Introducing BOB,the Ultimate Superblender


Superblender Photo | Multishear CorporationHe chomps through steel drums with ease; his killer rotors pound shredded metal into fist-sized chunks. But in the midst of all this destruction, this muscular Australian also carefully spins, dries and separates. Introducing BOB possibly the meanest blender you could ever own, and also one of the cleanest.

BOB, or Geocycle Australias Big Oversized Blender, was created in 2008, largely in response, to 2007 legislation in the state of Victoria, which prohibited the landfilling of steel containers of more than 200 litres.

At the time, Geocycle Australia was blending and supplying from between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes a year of liquid waste fuel to Cement Australias Railton and Gladstone kilns, most of it coming in large steel drums or mini-skips. But while they were removing the liquid waste paint sludge and other chemicals they werent trying to recycle the containers, says Frank Zanetti, Geocycle Australias Production Manager.

We also noticed a trend developing over years, that liquid waste was becoming more viscous or solid, and this made the manual emptying of drums less viable from a health and safety and an operational point of view Zanetti explains.

The idea for BOB was to create a shredder large enough to reduce steel drums to tin-can-sized bits of metal for easy recycling. At the same time, BOB needed to safely separate the containers hazardous contents into a liquid base. This presented a unique technical challenge for the Geocycle team.

In 2008, a design was perfected utilising a US-made Komar auger shredder, drum dumping tower, a 10,000 litre superblender and in-line grinding equipment for particle size reduction. Construction started in late 2008 along with major civil and electrical infrastructure upgrades, while commissioning began in 2009.

Fast forward to 2012, and almost 70,000 drums have been processed, along with thousands of pallets of mixed small containers containing paint, pesticides and other hazardous waste. Not forgetting the mini-skips 3,000 tonnes of one cubic metal for recycling metre bins containing heavy bulk solids.

Superblender - loader | Multishear Corporation

With 55,000 newton metres of revolving torque, the auger is strong enough to break up steel drums full of cured solid resins. A nitrogen blanket and low oxygen levels improve safety during shredding, and the whole system is controlled via a state of the art PLC computer and CCTV system allowing virtually every part of the system to be monitored.

Capacity is a hefty six tonnes per hour of solids processing but higher rates have been achieved. A full batch size is typically 150 drums added to a liquid base volume. Improvements and fine tuning are constantly being made to further optimise the process.

But while BOB is a big, strong machine that is also safe and precise, he does have
one weakness tramps or to be precise, tramp metal.

Shredding whole containers comes with some risk of foreign objects which are virtually impossible to detect in the sampling process and this has been a significant issue, Zanetti says. Large pieces of tramp metal have caused damage to BOBs injector auger teeth and accelerated wear for the superblender rotor slippers.

To reduce this rogue waste, Geocycle spends time educating customers about separating rubbish from waste streams, which Zanetti brightly notes is a never-ending process. Still, hes come to be very fond of BOB.

As far as Zanetti knows, the system is unique in the world and BOB is a force to be reckoned with. Even Superman has his kryptonite, he says philosophically. But what doesnt kill BOB, certainly makes the maintenance team stronger.

Superblender - waste | Multishear Corporation