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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Recycling Silver Cadmium Contacts Can Give You a Big Payday

Recycling Silver Cadmium Contacts Can Give You a Big Payday

If you’re buying and recycling scrapped precious metals, we have a piece of profitable advice for you today: Be on the lookout for silver cadmium scrap or unused components. There’s a lot of money to be made by recycling them, for several reasons. First, old industrial components made of silver cadmium are not difficult to find, because they have been used for years in many manufacturing processes. Second, with cadmium trading at about $12 per pound, a quantify of unused or recycled silver cadmium components can offer you a big return over what you paid for them.

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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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New Restaurant Technologies Rely on Thermocouples You Can Recycle for Cash

New Restaurant Technologies Rely on Thermocouples You Can Recycle for Cash

In the larger restaurants where so many of us eat today – the chains that have the same restaurants that we see whether we are driving near Atlanta, Los Angeles or Boston – most of the food is prepared in an entirely new way.  Partially or completely prepared frozen entrees arrive from central production facilities that resemble factories, not kitchens.  And when those meals arrive, they are stored in freezers and then prepared quickly, using high-tech restaurant equipment.

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A Brief History of Platinum

A Brief History of Platinum

Because platinum wasn’t used widely in jewelry or industry until about 100 years ago, it seems like a “new” precious metal. That’s not really true.  In about 700 B.C., Egyptian artisans were using it to make ornamental objects, like the famous and mysterious Casket of Thebes.  And at the same time, pre-Columbian artisans in South America were fashioning it into small trinkets. Those are only a few fascinating facts about this beautiful, tarnish-resistant, and durable precious metal. Here’s a quick timeline of its fascinating history.

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Why Recycling Large Quantities of Small Appliances Offers You a Big Payback

Why Recycling Large Quantities of Small Appliances Offers You a Big Payback

How valuable are the precious metals in a single toaster? How about in a coffee maker or a toaster oven? In reality, you won’t find more than a few cents’ worth of precious metals in small appliances like those. But when the quantities of small appliances increase, things can get more interesting – and more profitable. Here are some interesting variables that can have a big impact on the potential value of quantities of smaller appliances . . .

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How Business Brokers Can Make Windfall Profits in Gold and other Precious Metals

How Business Brokers Can Make Windfall Profits in Gold and other Precious Metals

...Yet there is a compelling reason why business brokers should slow down a little and take a close look at the businesses that they are listing for sale: Many businesses contain sources of gold and other precious metals that can be profitably recycled with a qualified precious metals refinery like ours....

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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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Look for Precious Metals where Heat and Metal Meet

If you’re on the lookout for precious metals that can be recycled by a qualified precious metals refinery, here’s a rule of thumb to keep in mind . . .

You’ll often find precious metals in places where high temperatures and metal come into contact

That simple principle can lead you to sources of recyclable precious metals in a variety of scrap metals. Let’s take a closer look.

Welding and Brazing Supplies

Shown: unused welding rods, sputtering targets and other manufacturing equipment can be recycled for their precious metals by Specialty Metals.

Shown: unused welding rods, sputtering targets and other manufacturing equipment can be recycled for their precious metals by Specialty Metals.

In simple terms, welding and brazing are processes that use high heat to bond metals together, often by raising the temperature of a welding rod and the metals that are to be welded together to their melting point. The rod and the metals can then flow together, forming a bond that is nearly as strong as a single piece of metal.

To allow that welding, the temperature can be raised by the introduction of high electrical voltage (in arc welding) and also by using a torch that burns acetylene or another gas at high temperature. Sometimes these processes are done by hand. In other cases, they are completed by robotic and other production-line welding machines.

Welding and brazing rods and fluxes usually contain quantities of silver, manganese, zinc, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, or vanadium. Sometimes those metals are applied to the outside of welding rods, where they help the melting rods combine with the metals that are being welded or brazed. So the bottom line is that quantities of unused welding rods or wire can contain valuable metals, and so can quantities of welding scrap that appears worthless.

Industrial and Other Kilns and Stoves

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

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

As we have noted before on this blog, thermocouples are devices that are used to monitor or control temperatures remotely. They can contain platinum, rhodium, tungsten, rhenium, and other valuable metals. So if you have a quantity of old production- line equipment that was used to make ceramics, annealed products, or welded components, don’t toss it away before you find out what kind of thermocouples it contains. And guess what? Even old home appliances like stoves, furnaces and water heaters contain thermocouples that could be valuable.

Automotive and Industrial Catalytic Converters

Catalytic convertors are another place where metals and heat meet – and again, they contain precious metals, most often platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Whether you have 500 or more old automobile or truck catalytic convertors to recycle or are dismantling a factory where diesel or other internal combustion engines were used, remember that you probably own a quantity of those valuable precious metals.

Other Places to Look for Precious Metals and Alloys

You will find silver and other precious metals in supplies and equipment that are used in a variety of other applications that include casting, metal fabrication, jewelry-making, pasteurizing and even food production. If you remember the rule, “heat plus metal equal dollars,” chances are you can discover sources of metals that we can recycle and refine for you. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we can help you turn your discoveries into cash.

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What Happens when Platinum Meets Rhodium?

Platinum is a valuable precious metal. So is rhodium. So what happens when they are combined?

The result is a valuable alloy that has some very useful properties and abilities, including stability at high heat. That could explain why alloys of the platinum and rhodium have found their way into a number of devices and components that are widely used in testing, aerospace and production lines.

Shown: platinum rhodium electrode mesh, which Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for the best precious metal prices.

