Stebgo Metals Blog

Maximizing your precious metal sweeps reclamation

Posted by Scott Stebbing on Mon, Nov 03, 2014 @ 11:18 AM


I would like to take a moment to write about your sweeps
reclamation. This is a very important part of any trade shop, dental lab,
jewelry store or manufacturing business. In some instances the reduction in
material between a casting and a finished piece can range from 10 all the way
up to 25%! To maximize your return a few key measures need to be in place; the
following are a set of questions that will guide your practices for maximum
results. If you cannot answer these questions with confidence, there is room
for improvement. 

  • Are you capturing all the precious metal from
    the start to finish of your jewelry, dental or pawn manufacturing process?


  • Are you using dedicated mops and buckets for
    polishing and finishing areas?


  • Do you have sink traps on production sinks and


  • Do you inspect your dust collectors and replace
    filters on a regular basis?


  • Do you have a scheduled sweep and vacuum time
    with dedicated equipment and dedicated storage of gold containing vac bags,
    wipes and other items being held for future refining?

Very Important!!!  Shops that have a schedule of maintenance
activities and cleaning times always maximize their precious metal

Proper equipment, cleaning and maintenance, and
accountability of your sweeps can directly affect dollars being saved and
retained, therefore increasing your profitability.


Additional Tips:

  • Create a shop area calendar and checklist


  • Dust collectors – schedule filter replacement,
    maintenance and regular duct work cleaning


  • Keep dedicated sweeps barrel on hand for all
    reclamation items


  • Vacs – dedicated equipment – all vacuum bags
    kept, if canister style empty on regular basis and replace filter often


  • Wipes – have on hand and keep used with
    dedicated sweeps barrel


  • Aprons – have on hand and keep old for


  • Non rubber backed floor mats or disposable sticky
    floor mats leading out of production area


  • Items often replaced that should be processed:
    sanding sticks, emery, brushes, buffs, wheels


  • Sink Trap –Dental lab, large manufacturer and
    small shops all should have one


  • Dedicated mop and bucket – let used water settle
    after using, decant and use wipes to clean out bottom of bucket and keep those
    used wipes in sweeps barrel


  • Ultra-sonic – regularly clean out and wipe out
    sludge on bottom and keep wipes for reclamation.

Things that should not be kept for processing:
linoleum, hard non-porous tiles, ceiling tiles, heavy-weighted metal items,
showroom carpet or low-traffic carpets, garbage.  Remember that the treatment charge is based
on incoming weight, so please do not include garbage and known items of no
value as this will diminish your return.


Make sure your refiner uses proven
processes that recover all the micro fine particles of precious metal.

Using burnout ovens rather than incinerators – keeps your
material from being sent up the stacks with the afterburners and into the bag house.
Burnout ovens slow roasts the material making sure all your metal stays

describe the image


Mixing and sampling – Make sure your refiner ball mills,
screens, and samples your burned sweeps material. This process accounts for all
the precious metal caught in the dust. At Stebgo we utilize the slow roasters
and pre-smelt analysis. The material is slowly roasted to 1000 degrees
Fahrenheit and turned into ash, keeping 100% of the material within the
roaster. The ash is then analyzed to determine its value before it is smelted
ensuring that you get the best possible return since none of the value is hung
up in the slag.

Tags: precious metal scrap, Precious Metals Refining, Gold