The Art and Science of Valuing Your Platinum Thermocouple Scrap

The Art and Science of Valuing Your Platinum Thermocouple Scrap

“Why Thermocouples Could Be the Smartest Precious Metal Investments Today,” a post on this blog on July 19th, 2019, explained why investing in scrapped thermocouples is a very smart move for precious metal investors today.

In today’s post we would like to examine in more depth a question that we only touched on in that earlier post. Let’s explore it some more!

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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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Common Industrial Scrap that Can Be Worth Big Dollars

Common Industrial Scrap that Can Be Worth Big Dollars

A man who was emptying out a storage building owned by a company that installed security alarms found a storage cabinet stocked with 200 unused key pads. He got excited and got them tested, only to find out that each of them contained less than a dime’s worth of gold. But then there was the guy who emptied out a factory where production lines were designed and installed; he found unused thermocouples that turned out to be worth more than $1,000.

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Why the Ugliest Platinum Holiday Gifts Are the Most Beautiful of All

Why the Ugliest Platinum Holiday Gifts Are the Most Beautiful of All

Let’s say that you want to give your favorite person a really special present for the holidays – something that stands out. Let’s also assume that you want to give a present that is made of platinum, because platinum is especially beautiful and memorable.

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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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Best Places to Find Large Quantities of Precious Metals

Best Places to Find Large Quantities of Precious Metals

What are the best places to find huge quantities of precious metals?

How to Avoid Myths and Mistakes

Many answers are flying around to that question. Unfortunately, many of those answers are just plain wrong. In today’s post, let’s take a closer look.

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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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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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Are You Sitting on Precious Metals You Don’t Even Know About? It’s Remotely Possible!

When we used the words “remotely possible” in the title of today’s post, we were making a joke. You see, remotes – those old electronic remote controls that you have lying around - contain small quantities of precious gold that can be profitably recycled by a precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. And the more of them you have, the more money you can make.

Photo of scrap remote control devices and electronics, which contain gold, silver, and platinum which Specialty Metals can help you recycle profitably.

In additional to smaller electronic devices, a number of old home appliances contain quantities of gold, silver and even platinum that we can recycle for you. Be sure to look for quantities of any of the following items:

Small Electronics

  • Remote control devices that belonged to old VCRs, stereo receivers, televisions and DVD players
  • Old and unwanted pieces of stereo equipment
  • Old computers – both laptops and desktops
  • Computer peripherals like external hard drives and modems
  • Old radios and televisions

Home Appliances

  • Refrigerators
  • Ranges and stoves – both gas-fueled and electric
  • Air conditioners
  • Furnaces and boilers
  • Thermostats and the thermocouple wires that connected them to old heating systems
  • Electric heaters that are equipped with thermostats

You’ll Find Even More Precious Metals in Industrial Equipment

If you happen to own scrap that is left from large air conditioning systems that were used in commercial buildings, you could be sitting on even larger quantities of precious metals. The same holds true for manufacturing equipment that was used in applications like plating, welding, and heat-treating ceramics.

If you want to know more, why not call us today at 800-426-2344 so we can tell you more and help you get paid for precious metals that you might have overlooked?

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High Heat Equals High Value

If you’ve read this blog before, you know that we have written posts about thermocouples – those fascinating devices, made up of two different metals that are used to monitor temperatures remotely. We have also written about the probes, attached to the ends of thermocouple wires, which are used to monitor temperatures in medical testing and manufacturing processes.

Those devices often contain precious metals. But today we would like to tell you about some items that are just a bit different…

Thermocouples and probes that are used to monitor extremely high temperatures

Photo of a power plant, where you can find a wealth of platinum thermocouples that can be refined and recycled by Specialty Metals.

We are not talking about the more common thermocouple set-ups that are used to monitor temperatures in water heaters, kitchen stoves, air conditioners, or pasteurizing operations. We are talking about specialized thermocouples from nuclear power plants, non-nuclear-power plants, jet engines, gas turbines, and other places where there is a need to monitor sustained levels of extremely high temperatures.

