Recycling/Scrap Reclaim at NPE2018: Technology Focuses on Boosting Regrind Consistency, Pellet Quality

There will be no shortage of new technology and highlights of the latest trends in recycling and sustainability at NPE2018.

The potential of plastics recycling in the U.S. is massive, thanks to several factors, including the reduction of post-consumer plastic waste imports by China and pledges from brand owners to increase the amount of recycled material in their products. With all that in mind, expect recycling to make a big splash at NPE2018, with plenty of new technology developments, a first-hand demonstration of recycling in action, and a summit dedicated to recycling and sustainable practices.

RECYCLING SYSTEMS

Erema North America will showcase an Intarema 1108 T live at the booth, processing clean LDPE production waste direct and without pre-shredding to make high-quality regrind. The company will also provide details on what it claims is the world’s first R-PET inline preform system at its booth. SIPA, an Italian manufacturer of PET packaging machinery, joined forces with Erema to develop a flexible, direct method to make food-contact-compliant preforms from recycled PET flakes in a continuous process.

Erema’s new business unit, Powerfil, which is responsible for the company’s filtration products, will be represented at NPE for the first time. The filtration systems are now also available as individual components for extrusion lines from other suppliers.

The WKS shredding line from Weima America will make its North American debut; it can process everything from bulky objects to tear-resistant fibers and film. A swing ram on rolls inside the cutting chamber provides for consistent infeed of materials. An inspection flap inside the chamber allows easy access for maintenance and to clear any foreign objects. These shredders come equipped with hydraulic drives or power-belt drives, depending on the application.

The rotor type also depends on the application—a V-rotor for lumps and large objects, or an F-rotor for fibers and film. In addition, the large Weima WLK 30 Super Jumbo will be on display. It is sized for large pieces of scrap or large throughput quantities. The WLK Super Jumbo features a rotor diam. of 700 mm and more than 80 optional features.

Weima, in partnership with the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) and Commercial Plastics Recycling Inc. (CPR), is one of the Official Recycling Partners of NPE2018. CPR will have a team on site to collect and remove plastic scrap from the show floor and transport it to a parking lot. There, Weima will have a WLK 15 single-shaft shredder to process the plastic waste on the spot. Size reduction will reduce the number of trucks CPR must use to haul the scrap from the show.

New technology developed by Austrian manufacturer Starlinger & Co. GmbH can produce woven-tape fabric directly from PET bottle flakes. With Starlinger’s “bottle-to-bag” technology, no virgin material is needed.

Current applications are large FIBCs (Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) and PP*STAR pinch-bottom bags for packaging products such as dry pet food, fertilizer, sugar, flour or rice. At NPE, Starlinger will exhibit an rPET FIBC.

Starlinger will also highlight its odor-reduction technology that reportedly produces a “smell-improved” granulate that can be used in a wide range of applications. The three-step procedure (material preparation, degassing and post-treatment) eliminates even deeply embedded odors, according to the company. The method works without additives. At NPE2018, a “smelling table” will allow visitors to smell the difference between input material and smell-improved regranulate.

MELT FILTER FOR RECYCLING

Ettlinger, now part of the Maag Group, will present its newest melt filter, the ERF350, which it claims can raise throughput to a new level. The ERF350 is the first model in a new, performance-enhanced generation. Depending on the type and level of contamination in the melt and the selected screen size, it achieves a maximum throughput of 8300 lb/hr. This represents an increase of around 28% over the ERF250, using the same filtration surface at the same small footprint with high energy efficiency.

Ettlinger ERF filters are suitable for filtering all standard polyolefins and polystyrenes as well as numerous engineering plastics, TPEs and TPU. Foreign particles such as paper, aluminum, wood, elastomers, or high-melting polymer composites can be removed from materials containing up to 18% contaminants.

