The year 1993 witnessed at RUF Maschinenbau the culmination of the exchange mould’s evolution from wood debris to metal chips. Just two years later, as many as ten metal briquetting systems had been sold in addition to the original wood processors. Today, RUF briquetting technology has become an integral constituent in the recycling of chips generated by the metalworking industries. A success story in the SME segment.

After developing his first briquetting press in 1985 and founding his own company shortly thereafter, Hans Ruf was as yet unaware that these were the beginnings of a genuine success story. Today, RUF Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG, Zaisertshofen is the world market leader for hydraulic briquetting presses, a technology that began with wood, then revolutionised recycling, not only of metal residues.

This was founded on the development of the so called hydraulic briquetting exchange mould and its translation from wood to metal, both the achievements of Hans Ruf thirty years ago. Crucial to these were a number of adjustments to the central components like the mould, ram, and hopper. To withstand the excessive levels of abrasion, they were made of hardened steel exhibiting particularly high mechanical resistance. In addition, Hans Ruf redesigned all relevant wearing parts for fast and simple replacement.

Still unsatisfied, the resourceful inventor decided to make the metal briquettes round. This followed his calculations and many trials demonstrating this geometry’s optimal distribution of pressure during the briquetting process. In other words, his machines produced briquettes of very high density back then as well.

Steady sales growth for metal presses

And the interest on the market developed accordingly. Before the end of two years, RUF had sold its first ten machines, and after ten years, this figure topped the hundred mark. In the ten-year period following (2003–2013), the company could increase its sales to a good 700 metal briquetting systems, and in the ten years after, these almost doubled to about 1300.

Last year alone, this Bavarian machine builder had sold 185 metal processing systems that are now briquetting aluminium, carbon steel, high grade steel, cast iron, copper materials, magnesium, and titanium in a great many sectors. The most important of these are the wide-ranging metal-processing and automotive industries, foundries, and recycling companies. All benefit in many ways from this reliable technology.

RUF briquetting systems help users to save resources and enhance their economic efficiency. The greater the volume chips adopt after machining, the more important is their effective briquetting. Only this can produce the high density approaching that of the solid material. Crucial here is a high specific briquetting pressure. RUF systems for cast iron, for instance, generate pressures as high as 4000 kg/cm2. For aluminium these can reach 3000 kg/cm2.

The many advantages of briquetting

RUF briquettes present a wealth of benefits compared with bulk chips. First, all users save a lot of space. The second benefit is found in the simplified logistics, both internally for stacking and externally for transport, i.e. the shipments by truck from the generating companies to recyclers or smelters. Thirdly, melting the briquettes can serve to increase the metal yield. The background: Chips are light, so they float to the top of the melt pool. The consequence is a high loss by oxidation. Thanks to their high density, though, briquettes sink quickly, minimising their exposure to this form of loss.

Advantage no. 4 addresses high-performance machining’s frequent use of coolants that ultimately adhere to the generated chips. On RUF briquetters, this moisture content, originally as high as 15%, is reduced to less than 2%, depending on the chip material. The extracted medium can then be collected as a valuable secondary resource.

The actual and potential users represent a wide range of volumes, and the Bavarian machine builder offers its systems in a number of corresponding sizes and designs delivering various specific pressures and capacities. Capacities range from about 30 kg/h to 2500 kg/h for aluminium, 3000 kg/h for cast iron, and 5000 kg/h for copper materials.

About the company:

Based in Zaisertshofen, the company Ruf was founded by Hans Ruf in 1969. Today his sons, Roland and Wolfgang Ruf, are at the helm. About 170 employees worldwide develop and produce highly innovative, modular briquetting systems for wood, metal, and other residuals. Fitted with a 2.2 kW motor, the smallest RUF Formika achieves a capacity of up to 100 kg/h (depending on the material and chip geometry). Delivering 90 kW, the largest system (RUF 90) can process up to 2500 kg/h of aluminium, 3000 kg/h of cast iron, and 5000 kg/h of copper materials.

Ruf shipped its first briquetting press as far back as 1985. And this is still fully operable today: living proof of RUF stability and durability. Today there are over 6000 RUF briquetting systems operating in over 100 countries.

The founding family: Inventor Hans Ruf (second from right) and his wife founded their eponymous company in 1969. On developing a wood briquetting press in 1985, he realigned his portfolio and launched the first metal briquetter in 1993. Today his sons Roland (left) and Wolfgang Ruf (right) are at the helm of this successful company employing about 165.
Then and now: Thirty years ago, saw the launch of the first metal press based on the principle conceived by Ruf Maschinenbau. Since then, these machines have been evolving on a permanent, perfecting basis.
RUF systems briquette not only aluminium, but also carbon and high-grade steel, cast iron, copper materials, magnesium, and titanium.
RUF produces its quality metal and wood presses in Zaisertshofen, Bavaria. From there they are shipped all over the world.