Bangladesh has throughout this decade enjoyed a fast-growing economy and an equally fast-rising steel industry. The nation’s steel producers have a constant hunger for ferrous scrap, and Ovada, Italy-based equipment maker Vezzani S.p.A. has been on the spot providing processing equipment to satisfy that growing appetite.
According to Vezzani Director of the Board Gabrielle Merlo, several scrap processing firms and steel producers in Bangladesh have purchased and installed the company’s machinery. Merlo says steelmaker BSRM “was the first to buy our equipment—a customized 1,100-ton shear to feed its small induction furnace in the steel plant located in the center of Chittagong, Bangladesh.”
It became the first of several Vezzani machines now installed in or near Chittagong by several customers. In addition to BSRM, the companies AKS, KSRM and GPH Ispat are processing scrap with Vezzani shears. The company’s most recent delivery to Bangladesh has gone to steelmaker ANWAR Ispat in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
”As the country started to grow significantly, its steel industry has increased significantly in size and has opened brand new steel plants outside the city [of Chittagong] with state-of-the-art production equipment,” says Merlo.
There are now 11 Vezzani precompression inclined shears at work in the nation, 10 of which have 1,800 tons of shearing force, says Merlo. He adds, “They are all equipped with downstream equipment to separate ferrous from nonferrous materials, as well as having stationary feeding cranes.” (Five of these shears are operated by BSRM.)
Merlo said that after BSRM made the first purchase, “The other customers, following the example and experience of BSRM and valuing the quality and service of our equipment, have or are currently installing another six units, all of them with 1,800 tons of shearing force, plus the downstream equipment and feeding crane.” Merlo also says the Bangladeshi customers like “the very low running costs and exceptional quality of output material” offered by Vezzani’s shears.
Bangladesh is known for its shipbreaking industry, but Merlo says that sector and the nation’s steel industry have evolved to create a wider ferrous scrap sector. “Our customers started using mostly shipbreaking material, but today due to high prices of shipbreaking materials—and the fact that a lot of that material is almost ready to be reused and rerolled in the so called ‘manual rolling mills,’ which are quite common in those regions—and the fact that their demand for scrap has increased exponentially, they use the our equipment to reprocess a lot of imported material, both light and heavy, in order to increase the density and quality before melting it in the furnaces.”
The result of Bangladesh’s steel boom and Vezzani’s ability to earn market share has meant an impressive increase in Vezzani processing capacity in the nation. “When we supplied the first unit, the expectation was to process less than 100,000 tons per year,” says Merlo. “Today, if we sum up all the production capacity of our equipment, we can get a figure which is close to 4 million tons of scrap. This all happened in less than 10 years, as the first machine was sold in 2009.”
The Vezzani PC-AC precompression inclined shears deployed in Bangladesh are bringing recycling industry automation to the Indian subcontinent nation. “Each piece of equipment is operated by one single person per shift: the feeding crane operator,” states Merlo. “He is comfortably sitting in a tower where he can overlook the entire machine, feed the equipment and control with the touchscreen panel that the machine is running automatically and smoothly.”
Given their location at steel mills sites, Merlo says that “all the machines work three shifts on a regular basis.”
The Vezzani equipment has been designed to withstand Bangladesh’s tropical climate, says Merlo. “Operating conditions are those typical of tropical weather, with temperatures around in the 80s and 90s Fahrenheit, high humidity and heavy rain during the monsoon season,” he comments. “This is nothing strange for us, since we have been supplying these kind of equipment in much tougher conditions, such as in the desert of in very cold environments. The machines are all equipped with water cooling systems to cope with this kind of weather, and all the components have been made specifically to cope with this tropical conditions and humidity (in particular the electrical parts).”
With a presence in Bangladesh that is now one decade long, Merlo says the wide installation base serves as good testimony that the Vezzani equipment is well liked. “The first machine was installed in 2009, and BSRM has been very happy with the quality, performance, running cost and the service that we have provided over time.” Steelmaker BSRM “has become a great sponsor of our equipment not only in the country but even outside, where they are very well known as they purchase material from many different parts of the globe” says Merlo.
He adds, “The fact BSRM has continued to select us as their suppliers of equipment for scrap processing is a great sign that they have recognized us as a reliable partner. I believe this is the best feedback we may possibly ask for.”
The global connection is very real, adds Merlo. “Another Vezzani customer in Australia, Norstar Steel Recyclers, will be installing the most productive Vezzani inclined shear ever made (2,300 tons of shearing force and productivity up to 150 tons per hour), is also a provider of scrap to BSRM and of other companies in Bangladesh. This customer all the way over in Australia also bought the equipment because they were impressed by the ease of use and productivity of our equipment they witnessed in Bangladesh. The world is really smaller than it looks like,” states Merlo.