FLSmidth’s Melbourne operation has been the home of the ABON® Sizer and Rollerscreen product lines for over 50 years. These products have a large installed base across the globe in a range of mining and cement applications, including alumina, iron ore, copper, nickel and limestone. 


Both products are fully manufactured and supported in-house by our team in Melbourne, where we provide design, engineering, raw material procurement, manufacture, technical support and spare parts.  


Environmental impact 


The manufacture of ABON Sizers and Rollerscreens involves a large amount of steel, the production of which is energy intensive. At ABON, in line with FLSmidth’s overall sustainability ambitions, we are always working to find solutions to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. A key focus area is the recovery and recycling of steel components to be upcycled, which has several important sustainability benefits: 

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
The steel industry is one of the largest sources of emissions globally, accounting for a significant portion of industrial greenhouse gas output. Recycling steel requires approximately 72% less energy compared with primary steel production1. This reduction in energy consumption translates to substantial cuts in CO2 emissions.
Conserving finite resources
Traditional steel production relies on extracting raw materials, such as iron ore and coal. Embracing a circular economy approach by recycling and reusing steel enables greater conservation of these natural resources, extending the lifespan of materials and reducing the need for further extraction. 
Greater energy efficiencies
By actively incorporating recycled steel into our production processes, we can enhance energy efficiency across our supply chain. Using recycled steel in manufacturing can reduce the energy required for processing, fabrication and transportation of raw materials.  
Minimising waste generation
Recycling can significantly reduce waste accumulation, helping to alleviate the strain on landfill capacity and mitigate the environmental impact. Furthermore, upcycling worn-out steel products not only keeps these materials out of landfills, but transforms them into valuable resources for further use.

Embracing the circular economy 

For FLSmidth ABON in Melbourne, upcycling is nothing new, having run a highly successful steel reuse and recycling programme for over 20 years. The programme is founded on strong customer and supplier relationships, a comprehensive understanding of how to add value to our customer’s business, and, of course, a strong desire to adopt circular economy practices to reduce our environmental footprint.  

The opportunity to reduce the environmental impact comes from both the manufacturing and the maintenance of the ABON product lines.

Our “take back” programme encompasses:

  • Recovering and recycling steel offcuts and machine turnings from the manufacturing process
  • Recycling unserviceable, worn teeth and shafts from refurbishments

The manufacturing operation produces steel offcuts and machine turnings, which are upcycled through arrangements with our steel suppliers. 

Building business relationships 

We also support our customers with machine and shaft refurbishments, enabling them to prolong asset lifetime. Providing this service ensures we stay in touch with our customers’ needs.   


"In addition to the circularity aspects, this programme helps us gain deeper understanding of how our customers use our products,” comments Greg Berry, Product Manager, FLSmidth ABON. “This means we can maximise performance or we redesign it to suit customers’ specific needs in the refurbishing process.” 


He continues: “Our ability to recycle materials is dependent on a collaborative relationship with our customers, steel suppliers and foundries. A refurbishment usually produces unserviceable parts that need to be disposed of. Instead of these parts ending up as waste, they are reused by one of our steel suppliers.” 


In addition, FLSmidth ABON has an agreement with a foundry to purchase worn tooth castings from the ABON Sizer product and reuse them in the supply of new castings. 


In the last five years, the foundry has reused more than 430 tonnes – or approximately 80 tonnes per year – of scrap manganese segments. These are used exclusively in ABON manganese melts. With about 700 tonnes per year of manganese segments being produced, this means approximately 10% of manufacturing output is recycled.

2022 recycling data


tonnes of steel recycled


tonnes of steel returned to foundries


tonnes of steel returned to suppliers

How does the recycling process work? 


The scrap is prepared for melting by shot-blasting and then flame-cutting into manageable pieces to feed into the furnace. Shot blasting helps to reduce emissions caused by mud and ore contaminant producing fumes in the melting process and to minimise the potential of molten sparks being produced. 


The mix for melting in the furnace is 60% scrap and 40% virgin material, which consists of mild steel and alloys such as ferro manganese and manganese flake to balance the chemical specifications required.  


Our yield on a melt is nominally 60%. This means for 1000kg melted, we achieve a raw casting of 600kg, with the balance being casting runners and risers which are returned for remelting. When we don’t have sufficient scrap, we melt virgin metals together with these returns. 

ABON teeth (1)

At the end of their lives, worn teeth are unserviceable. These and other large metal items are returned to the foundry, where they are cast into new teeth. 
Metal swarf (1)

Waste materials such as swarf and turnings can be reused in the manufacture of other metal products. 

New circularity guidance for the steel industry 


The Science-Based Targets initiative has recently published guidelines for the steel industry to help companies implement decarbonisation strategies. The guidance highlights the need for a shift towards greater circularity in the industry, including ensuring the availability of scrap metal in production.  


Read more about the Steel Science-Based Target-Setting Guidance →

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