and help bring our unique capabilities to this sector.

Now that Scantech is an ISRI member, what are you looking forward to most about the association?

Scantech analyzers have saved our customers billions of dollars in total since the 1980s in the raw material sectors (coal, cement, minerals) through better processing outcomes, quality variability control, reducing unnecessary processing, and ensuring product compliance. We know how important quality measurement and control is to optimize process performance. We hope ISRI can help us educate the sector on analyzer capabilities and benefits and help introduce us to the companies that need to process material more efficiently once they know what they have.

Photo courtesy of Scantech.