Certain precious metals and platinum alloys are used in places like those because they will not oxidize, even at extremely high temperatures. Where lesser metals would fizzle out, they keep on monitoring.

What Metals Can You Find in High-Temperature Thermocouples and Probes?

Let’s take a look at what these high-temp thermocouples can contain.

  • Molybdenum – This is one tough metal. It holds up in temperatures up to 4000°F.
  • Platinum-Rhodium Alloys – Used in applications up to about 3000°F.
  • Tantalum – Used in applications up to about 4000°F.
  • Platinum-Molybdenum Alloys – Used in application up to about 3000°F.

How Can You Determine the Value of High-Temperature Thermocouples and Probes?

If you have scrap from high-temperature applications, don’t hesitate to find out how much it can be worth. If you call us at 800-426-2344, one of our expert consultants can explain how simple it is to send in a sample of your scrap for testing.

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Where Can You Find Thermocouples? A Quick Checklist for You

We’ve written about thermocouples before on this blog, and today we are going to provide you with a checklist of where to find them. But before we do, let’s get a quick overview of what they are . . .

Shown: platinum thermocouple wire scrap, a very profitable type of scrap Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can recycle for your company.

Shown: platinum thermocouple wire scrap, a very profitable type of scrap Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can recycle for your company.

Thermocouples, like batteries, are devices that are made up of two or more metals that generate voltage. When they are subjected to temperature changes (or radiation changes in some cases), changes occur in the amount of voltage that they generate. In fact, when one end of a long wire thermocouple is heated, that voltage increase can be measured at the other end.

So the result is that thermocouples can be used to remotely measure changes in temperature. If you’re supervising a production line, for example, thermocouples can help you monitor temperature changes from the safety of a control room that is located at some distance from the line itself. Thermocouples can also be used to ensure the safety of manufacturing operations. If the temperature in a piece of equipment rises above safe levels, for example, a device equipped with a thermocouple can automatically shut it down.

What Precious Metals Do Thermocouples Contain?

Depending on the application, they can contain a number of different precious and non-precious metals. They can be made of: pure platinum, platinum/rhodium alloys, Palladium/Platinum/Gold alloy, nickel alloys, tungsten alloys; and even a combination of 2 pure noble metals like Gold and Platinum or Platinum and Palladium.

Where Are Thermocouples Found?

  • Airplane gauges and controls
  • Air conditioning systems
  • Chemical manufacturing plants
  • Equipment used in the manufacturing of steel and other metals
  • Furnaces
  • Gas turbines
  • Ignition systems used in manufacturing
  • Industrial safety systems
  • Industrial sensors of many kinds
  • Industrial valves and actuators
  • Kerosene lamps and space heaters
  • Kilns
  • Medical testing and monitoring equipment
  • Munitions
  • Ovens
  • Power plants, including nuclear power plants where thermocouples can be used to measure radiation
  • Robotic and other welding equipment
  • Safety cutoff values and switches
  • Steam systems
  • Thermometers
  • Water heaters

Ready, Aim, Recycle

If you check those locations and find that you have a quantity of thermocouple wires and/or devices, we can help you quickly understand their worth and recycle them for top dollar. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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Why Used Thermocouple Wire Is a Top Candidate for Profitable Recycling
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Do You Have Undiscovered Precious Metals in Your Organization? 11 Questions to Help You Decide

Are gold, platinum, palladium, silver, and other valuable metals “hiding” in your place of business? Whether you are a factory, a scrap yard, a hospital – or any other kind of organization – here are 11 questions that can help you know.