Shown: platinum rhodium electrode mesh, which Specialty Metals can recycle and refine for the best precious metal prices.

If you have some of the following items on hand, they could contain quantities of the two metals that can return a lot of dollar value to you after they are recycled.

Platinum-Rhodium Thermocouple Wire

Thermocouple wire is widely used in industrial applications, most often where temperatures on a production line are monitored from remote locations. Some of these applications include production line welding, ceramics manufacturing, and many chemical processes.

Platinum-Rhodium Labware Used in Testing

These items can include crucibles, tongs, stands, probes, and other pieces of testing equipment. Even when such items are discolored or worn, they still contain valuable quantities of platinum and rhodium.

Platinum-Rhodium Catalysts Used in Chemical Production

These applications are far-ranging and fascinating. Screens made of platinum-rhodium alloy are used to produce nitric acid, fine glass fibers for use in fiber optics, and even artificial silk. If you encounter a batch of those screens, it is well worth contacting Special Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to find out more about having them analyzed.

Automotive and Industrial Catalytic Converters

These are the applications where alloys of platinum and rhodium have been most widely used. If you operate an automotive recycling center, a muffler shop, or other business where you accrue a quantity of catalytic converters, don’t let their value slip away.

And let’s not forget platinum-rhodium-tungsten alloys . . .

These highly heat-resistant alloys are finding their way into a number of aerospace applications, and can be worth a lot if recycled. Have questions? Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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Six Traits of the Best Platinum Refiners

Platinum is needed for the manufacturing of so many items today – thermocouples, platinum jewelry, and catalytic converters, to name a handful. But at the same time, it is one of the rarest precious metals. That combination of high demand and rarity in nature means that there is a strong market for your old platinum items.

Photo of molten precious metal like platinum, silver and gold being smelted and refined - Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners.

Yet how can you select the best platinum refiner to recycle them? Here are some traits to look for:

  1. Responsiveness – When you call a platinum refiner, you will have questions. How many catalytic converters will the refiner process at a time, for example? How can you tell how much platinum is present in the used medical EP catheters that you have on hand? A knowledgeable expert should patiently answer your questions. If the person who comes to the phone or calls you back doesn’t listen well or doesn’t think your questions are worth his or her time, you should find another refinery.
  2. Clarity – What exactly should you do with your platinum-bearing items? Should you send in a sample for testing? If so, how? If you have 500 or more catalytic converters that you would like to recycle, how can you ship them, and how much will that transport cost? An experienced precious metals refinery will be able to clearly explain procedures and “next steps.”
  3. A timeline – If you’re sending in a sample for testing, the platinum refinery should tell you when you will receive the results of that analysis. If you are sending in items to be recycled like used platinum thermocouple wire, how long will the processing take, and when will you be paid? The details shouldn’t be unclear or iffy. After all, you are dealing with quantities of precious metals that can have significant value.
  4. Experience – You want to use a refinery that has extensive experience processing the kind of items that you want to recycle. If you have catalytic converters, for instance, ask the representative how many catalytic converters his or her refinery processes every year. Also ask if you can obtain references from current customers.
  5. Professional memberships and accreditations – For example, Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and listed with Dun & Bradstreet and the Jewelers Board of Trade. We are also members of the International Precious Metal Institute (IPMI) and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC). 
  6. Environmental responsibility – Processing precious metals requires extreme care. Strong chemicals are sometimes used, noxious gases are sometimes released, and residues of chemicals that are left after processing must be disposed of properly. All processes should be carried out in strict compliance with federal, state, and local environmental laws. Here at Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, for example, we respect the environment, never cut corners, and do things right. No material sent to us ever winds up in a landfill.

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Retooling Time Is a Great Time to Recover Precious Metals

Are you replacing or adding equipment to your production line? Be sure to look in these places where precious metals could be hiding right under your nose.

Unused Welding and Specialty Soldering Supplies

Shown: unused welding rods, sputtering targets and other manufacturing equipment that can be recycled for their precious metals by Specialty Metals.

Be sure you’re not forgetting any stocks of unused welding rods and specialty fluxes. If you’re a jewelry manufacturer, don’t forget any unused stocks of gold or silver soldering wire – even little end pieces and scraps can be worth a lot of money if refined.   

Used Plating Equipment and Sludge

No matter what metal you were applying as a plating, there is probably a quantity of it hiding in old plating tanks, brushes, electrodes, perforated disks, chemicals, filters, mesh and sludge.

Thermocouples, Sensors and Circuit Boards

They were installed in the manufacturing and testing equipment that you are about to discard. If you know how to extract the precious metals like platinum contained in thermocouple wire and the gold in circuit boards, they can yield a surprising amount of money. Don’t know where to look? Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and we will help you.

Shavings and Filings

Don't throw money away! Shown here: silver turnings a customer sent to Specialty Metals to be recycled and refined profitably.

Don't throw money away! Shown here: silver turnings a customer sent to Specialty Metals to be recycled and refined profitably.

They accumulated under and around the manufacturing equipment you are removing, right? Lathes and milling machines throw off large quantities of shavings. Depending on the metals you have been machining and the quantity of shavings you have, you could have something worth recycling. Also: You are saving your shavings and recycling them, not just tossing them out, right? Even if you only have aluminum or brass chips piling up, and not more valuable silver turnings or gold filings, they should be responsibly recycled.

Are You Retooling?

Be sure to call us. There’s no obligation to use our services, of course, but we might be able to help you uncover valuable precious metals in places you are overlooking. 

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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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