Why is Assay Important for Your Converters, and Can it Help You Survive Current Market Conditions?

why is assay important

In today’s Platinum Group Metal (PGM) market, getting paid for the true value of your catalytic converters is crucial. But with buyers overbidding and then down-pricing and fluctuating market trends, how can you make sure you’re getting what you deserve: the true value of your material?

That’s where assay steps in. Selling your converters on assay guarantees that you get paid based on the precise amounts of platinum, palladium, and rhodium in your converters. This way, you’re not relying on someone to guess your material’s worth; you’re getting paid based on scientific results obtained from your converters.

So, if you’re ready to know how you can start benefiting from assay—even in current market conditions—keep reading.

Assay vs. At-the-Door Buyers

Converters live unique lives. That means that once converters enter the recycling stream, they each have a different amount of platinum, palladium, and rhodium left inside them. Even if you compare two identical units, they’ll both contain a different amount of metals.

So, if you’re selling by the piece, your buyer might be undervaluing your converters. That’s because your buyer doesn’t take into account the unique composition of PGMs in each unit. He might price a unit at $99 when it could actually be worth $143, and identical units might receive the same price when one is worth more than the other.

On the other hand, assay gives you an accurate assessment of the PGM content in all your converters. Your processor will put your material through analysis technology like X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) or Inductive Coupled Plasma (ICP). This way, you’ll know exactly how many troy ounces of precious metals are in your converters, and you’ll get paid for every ounce.

But more importantly, you’ll get results backed by science so you can get paid for what you deserve: your material’s true value. And you’ll also gain a payment method that’s sustainable for the years to come—and for the markets to come. Let’s explore why.

The Sustainability of Assaying

We understand that market trends since 2022 haven’t been as exciting as those in 2021. And although we’ll probably never see prices like in 2021 again, research shows that not only are PGM prices returning to pre-pandemic levels but they’re also trending at higher values than the past 15 years.

Assaying your converters ensures that you capitalize on the market trends that are right for you, securing optimal returns for your material.

But assay also empowers you to adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving market. You can make sure that no matter how the market develops, you’ll get paid for what your material is truly worth. Let’s take a look at a real-life example comparing assay to selling by-the-piece.

Real-Life Example: Assay vs. Selling by the Piece

Let’s consider the case of a PMR supplier who chose to work with a local piece buyer. In 2023, this supplier assumed he would be getting higher returns from a local buyer because he wouldn’t be paying interest and transport fees.

That’s because his new local buyer was giving him overinflated prices just to get his business. After a few months, though, his buyer couldn’t sustain those high prices long-term and started slowly decreasing them. That means the buyer was pocketing the true value of the converters, not the supplier.

Our Director of Corporate Accounts, Ryan, ran a simulation of 70 of this supplier’s past lots. He quickly realized that this supplier was losing between 15% to 20% of his returns selling by the piece. That means even with transport fees and interest, this supplier was still making higher profits working with PMR.

Realizing he was losing a significant chunk of his cash flow, this supplier started working with PMR again. He quickly regained a steady, consistent income based on the true value of his converters. Partnering with a processor invested in his success and who gives him assay-based returns proved instrumental in ensuring long-term profitability.

If you’re looking to make the most out of your material, it might be time to switch to assaying. And it might be time to gain a partner who’s committed to your success.

For more information, visit PMR’s Resource Center.

Published: March 25, 2024
Discover the true value of a personalized approach