Safety fuses are important. They help protect machines and people − but when their job is done they become redundant. Yet ‘blown’ fuse links will still contain lots of valuable raw materials. This is why the NH-HH Recycling Association was set up some 20 years ago, with manufacturers joining together to collect and recycle discarded fuse links. As a founding member of the association SIBA has also been involved in this project for 20 years - having joined the group in July 1995.
According to the association's figures some 202 tonnes of NH (low-voltage, high-breaking capacity) and HH (high-voltage, high breaking capacity) fuse links were collected and recycled last year alone − which makes a combined total of nearly 3,200 tonnes from 1995 to 2013. The waste handlers are able to recover copper and silver from the old fuses. While in the early years of this operation the fuse links were still being dismantled or shredded, the process of separating the valuable copper and silver from the other materials (including silica sand and ceramic) is now carried out in converter ovens. The classic raw materials copper and silver are returned to the production cycle while the slag produced during the conversion process can be used in road building and dyke construction. Since 2010 the association has also been able to recycle smaller fuse links of the D0 type. The project has now set up a number of local collection points in addition to the industrial recycling centres, which continue to account for the lion's share of the output. Here you can learn more about the work of the NH/HH Recycling Association.