Image of businessperson searching for undiscovered precious metals that Specialty Metals can help refine profitably.
  1. Do you heat materials up or cool them down?
  2. Do you have older electronic equipment of any kind that you are about to discard?
  3. Do you use equipment that remotely monitors electrical activity?
  4. Do you remove pollutants from the air?
  5. Does your company engage in welding, brazing, or soldering?
  6. Do you apply platings of any kind to surfaces?
  7. Do you currently process photos or x-rays, or have you done so in the past?
  8. Do you have quantities of older metal-plated items of any kind, such as jewelry or silver-plated cutlery?
  9. Do you have a fleet of vehicles that you no longer use?
  10. Do you have quantities of older military surplus electronics, vehicles, armaments, or other gear
  11. Do you have quantities of appliances that you no longer need or are about to replace, such as stoves, air conditioners, water heaters, or furnaces?

Did You Answer Yes to Any of the Questions?

If you did, you should call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 so we can help you recoup the value of the precious metals that you have on hand.

Question by question, here are some reasons why your Yes answers indicate that you could have precious metals . . .

  1. If you heat or cool materials during manufacturing processes, you have equipment that monitors that activity remotely. Those devices use thermocouples, which contain quantities of precious metals.
  2. Older electronic equipment contains printed circuit boards that contain quantities of gold and other precious metals.
  3. Equipment or devices that monitor electronic activity, such as IP catheters, can contain platinum, palladium, and other precious metals.
  4. If your operations remove pollutants from the air, especially after combustion, you could be using catalytic convers that contain precious metals.
  5. Used or unused quantities of welding, brazing, or soldering supplies contain silver and other precious metals.
  6. Any materials or equipment that are used in plating – from old sputtering targets to the sludge that accumulates at the bottom of plating tanks – contain quantities of gold, silver and other precious metals.
  7. New and used photographic films, papers, developing fluids and other supplies contain silver.
  8. Old jewelry and silver-plated items can contain valuable quantities of gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals.
  9. Older vehicles contain gold in printed circuit boards, palladium in catalytic converters, and other precious metals that you can recycle.
  10. Military surplus items of many kinds – especially electronic devices – contain printed circuit boards and other components that can contain gold and other precious metals.
  11. Appliances of many kinds contain thermocouple wires that contain platinum and other precious metals.

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Demand for Precious Metals Increases with Widespread Healthcare Changes

America is seeing a surge in the demand for medical tests, technologies and treatments. The result? Your recyclable precious metals are likely to become much more valuable and much more in demand. Here are some of the reasons why:

Baby Boomers Are Aging

Boomers – the people who are part of the immense population “bulge” that occurred between 1946 and 1964 – are now entering their later years. The result is that many more people will require more intensive medical testing and care.

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

The Range of Medical Specialties Is Increasing

Not many years ago, most Americans relied on one family doctor to administer a wide range of tests and treatments. Today, people are visiting specialists, urgent care centers, diagnostic testing centers, physical therapists, and alternative practitioners. The result? Again, an increase in the demand for testing and treatment equipment.

More Life-Sustaining Technologies Rely on Precious Metals

The use of medical devices that contain precious metals is increasing dramatically. Gold and Platinum are being used in catheters, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICD), pacemakers, stents, neurovascular devices and devices that monitor or regulate brain functions. As the demand for life-extending and life-enhancing treatment grows, the demand for precious metals is surging too.

New Technologies and Treatments Will Rely on Precious Metals too

“Worth Their Weight: Precious metals have ideal properties for medical devices,” an article that Victoria Burt wrote for Micromanufacturing, quotes Rick Campo, the President of West-Tech Materials, a leading manufacturer of materials for medical applications. Campo told Burt that researchers are now developing platinum-based inks to be used in medical testing procedures.

The result of these trends could be a further increase in demand for your recyclable gold, palladium, platinum, and other precious metals. What happens when the demand increases for any commodity that is in limited supply? As any economist will tell you, the price of that commodity will increase. That’s why this is an excellent time to recycle old cellphones, circuit boards, quantities of gold-plated scrap, used thermocouples, and other materials that contain precious metals. Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

 

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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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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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