Platinum Is Cool, Platinum is Hot . . . and Here Are the Reasons Why

Platinum Is Cool, Platinum is Hot . . . and Here Are the Reasons Why

We have written on this blog in the past about stoves, furnaces, space heaters and other “hot” places you can find platinum thermocouple wire that we can recycle for you in our precious metal refinery.

But what about cold places? Don’t air conditioners contain thermocouple wire that we can process for you? Yes, they do. But before we delve into that subject, let’s consider the fundamental difference between devices that generate heat and devices that cool things off . . .

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Why You Can Make More Money Investing in Platinum Scrap

Why You Can Make More Money Investing in Platinum Scrap

Many people like to invest in bullion and coins that are made of gold, platinum or silver. The predictability appeals to them. They buy a pure piece of platinum, gold or silver that comes in a hard plastic case that they can either open or put in a safe.

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Four Common Sources of Platinum Scrap

Four Common Sources of Platinum Scrap

If you’re on the hunt for platinum scrap, you could sweep the floors at a jewelry factory, pull up old drain pipes and floorboards you find there, or tweezer out bits of old platinum screens and sponge from plating tanks and drains.

That’s hard work. There are much easier places to find platinum . . .

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Where to Find Platinum Wire in Strange Places

Where to Find Platinum Wire in Strange Places

Platinum wire can turn up just about anywhere where platinum was used in manufacturing. Even though it doesn’t look valuable to the casual observer, it could be. So, if you find bright, shiny white wire... 

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Complicated Precious Metal Recycling Problems Made Easy

Complicated Precious Metal Recycling Problems Made Easy

Recycling precious metals often involves analyzing and refining big messy batches of mixed materials. People who own these mixed lots of material know that gold or silver or platinum is “in there” somewhere, but don’t know where it is, what it is, or how much of it is present. 

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Why Stuff that Doesn’t Glitter Could Be Platinum

Why Stuff that Doesn’t Glitter Could Be Platinum

Although platinum doesn’t rust or oxidize, it can discolor after it is exposed to high heat in laboratories. That bluish patina can be deceiving. You look at a discolored piece of thermocouple wire or a testing crucible or a stand that was used in the lab and think, “this discolored stuff can’t possibly be platinum.” The discolorations that affect used platinum mesh or sponge can be even more deceiving. They can be reduced to a blackish powder that you’d be tempted to sweep up and toss away.

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Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

Get Wired! How to Unravel Big Dollars from Wires Made of Gold, Platinum and other Precious Metals

If you’re emptying an old factory that produced products that contained metals, chances are good that you will discover wire that contains precious metals.  You might find coils of it in storage areas. You might find little rolls of it hiding in drawers. Unless the previous owners labeled their supplies carefully or the wire is still in its original packaging, you have very little way of knowing what kind of wire you have.

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Platinum, Miracle Metal, Finds New Medical Applications

With every year that passes, platinum is finding more and more medical applications. Let’s explore them in today’s post.

Interventional Devices

Because platinum is biocompatible – not rejected by the human body – it is a metal of choice for cardiac and other stents that are left permanently in the body. It is also widely used in implantable defibrillators, pacemakers, and neuromonitoring devices used to control Parkinson’s and other disorders. As America’s population ages, the demand for those devices is increasing.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart. Used EP catheters can be recycled profitably for your organization by Specialty Metals.

Orthopedic Devices

Because of its biocompatibility and ability to be formed into a variety of shapes that range from plates to wires to large components, platinum and platinum alloys are metals of choice for implantable devices that include hip and knee implants, plates and screws that are used to stabilize broken bones, and devices that are used to stabilize or support the spine.

Surgical and Testing Applications

Platinum is an excellent conductor of electricity too, making it a first choice for equipment that is used to test cardiac functions. Platinum is also used in wires and catheters that are used to monitor arthroscopic, ophthalmic, and other surgical procedures.