Ettlinger will also bring its newest ECO continuous melt filter to the show. Whereas the ERF series is optimized for separating foreign particles from heavily contaminated polymers, the ECO series filters very easy-flowing materials such as PET, superhigh-flow PP, or nylon containing up to 1.5% contaminants, as well as polyolefins and PS for extrusion of film, sheet, and other semi-finished products. The ECO series is offered in two sizes, the ECO 200 and ECO 250, with screens from 80 to 1000 μm and a maximum throughput of 3900 or 6600 lb/hr, respectively.

All Ettlinger filters are self-cleaning with a rotating, perforated drum, through which there is a continuous flow of melt from the outside to the inside. A scraper removes the contaminants that are held back on the surface and feeds them to the discharge system.

This enables the filter to be used fully automatically and without any disruptions over a period of weeks and months without having to replace the screen. The advantages are ultra-low melt losses and good mixing and homogenizing of the melts.

NEW GRANULATORS, GRINDERS

Conair will launch a new portfolio of granulators with standard features that reportedly include improved sound insulation, hardened and water-cooled cutting chambers on most models, and bigger screens for increased throughput compared with the company’s previous offerings. Seven models will be on display, in configurations for injection and blow molding and pipe/profile and film/sheet extrusion. The new line includes 14 models with rotor diameters of 6 to 23 in. and maximum throughputs from 80 to 3800 lb/hr. Tangential-feed cutting chambers are standard on smaller grinders, while large units come in a super-tangential configuration to facilitate feeding of large, bulky scrap. Three-blade open rotors are also standard, and other rotor designs are available.

Special features include cutting chambers of abrasion-resistant steel, hardened to 550 HV, water cooling on machines with 12-in. diam. and larger rotors, and screen areas equal to 50% of the rotor diameter, or 180°, for higher throughput without added horsepower. Larger granulators and specialty units will be added to the line in the future.

Wittmann Battenfeld will introduce its new S-Max screenless granulators and also show G-Max conventional granulators and below-the-press auger-feed granulators. Regarding S-Max, Wittmann says the company refined the stationary cutting block and the rotary blades to produce more uniform regrind and fewer fines/longs. Recently developed G-Max granulators have a control pendant on a cable that can reach outside a safety enclosure and communicate with the machine control so that the granulator shuts down when the press is off to save energy.

Cumberland will showcase its T50 Series central granulators, which come in a full range of size and design options and are built for applications ranging from large injection or blow molded scrap to furniture components, and appliance parts. They have precision-tolerance cutting chambers to create regrind consistency and Twin Shear knife design that reportedly reduces energy consumption. Rotating knives are fixed, allowing adjustment to take place at the bed knife. A new linear-actuated rear cutting-chamber door offers easy access for bed-knife maintenance. Another part of the “wide-open” design is a new rear hopper door with a zero-speed locking mechanism and improved seal. Locking the rotor is now as simple as the push of a button and access for cleaning is only possible when the rotor stops spinning.

In addition, Cumberland will showcase a new Versatile FRV & Edge Trim FRE Series feedroll system to feed thermoforming scrap to a granulator. Versatile FRV Series feedrolls up to 56 in. wide come in two versions to run thin film or deep-draw parts up to 8-in. tall. The unit is said to reduce jams during startup of a thermoformer. Vecoplan will introduce the VTH 65 Grinder for single-stage size reduction of plastic scrap. It handles production waste such as sheet strips, profiles, molding scrap, and pipe. It produces a consistently sized granulate with an extremely low proportion of fines, Vecoplan states. This consistency is achieved through the interaction of the VTH 65’s patented infeed system with Vecoplan’s exclusive geometric cutting sequence.

Top and bottom feed rollers grip long scrap as it enters the VTH 65. Clamped between the two rollers, material is stabilized and fed it into the grinder’s rotor at a precise cutting angle. These rollers also make subtle adjustments to feed speeds via automatic frequency controls. This assures that material enters the cutting process at optimal rates to achieve consistently sized particulate.

RE|FOCUS ZONE AND RECYCLING SUMMIT

The Re|focus Zone stems from the Zero Waste Zone that was introduced by PLASTICS at NPE2015. This year it will feature 56 exhibitors that will explore actionable steps toward incorporating sustainable practices into plastics manufacturing.

The 2018 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit (