Inside Dental Technology
For Precious Metal Refining, Heraeus is ‘Golden’
TRUST is what selecting a precious metals refiner is all about, says Art Rocco of Rocco’s Dental Studio in Escondido, California. “You have to trust that they’ll do the processing correctly, that they have ability to recover 100% of the precious metals, and that they’ll give you an accurate report,” he says. “And then you have to trust that they’ll pay you a fair price.” When it comes to trustworthiness, Mr. Rocco says that Heraeus Precious Metal Refining is golden and beyond trustworthy.
In the words of Tony Circelli, Heraeus’ precious metal refining manager who has been with the company since 1976, “Understanding the refining process and identifying a reputable company to provide fair value for your scrap may be a challenging and time-consuming task, but these days you owe it yourself to do just that. You will find it was well worth your time.”
LOYALTY is not easily earned, and that is especially true in the case of Mr. Rocco. For 4 years, he conducted an experiment in which he collected his assay, mixed it up, divided it into four identical lots, and sent the lots to four different refiners. “All 4 years, Heraeus came back with the biggest payment,” he explains. “In fact, it wasn’t even close.” He’s since stopped experimenting, he says. “I was losing too much money on the lots I wasn’t giving to Heraeus,” he laughs.
During the past several years, he’s recommended Heraeus to six dental practices, and every single one has reported that Heraeus is paying much more and providing much better service than their previous refiner.
Speaking of loyalty, Heraeus is deeply loyal to its laboratory customers. In 2011, the company began making significant donations to the Foundation for Dental Laboratory Technology (FDLT) based on the value of refined scrap from all National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) and FDLT member laboratories that use Heraeus’ refining services.
“Heraeus Kulzer is to be commended for their foresight in their commitment to dental laboratory technology education by providing consistent contributions to the Foundation through linkages to customer sales,” said Barbara Warner Wojdan, CDT, AAACD, Foundation chair and president of Knight Dental Group. “This is a win-win for the dental laboratory community.”
PRIDE can be a powerful motivator, and everyone at Heraeus takes great pride in the loyalty of Mr. Rocco and all of their customers. Heraeus thrives on their efficiency, and after 150 years of experience in refining precious metals, they have figured out the formula for delivering the best possible service to their customers. A few key elements of that formula are listed below:
Collect everything—including grindings from finishing benches and drawers, spills and slag from casting wells, floor sweeps from casting and finishing departments, suction system debris, platinum foil scrap, buttons, sprues, remakes and crucibles, platinum muffles, thermocouples, and more.
1. Provide free scrap audits.
2. Avoid the inefficiency and cost of a middleman.
3. Use state-of-the-art inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) assaying technology.
4. Provide a fire assay when needed.
5. Set settlement based on London metal exchange prices on the day of assay.
6. Include absolutely NO treatment charges, NO assay charges, NO freight charges, NO weight charges, NO accountability charges, and NO minimum lot charges for low-grade lots—all of which allow Heraeus to maximize the return.
7. Low minimal refining fees.
8. Offer a wide range of settlement payment options.
9. Treat customers with the utmost of respect, integrity, and care.
BEWARE the refiner that does not adhere to this formula. In fact, if you are using another company for your precious metals refining, Heraeus encourages you to ask them how many of these elements apply to the way they do business. They also recommend that you beware any situation involving any of the following:
• A middleman
• Cash-on-the-spot deals
• Outrageous turnaround promises
• Contracts and settlement statements with extensive fine print
These are risks you simply do not have to deal with when you work with Heraeus. The fact is that they do not resort to such tactics because they already have so many advantages that none of the competitors can match. For example, their outstanding economies of scale include more than 20,000 scrap shipments per year, making Heraeus the largest private precious metals refiner on the planet. And their state-of-the-art refinery in Newark, New Jersey, is the envy of the industry.
But as exceptional as the technology, the facilities, and the expertise are, what really makes Heraeus a special company—and a special partner for the world’s leading dental laboratories—is their sincere passion for customers. Heraeus is a family-owned company that holds all of its employees to an exacting code of conduct and has a sincere commitment to social responsibility and giving back to the community.
SURPRISE is usually a bad thing in business. But Heraeus loves to give its customers pleasant surprises. Just ask Greg and Steve Killian, owners of Killian Dental Ceramics in Irvine, California. A few years ago, they moved their laboratory into a larger, more modern facility. “We had heard that you never leave a dental laboratory carpeting behind because of all the alloy it can contain,” said Greg Killian. However, the Killians were confident that their routine recovery policy of using vacuums with accumulators, consistently vacuuming the floor, and refining all vacuum bags had kept any lost alloy to a minimum.
But the Killians’ Heraeus sales representative would not allow them to leave the carpet behind. “He said he’d take care of everything, and he did,” said Greg Killian. “He pulled up the carpeting, cut it into sections, boxed it up and shipped it to the Heraeus refinery—all at no cost to us,” he said. “Our guess was that they’d find around $2,000 worth of alloy, which we would have been happy with. So when Heraeus told us they’d recovered $35,000 worth of materials, we were blown away. It was like found money, and it ended up paying for our entire move—and then some.”
Mr. Rocco has also been treated to a pleasant surprise or two by Heraeus. He was recently assigned a new service representative who regularly comes into his facility. “She weighs, bags, labels, and mails all my scrap materials for me, and I don’t even have to ask her to,” he says. On top of that, Heraeus sends him 6-foot-by-6-foot floor mats as well as mailing tubes into which they can be inserted after rolling them up, and all of this is provided at no charge. “I didn’t think it could get any better. And then it did.”
Mr. Rocco adds, “It’s amazing in this day and age that there’s a company that cares this much about building a true win-win relationship with its customers.” If you are not yet using Heraeus’ services for your precious metals refining, they would love to have a chance to amaze—and perhaps surprise—you as well.
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