Cancer Medicines

And here’s a surprise. Over the last 50 years, a number of platinum-based medicines have been developed to fight ovarian, testicular and other cancers. One such medicine, Cisplatin, has been in use since 1977. Another cancer drug, Satraplatin, is being evaluated for treatment of prostate cancer. These medications work because platinum inhibits cell division, so cancerous cells can be stopped from reproducing as aggressively.

Demand for Platinum to Remain High

The strong demand for platinum in healthcare applications, coupled with its relative rarity in nature, means that the demand for your recyclable platinum will stay strong. If you would like to know more about using our refining services to unlock the dollar value that is hidden in platinum recyclables, call us at 800-426-2344.

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Snip the Tips to Make Surprising Money from Recyclables

If you’re looking at a large number of recyclable items, here’s a suggestion that can put a surprising amount of money into your company’s coffers . . .

Look at the tips of wires and thermocouples and test the precious metals that are hidden there!

If you snip those tips and send them to a qualified precious metals refiner, chances are good that you will get more money from them than you thought possible. There’s a simple reason. Tips contain precious metals because they’re “where the action happens” with testing equipment that monitors heat, chemical activity, or electricity at remote locations. Tips measure things, and the information they gather can be conveyed to remote shutoff valves, monitoring gauges, computer consoles, and other pieces of equipment.

Let’s take a look at where some dollars could be hiding in the kinds of tips that you have on hand.

Photo of lab testing equipment, which contains precious metals that can be profitably recycled and refined by Specialty Metals when no longer needed.

Used or Surplus Medical Testing Supplies

As we’ve noted before on this blog, the sensor tips of electrophysiology (EP) catheters contain platinum that can be profitably recycled. Used sensors can be recycled and refined, but if you are in the medical testing field, you also know that a number of catheters go unused in tests and end up in the recycling bin. Don’t let them stay there – recycling and refining platinum is worth a lot of money.

Photo showing the kind of gas appliance that uses a thermocouple wire that contains valuable precious metals that can be recycled and refined.

Appliances

Stoves, furnaces, water heaters and air conditioners, contains sensing wires that have tips that could contain quantities of copper, nickel, and even platinum, which is currently trading at nearly $1,400 on the London Fix. So snip those tips and send them to us – you could be in for a very pleasant surprise.

A Variety of Production Line Equipment

If welding, heating, or chemical reactions take place on your production line, chances are that you’re monitoring those operations remotely. And when that monitoring takes place, thermocouple wires of some kind run from your production line to gauges or consoles that are located some distance away. Thermocouple wire tips typically contain quantities of platinum, rhodium, and even gold. So snip those tips and send them to us for testing.

Want to Turn Little Tips into Big Dollars?

Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. We're experts at recycling and refining precious metal scrap, and we can let you know just how much profit you can reclaim from your little, easy-to-overlook, very valuable tips. Why not call the right precious metal refiner today?

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Why Used Thermocouple Wire Is a Top Candidate for Profitable Recycling

Interested in Thermocouples and Thermocouple Wire? Why Not Read Up Online?

No matter what kind of industry you are in – manufacturing, fracking, recycling, construction - thermocouples are part of your business. What are thermocouples? Actually, they are pretty fascinating, because they are based on the very simple principle that when dissimilar metals are put in contact, voltage is generated. The result? Interesting things happen.

We recently found an excellent online library of information about thermocouple wire that we’d like to share with you. It is on the website of the Reotemp Instrument Corporation in San Diego. All the information that Reotemp provides is interesting and potentially valuable to know, so you’ll want to CHECK IT OUT for yourself.

Here’s a quick summary of some basic information that you can learn there about thermocouple wire . . .

Photo showing the kind of gas appliance that uses a thermocouple wire that contains valuable precious metals that can be recycled and refined.
  • A thermocouple is made from two wires that are made from different kinds of metals. They are connected at one end – the “junction.” When that connection is made, voltage is generated; that voltage can be measured by equipment that is located at the other ends of the two wires. And here’s where things get interesting, because when temperatures change at the junction, the amount of voltage that’s generated changes too. When those changes in voltage are measured, the thermocouple can be used as a device that can remotely measure temperature. Example: If you run a thermocouple wire from a ceramics-firing kiln on your production line to a gauge located in the control room next door, you can remotely measure the temperature in the kiln.
  • Thermocouples are used in many kinds of industrial, scientific, manufacturing applications. Reotemp points out that they can be found in power generation, oil and gas production, pharmaceutical, biotech, cement, paper manufacturing, and more. And thermocouples are also used in stoves, furnaces, toasters, coffee makers and other appliances you use at home. 

