Maximizing Copper Wire Prices

copper2Copper wire prices are increasing. That is a fact that cannot be denied. In the United States, just during the month of December 2015, we witnessed an increase of 0.5% per pound of scrap copper. And while this may not sound like much, when the increase over time factor is taken into account, it can add up to a nice chunk of change. But the price of copper scrap is not only about how many dollars you get paid per pound, the time invested into stripping the insulation off the wire is also a big part of your profit.

The Naked Truth: How Much Is Copper Worth?
The price per pound of bare bright copper in the United State currently stands at about $2, depending on your specific location. But in reality this figure is not your bottom line, and your profit will depend on how much time it takes to prepare the copper wire you’ve accumulated. This is the turning point between a successful scrap copper business and one that just barely makes ends meet. So, how do you maximize your profit? The answer is simple: invest a few bucks into a StripMeister™ automatic wire stripper.

The StripMeister™ vs manual stripping: Let’s Have a Talkmoney-stack

One of the most important things to look at when you are in the scrap copper industry is efficiency. To some,
manually stripping pounds and pounds of insulated copper wire may seem like a good idea, but let’s take a quick look at reality:

Manual Stripping

StripMeister™

Tedious and time consuming (can you say “boring”?) Takes only minutes (it’s pretty fun also)
Dangerous (the danger to your fingers is very real) Safe (your fingers don’t have to go anywhere near the blade)
Cost ineffective (there is no sense in wasting hours working only to end up with a few pounds of bare bright wire) Cost effective (because the StripMeister™ Original allows the user to adapt a drill, it takes only about a third of the time)
Difficult, requires expertise. (Handling a blade with your hands requires a lot of skill, and all those scars can prove it.) So easy, even a child can use it.(Simply put the wire through the orifice, adjust the blade, and turn it on. The stripping tool will do the rest.)

 

The bottom line is simple: Using a StripMeister™ will not only help you strip copper wire faster, it will actually make your business more profitable and allow you to enjoy more time doing what you love.

The Clean Air Act and its Importance to the Scrap Metal Recycling Industry

For many decades, the easiest way to recover scrap copper was to simply burn the casing off wires in an open fire and then collecting the resulting product. The problem with this method is that burning (or smoldering) the insulation off the wire in this manner is the single most contaminant processes of recovery, due to the fact that the plastic casing is burned at relatively low temperatures (between 250°C and 500°C), which results in an incomplete incineration and the release of pollutants and carcinogens into the atmosphere.

Some of these pollutants are polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF), which result from the catalysis of copper, together with carbon monoxide (CO), sulphur dioxide (SO2), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, hydrogen chloride, heavy metals (including lead) and ash. These elements can contaminate not only the air, but also water and soil, leading to severe consequences both to the environment and the population!

Complete and utter ban on smoldering for recovery and recycling

toxic-pullutants2It was because of this that the federal Clean Air Act of 1970 was amended in 1990 to add specific controls over 189 different toxic pollutants, including those generated by the burning of copper wire. The end result was a complete and utter ban on smoldering for recovery and recycling, an action that would be accompanied by hefty fines ($25,000 or more per day) and several years in prison (up to 5). To drive the point across in such a manner that no room for doubt would be allowed, there is currently a standing reward ($10,000) for those who report the burning of copper wires to the EPA.

This federal legislation, one of the most comprehensive in the world, was further enhanced by the creation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (signed by the United States in 2001), a global treaty that went into effect in 2004. Because of this, alternative methods had to be proposed for the proper treatment of copper wire for recycling, among which chopping, stripping, and high temperature incineration (above 850°C) were found to be the most adequate.
 

Cable Stripping as the Most Viable Alternative Process to Smoldering

cut-fingersOut of all the options proposed, the most viable is cable stripping. While there are many reasons for its viability, the most important one is the ability to fully recover the metal without leaving traces of it on the plastic insulation, together with its low cost and the fact that pollutants such as PCDD and PCDF cease to be of any concern, given that the copper is not allowed to become a catalyst for them.

But all is not perfect in the world of cable stripping, and doing the job manually without a wire stripper can present serious risks to the person performing the task. Cuts are commonplace, together with the partial amputation of fingers, and let’s not even consider the time it takes to get the job done. In short, manual stripping is time consuming and dangerous, which can put a big dent into profits.

On the other hand, an industrial wire stripping machine can prove to be the best investment of its kind, as it can handle individual strands of up to 200 feet per minute in a wide range of diameters.
 

Maximizing Profit while Cutting Costs

As it is well known, scrapyards will pay much less for unstripped wire. This is because they have to go through the stripping process themselves, with the same issues that were mentioned previously (lost time, potential hazards, etc.). To maximize profits, the best way to go about business is to deliver fully stripped wire.

wire stripping machines

When you invest in a stripping machine, you can increase your profits by well over 30% (depending on current prices for scrap copper). This means that you will recover the money you spent in a very short time, while reducing the costs generated by manual stripping (think of that trip to the ER you won’t have to make). The process itself will be much faster and production will increase, generating enormous benefits to your business and allowing for expansion.

All in all, given the fact that burning wire is illegal in the United States (as well as in Canada, the UK, and many other countries), and that you will face jail time if you so much as think of starting that fire, together with wanting to keep all of your fingers attached to your hands, an investment that will only give you positive returns is definitely one you will want to make.

How to Choose a Wire Stripping Machine

When you are looking to make more money personally or in your business, the best thing you can do is to have a very good idea of what machinery requires the least amount of investment with the biggest return. The first thing you will notice when you collect copper wire for recycling is that you will end up with a large variety of differently sized wires

By now you probably have a very good idea of the amount of copper scrap you can store and strip before hauling it off to the scrapyard, which, together with the size of the insulated copper wire, will give you the first inkling of the type of wire stripping tool you will need. The size of your operation is also important, because purchasing the largest machine available is not always the best idea when dealing with a small backyard business.

originalThe StripMeister™ Original: The Tiny Wire Stripping Work horse

Whether you are just getting started in the scrap copper business, or simply like getting the job done on your own, the StripMeister™ Original is the wire stripper machine you will want by your side each and every time. Perfect for electricians, contractors, handymen, small recycling yards and those who are just getting their feet wet, this little giant can handle copper wire sizes ranging from #18 to 250 MCM, as well as diameters from 0.100″ (3mm) up to 0.79″ (20.1mm), including ROMEX and braided (stranded) wire.

Built to Impress

In 2015, the StripMeister™ Original was selected as one of the 10 best wire stripping machines on the market due to its efficiency, versatility and an unrivaled strong body created with an aircraft grade aluminum alloy, together with feeder drives crafted from surgical stainless steel, features that will allow an already impressive wire stripping tool to remain in excellent working condition for a very long time.

The StripMeister™ Original is also appreciated for its streamlined design, as well as its capability for multilayer wire stripping. As an additional feature, it includes a blade depth reference indicator on the top knob, making it easy for anybody to adjust the height of the blade when stripping copper wire. So what are you waiting for? There is a lot of money to be made from recycling scrap copper wire, and the StripMeister™ Original is the only wire stripping tool that will ensure you make even more.