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Stages within Catalytic Converter Processing: PART 2

How Many Stages are there in Catalytic Converter Processing: PART 2

AUGUST 2022 

How Many Stages in Catalytic Converter Processing: PART 2

In part one of this two-part series, we discussed the steps involved in the catalytic converter toll refining process. Below we will learn about the steps that occur after the toll refining process. When are you paid? What happens to the precious metals during the smelting stage? Keep reading and find out!

(1) Once the material is processed by a toll refiner, it is then smelted in an arc or plasma The ceramic floats at the top of the furnace and needs to be released or tapped out of the arc or plasma furnace in two stages (like a volcano!). The first tap-out is the ceramic, and the second tap-out or release is the metal in the form of slag. These smelters need a to be continually fed material to work effectively.

(2) The metals resulting from the initial smelting process are combined as one mass. The result is ground down to a fine powder, and then subjected to chemical leaching to separate out each precious metal into a usable form.

(3) The metals are now in “sponge” form and its primary use is to be sold on the market back into the auto industry. The sponge can be further purified into ingots for other uses, though it not as cost effective to do so. Some other applications where pure PGM metals are used include:

-PT is used in jewelry, electronics, laboratory, and medical equipment.
-PD is used in fuel cells, dental fillings/crowns, jewelry.
-80% of RH is used in catalytic converters. Also used in catalyst for chemical industry, nitric and acetic acid

Around 40% of PGM for the auto industry is supplied by the recycling of catalytic converters. With the environmental effects of mining to consider, recycling catalytic converters is both a benefit to the environment and a cost saving measure when manufacturing new vehicles.

With what we learned in this article series, we can safely say that converters sold by recycling companies to a company that toll refines are all evaluated and paid at the same stage, when the assay process is complete. That means even companies that smelt directly also do not pay based on the material produced after smelting. We hope this has cleared up some questions you may have had about the toll refining process, but feel free to give us a call if you have any more!

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Missed PART 1 of this series? Read it here!

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