What metals are used in thermocouple wires? The answer is, it depends on the applications where they are used. In some specialized applications, precious metals like platinum and rhodium can be used; they have the potential to be recycled very profitably.

If you think your business may have valuable thermocouple wire hiding in its scrap, you can find out easily by calling Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. We're experts at recycling and refining precious metal scrap, and we can examine a sample of your thermocouple wire scrap and let you know just how much profit you might be able to reclaim.

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Why It Pays to Recycle Electrophysiology (EP) Catheters

If you’re a medical professional, you already know about the remarkable recent advances in cardiac testing. Thanks to new technology and equipment, it’s more possible than ever before to obtain detailed data about the functioning of a patient’s heart – a depth of information that was impossible to obtain only a few years ago.

It’s all due to Electrophysiology (EP) studies that are becoming far more common – tests that monitor the electrical activity within a patient’s heart to determine the cause of arrhythmia and other problems.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart.

Physicians insert a platinum EP catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart.

Here are some facts about these remarkable new tests, adapted from American Heart Association guidelines:

  • EP studies can help determine whether a patient is a candidate for a pacemaker, an implantable defibrillator, ablation, medication, or surgery.
  • EP studies are not conducted in physician’s offices. They take place in hospitals’ electrophysiology labs or catheterization labs.
  • Most patients require only mild sedation to comfortably undergo EP studies.
  • During EP procedures, physicians insert a thin catheter into a blood vessel that leads to the patient’s heart, and then position the end of the catheter in the heart. The electrode catheter that is used, which usually contains platinum, allows physicians to send electrical signals to the patient’s heart and record the activity there.

The Boom in EP Testing

As you probably know too, patients are undergoing more EP studies than at any time in the past. In fact, a boom is taking place in the number of EP studies that are taking place. It is not uncommon for some hospitals to perform hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of these procedures every year. The result is that patients today are living longer and enjoying a better quality of life.

The boom in testing has also triggered a surge in the manufacturing of platinum EP catheters, catheter tips and other supplies. As a result, platinum is more in demand than it was before. The need for recycled platinum has also increased and the dollar value of used and recycled platinum scrap is rising steadily.

If you work in a hospital or diagnostic facility that performs EP studies, it’s a wise idea to inventory the used EP catheter tips and other supplies that you might have on hand. The demand for platinum is strong, prices are up, and you could be able to recycle and refine this precious metal for more money than was possible in the past.

How to Get Started Recycling Your Platinum EP Catheters

Don’t wonder whether you are throwing away money along with your medical waste – get a check-up from Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. Call 800-426-2344 to hear our prescription for your financial health and well-being.

How to Claim the Cash that’s Hidden in Used Equipment Containing Thermocouple Wire

If you have production-line equipment that you’re about to discard, you could be losing money. Your old equipment might look like scrap metal to you and not much more but if you toss it, you could be throwing money away. More production equipment than you realize contains thermocouple wire that can be valuable. If you remove it from your old equipment and have it recycled, refined and processed, you can net more money than you might realize.

What Kind of Equipment Is Most Likely to Contain Thermocouple Wire?

Image of platinum thermocouple wire scrap, a very profitable type of scrap Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can recycle for your company.
  • Any kind of production-line or testing machine that heats or cools materials during the manufacturing process. Some examples include annealing machines, Pasteurizing equipment, and equipment that either cooks or freezes food.
  • Systems that measure temperatures on your production line. If a temperature gauge is located at some distance from your production line, for example, it is connected to the point of measurement by thermocouple wire.
  • Systems that measure radiation on your production line or premises. That’s right – thermocouple wire can be used in equipment that measures radiation too.
  • Automated welding equipment.  Wherever metals are joined, temperatures must be controlled or measured – and that requires the use of thermocouple wire.
  • Machines that heat or cool materials that are introduced during your production processes. If you run a plant that retreads tires and vulcanizes rubber, for example, your used equipment is almost sure to contain quantities of thermocouple wire.  The same is true if you make yogurt or other dairy products that require cultivation.

