Houston Man Takes the Wrong Path to Cash In On Carbide Scrap Sludge

Carbide Scrap

Though it hasn't filtered too far out of the recycling world yet, carbide scrap is quickly becoming a hot commodity within the recycling community. It brings in a good amount of money and it's not super hard for the experienced scrapper to find. However, the typical scrapper finds some here and there in old tools, bits, and attachments.

Carbide Scrap sludge Houston Case Study

In a recent case, though, a Houston man had access to an unlimited supply of carbide scrap sludge and could not resist taking some for himself. An industrial coating company in Houston, recently accused one of its workers, 41-year-old Gustano Estrada of stealing $42,500 worth of carbide scrap metal powder.

The Houston company uses a robotic sprayer to spray the powder coating onto valves, outdoor products and pipes. About 20% - 30% of the powder sticks to the target item and the factory collects the rest in receptacles mixed with some water, to create sludge.

In addition to carbide in the form of hard metal, recycling companies and scrap yards happily buy the sludge as well. In fact, Estrada's employer already had a relationship with a local recycler that would collect the mud, dry it and then pay the factory for the carbide they were able to extract from the mud.

Estrada was selling his stashes at a local scrap yard and according the scrap yard's records had made over 70 sales there over the course of many years.

Though carbide sludge seems like refuse, anyone that collects it must always get permission from the manufacturer before he does so. Every manufacturer that coats or manufactures items with carbide understands its value; so getting away with just taking it today is not realistic.

Though many manufacturing plants like Estrada's will have relationships with larger recycling companies, sometimes they will work with smaller scrapping enterprises. It never hurts to ask. Also, other great places to look for carbide when you get old metal to scrap are:

  • Broken tool collections

  • Boxes and bags of drills, dies, endmills and inserts

  • Boring bars, and

  • Round tools

Just remember, very small pieces of tungsten carbide and very large pieces are magnetic; while medium-sized pieces are barely magnetic at all. Carbide cannot pit or rust, so that is a tell-tale indicator that you don't have carbide, if you find those imperfections on the item. Lastly, you might find carbide that's been braised with steel. You would usually see a line that indicates a coating if that is the case. Contact us to learn more about selling carbide or to sell any that you've already got.

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