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Inside Dental Technology
October 2015
Volume 6, Issue 10

Refiners’ Smart Decisions Can Help Your Bottom Line

Differences in returns depend on fees, overhead costs, integrity

For years, Mike was loyal to his refiner. The refiner sent a friendly sales representative into his laboratory several times a year to collect their scrap. The convenience was great. Mike didn’t have to do anything but deposit the check that the sales representative gave to him. One day, however, just on a whim, Mike decided to try another refiner. He mailed his lot in and within a week received a check that was nearly 30% higher than the previous return. Mike was baffled. He expected a difference, but not by that much. Clearly, there must have been a mistake somewhere. He knew he used the same metals and sent nearly the same weight. What happened?

Mike’s story is common in the dental industry. At a time when laboratories are struggling with tight profit margins, the need to increase efficiencies is critical; this includes obtaining the best refining returns possible. But how do you know which refiner gives the best results? Most refineries use similar methods to assay scrap. Among the most commonly used are fire assay, ICP Plasma Spectrometry, and X-ray Fluorescence. All of these methods yield very accurate results. The differences in the returns are not a product of inaccuracies in the methods used; rather, it comes down to the fees, overhead costs, and integrity of each refinery.

No Extra Fees

Baggage fees, bank fees, annual fees, administrative fees, transportation fees; there are too many fees in our daily lives. Who needs more? At Cora Refining, we don’t like fees either. We use a flat-fee price schedule (the up-to-date prices are always listed on our website: There is only one charge per metal; there are no extra fees or minimum charges. Our assay reports are designed with a simple layout to allow our clients to make easy comparisons. The report includes the precise breakdown of the metal content: the weight as well as the price fixes per troy ounce that were used in the calculations. There’s no need to make conversions from pennyweights to troy ounces to figure out what the market prices were on the day your assay settled.

Overhead Costs

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, famously quipped, “Every time Walmart spends 1 dollar foolishly, it comes out of our customers’ pockets.” Like Walton, Cora Refining understands the value of keeping costs low. Every increase in the efficiency of our operations leads to better returns for our clients. So while you may notice that Cora Refining does not have a sales staff to pick up your scrap, we can assure that you’re getting an excellent return.


While honesty and integrity are important in all industries, they are absolute necessities in refining. What truly distinguishes one refinery from another are the character and values of the people who run it. Bob Raths, who started Cora in 1976, developed a reputation throughout the industry for honesty and integrity based on how he treats others every day. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, a 1-person laboratory, a dental office, or a thriving 200-person laboratory; Raths treats everyone with equal respect. “We may be CEOs, technicians, dentists, or refiners,” Raths says, “but at the end of the day, we’re all just people trying to make a living and giving it our best each day. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and honesty.”

Relationships do not form from one experience, nor the second; rather, they develop over a long period of time. They come from repeated positive experiences, not just good returns. It is the entire experience from the person who answers the phone to the individual who prints your check and makes sure it’s sent out quickly. It’s in how responsive they are to your questions and how easy it is to reach a person on the phone. It’s in helping a client who needs his return before he goes on vacation. It’s in treating clients the same way you would treat your friends. At Cora Refining, we strive to develop strong relationships with all of our clients.

The state of the dental industry today has thrust many challenges and opportunities on all of us. The global and technological changes that have occurred these past few years have forced us all to carefully scrutinize our business models and adapt to better position ourselves for the future. Cora Refining can play a significant role in helping your laboratory improve its profitability. By providing accurate results at low prices, along with exceptional customer service, Cora can improve your bottom line.

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