If you take your used equipment to a general-purpose scrap metal yard, chances are that you’ll be letting dollars slip through your fingers. The fact is, many kinds of thermocouple wire can be recycled profitably. They include: Type B, R, and S Standard thermocouple wire; platinum alloy thermocouple wire; pure platinum wire; platinum/rhodium thermocouple wire; and, thermocouple wire scrap. Not sure what kind you have? Call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344 and we’ll help you figure it out.

Your Next Steps for Recycling Your Used Thermocouple Wire

Remember that it is up to you to extract used thermocouple wire before you send it to us for processing. But the time you invest can be well worth it. We will pay you within three weeks after we receive your wire. And you can be certain that you will receive top dollar, because we value metals according to standards that you can verify on your own – the New York and London precious metals market.

Contact us at Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners today. 

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Why Used Thermocouple Wire Is a Top Candidate for Profitable Recycling

New Medical Technologies Spur a Boom in Platinum Use – and Platinum Recycling

Only a few decades ago, platinum was a “rare” metal in many senses of the word. It was relatively rare in nature and rare in manufactured items too.

Today, platinum is being used in a wider range of products and technologies – especially in medical products. One of the greatest growth areas? A marked increase in the use of implantable cardiac defibrillators, which provide wonderful benefits for patients who were once prone to sudden cardiac death due to ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia.

In the past, individuals who were at risk of death from those problems had to be rushed to hospitals to receive treatment with defibrillators (“paddles”) when periods of fibrillation occurred. Others had to remain close to large defibrillators that they kept in their homes. But thanks to the availability of implantable defibrillators, those patients can now enjoy full lives. Because small defibrillators have been implanted in their chests, they are free to go where they choose. If irregular heartbeats strike, the small devices they are wearing snap into action and provide small electrical pulses directly to their hearts that save their lives.

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

A normal chest X-ray after placement of an ICD, showing the ICD generator in the upper left chest and the ICD lead in the right ventricle of the heart. Note the 2 opaque coils along the ICD lead. Image Credit: Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC

New kinds of implantable defibrillators are being developed all the time, but the most common consists of a small device that is implanted under the skin, often near the patient’s collarbone. Small wires made of platinum or other precious metals run from the device directly to the right ventricle of the patient’s heart.

What is the useful life of these devices? That is a difficult question to answer. Some cardiologists and their patients favor replacing older implantable defibrillators when newer, more advanced models become available. Sometimes the devices fail to function properly and need to be replaced in the early months or years of their use. Because of those variables, the service life of an implantable defibrillator can be as short as a few months, or as long as five years or more.

What Happens to Decommissioned Defibrillator Devices?

Removal or replacement of implantable defibrillators is a surgical procedure that is performed in a hospital. Often, used devices are returned to their manufacturers for proper recycling and/or reclamation of the platinum or other precious metals that they contain.

Opportunities exist for recycling the valuable metals that implantable defibrillators contain. For example, manufacturers of the devices can own quantities of platinum wire that were not needed in the manufacturing process, or they could end up owning quantities of older wire that does not meet the specifications needed in their newer products. Even physicians and hospitals can end up with quantities of wire that were not used when defibrillators were implanted, or with catheters or wires that were not selected for use during implanting procedures.

If you fall into one of those categories, you might want to be aware that your unused stock of platinum can be valuable, and well worth recycling. Remember, the platinum that you have on hand could potentially be reused in the manufacture of new medical devices that can save patients’ lives.

Call Specialty Metals at 800-426-2344 and we can help you design a detailed recycling process that let’s you reclaim that platinum, improve your bottom line and maybe even save some lives down the road.