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The Benefits of Recycling Silver-Cadmium Contacts

cadmium silver

When it comes to silver, there is no shortage of silver items to recycle. Silver is used in a wide range of products – from flatware and jewelry, to medical technology and dental appliances. One form of valuable silver scrap that is not as well-known are electrical contacts and conductors. We’ll explain what silver-cadmium contacts are, where they can be sourced, and their potential payout. However, please exercise caution when handling any scrap containing cadmium. OSHA classifies cadmium dust, and the fumes released from heated cadmium, as toxic substances.

What Are Silver-Cadmium Contacts?

Silver-cadmium contacts are components used in electrical devices. They are great conductors of electricity and are arc-resistant, meaning they hinder the ability of electricity to jump between open contacts and start fires. These traits make alloys of cadmium and silver effective for use in switches and other applications with high electrical loads.

Where Is Silver-Cadmium Sourced?

If you have any electronic scrap, you likely already have silver cadmium. This is because it is frequently used in things like motors, relays, switches and electrical contacts.

If your business does not produce silver-cadmium scrap, but you’d like to recycle it, look for business liquidation auctions. You will sometimes find large quantities of silver-cadmium scrap at low prices. Examples of businesses that might sell silver-cadmium are:

  • Molding companies, fabricators, and metal foundries
  • Medical and testing device manufacturers
  • Companies that employ welding in any part of its manufacturing process
  • Low-volume customized electronic device and prototype manufacturers

Components That Contain Silver-Cadmium

Silver cadmium components can be found in many forms. Some items to look for include:

  • Contact rivets. These may look like plain old rivets but take a closer look. If your rivets are made of silver-cadmium, they could be more valuable than you think. This form of rivet is used in fittings that attach contacts to wires.
  • Multi-metal contact findings and components. These components come in many shapes and sizes. Some are standardized and purchasable in bulk quantities. Others are custom-fabricated for installation in specialized devices like medical testing equipment, aerospace components, and production-line kilns. You can even get lucky and find silver-cadmium rivets in them if you look closer. The key takeaway is: Make sure you thoroughly inspect any scrap or unused devices you find as even contacts made of copper or steel might integrate small parts made of valuable alloys like silver and cadmium.
  • Electrical contact tape. Electrical contact tape is used in the manufacture of specialized electronic devices used in medical testing, laboratory testing, and production line equipment. This means, when looking for scrap metals, look for any rolls of metallic tape. Not all tape will contain silver-cadmium, but some will.

How Much Is Silver-Cadmium Scrap Worth?

It depends. Typically, silver-cadmium alloys contain around 90 to 75 percent silver. Assaying is the best way to find out how much your scrap is worth.

All in all, silver-cadmium is another form of scrap in plentiful supply that can put some revenue back into your business.

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