Inside Dental Technology
A Full-Scale Precious Metal Refinery
Exceed customer expectations with Atlantic Precious Metal Refining.
What started in a tiny backyard shed in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has become Atlantic Precious Metal Refining (Atlantic), the market leader in dental scrap refining, servicing 30% of all US-based dental laboratories. What is the secret to Atlantic’s success? It is their people and their passion for what they do.
Don Mappin, Jr., owner and CEO, started Atlantic more than 25 years ago and cultivated it into the all-inclusive precious metal refinery it is today. The son of a dental laboratory owner, Don literally grew up in the dental industry, with a laboratory in the basement of his family’s home. A native of Pittsburgh, Don spent 4 years serving his country in the US Air Force before returning home to work at his father’s laboratory, where he was charged with finding a refinery for the laboratory’s precious metal scrap. His relationship with the refinery led to a position as a sales representative with the company. Soon after, Don decided to open his own refinery—one with a sharper focus, more attention to detail of the incoming scrap lot, and one that offered a higher return rate to his customers.
During the last 25 years, Atlantic has grown from that tiny backyard shed filled with trial and error and discovery into the impressive 15,000-square-foot operation it is today. James Gorgol, CDT and owner of Distinctive Dental Studio, Ltd., says, “Honest, trustworthy, and fair are the words I use when I recommend Atlantic to other laboratory owners. That’s why I have used them myself for over 15 years.”
With more than 150 years of combined experience working in the dental and precious metal refining industries, Atlantic’s executive team includes: Don; his wife, Darlene; his brothers, Tom and Scott; and Josh Daab, vice president of sales.
Don says, “I think it’s our knowledge of dental scrap and our years of experience in the dental industry that helped us develop the five-stage refining protocol we follow for every lot we process. My brother Tom, our dad, and I are all former military, so that probably had something to do with it too.”
Stage one is documentation and preparation. A custom-designed database is used to track every scrap lot processed at Atlantic’s facility. Each lot is entered into the system, photographed and sorted, manually and mechanically sifted, and a representative sample is taken and x-rayed. Each element is then prepared with a specifically designed antioxidant mixture to aid in smelting and metal recovery.
All scrap lots are not created equal. This demands multiple workflows in Atlantic’s facility to handle whatever type of scrap is sent in. The size of the lot, the type of materials contained in makeup and form, combustible or noncombustible items, etc., are just some of the physical aspects Atlantic examines, which helps to determine the “path for best return” of processing each unique scrap lot.
Stage two involves smelting the scrap. Precise temperatures, aggregate mixtures, and smelting techniques to amalgamate the metal in the scrap lot are chosen. The precious metal is separated from
slag, and then it is coalesced and melted into ingots. These rough ingots are melted again, poured into bars, and cleaned to remove rogue elements, which results in the purest metal possible. Drill samples are taken from both sides of the bar and sent for assaying.
Stage three is assay and settlement. Atlantic performs no less than three separate assays per lot in one of their state-of-the-art, inductively coupled spectroscopy spectrometers, which accurately measures in parts per billion to determine the exact content of metal contained in each lot.
Final settlements are based on a 5-day rolling average of the second London close. Atlantic pays on 100% of recovered metal content for gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, less 10% and a $25 USD assay fee with absolutely no hidden fees.
Stages four and five involve the digestion, extraction, and purification of four metal bars back to elemental gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Using the latest technologies, Atlantic is able to produce .9995 elemental materials for sale back into the industry. The ability to refine precious metal from scrap to pure without a middleman to pay and without outsourcing any step of the refining process, places Atlantic in a unique position and translates into some of the highest returns in the industry.
Josh Daab says, “What sets Atlantic apart from other scrap processors is that we are an actual full-scale precious metal refinery. If a scrap processing company is selling its bars after assay and settlement, they are essentially a middleman losing crucial control of the end result. Companies not performing full refining onsite leave themselves subject to another company’s analysis of the material. For the end customer, this translates into hidden fees to cover this unknown variable. Also, by performing the refining process, Atlantic is able to triple verify the results delivered from three technologies: x-ray, assay, and individual element weight measurement, which is delivered through the digestion and extraction process by chemically refining the material to its elemental state. By performing each of these processes within our own facility, Atlantic is second to none in technological capabilities and the ability to deliver the most accurate measurement of your material in the industry.”
How Atlantic refines scrap is just as important to them as how they treat their customers, prospects, vendors, and employees. The company is committed to being all-inclusive and never outsourcing any step of the smelting, assaying, or refining process. They are dedicated to being precise, and they meticulously pay attention to detail during the entire refining process, guaranteeing the protection of valuable precious metal materials at all times. They are also committed to being held accountable and never deviating from the high standards their longtime customers have come to expect and their new clients deserve.
Darlene Mappin, vice president and CFO, says, “We know what it’s like to send scrap to a refinery because we’ve all done it ourselves. That’s why our mission is to exceed customer expectations. Simply put, we want you to remember us and refer us not only because of our high returns, but because you enjoy doing business with us and trust our expertise. Reputation is everything in this industry, and we want our satisfied customers to be our biggest advocates.”
Don Albensi, CDT, owner, and president of Albensi Laboratories, says, “From the start of our business relationship in 1988, Atlantic continues to impress us with their efficient, professional manner, an approach that not only inspired our confidence in their company, but generates solid returns. Atlantic is trustworthy, convenient, and a pleasure to deal with. I have full confidence in Atlantic and have recommended their services to many friends and colleagues, who have always thanked me in the end.”
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