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Posted on Tue. Aug. 05, 2008 - 06:00 am EDT

OmniSource plans scrap plant

A $2.5 million investment could help OmniSource Corp. extract more metal from vehicle remnants at its southeast Fort Wayne operation, the company’s executive vice president said Monday.

But the scrap metal-processing company will need the Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals’ approval to move forward with the project.

OmniSource wants to set up an American Pulverizer reducing mill at 2001 E. Pontiac St. After the company crushes vehicles off site, it brings car seats, upholstery and other remnants called fluff to the Pontiac Street location. The new equipment would sort metal scraps from the remnants, said Ben Eisbart, OmniSource’s executive vice president of administration.

With the reducing mill, Eisbart said OmniSource could salvage 5 percent to 7 percent more metal.

“The more you can recover, the better,” he said.

Employees currently pick out remaining metal by hand. OmniSource’s proposed investment would automate the process and increase its efficiency, Eisbart said.

The project is not expected to change the size of OmniSource’s workforce, Eisbart said. The company’s heavy-media division, which would include the reducing mill, employed 63 as of last month.

Eisbart said he wasn’t sure when OmniSource wants to install the equipment.

The Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals will have a chance to weigh in on the project first. Although the proposed site is in an industrial area, OmniSource needs approval to store scrap materials outside.

The board has scheduled a public hearing on the project at 6 p.m. Aug. 28 in Room 126 of the City-County Building.

Having the reducing mill on Pontiac Street should not disturb southeast Fort Wayne residents, Eisbart said. OmniSource will not crush any cars at the site, and he said the metal sorting equipment is quiet.

“It’s not a terribly noisy process at all,” he said.

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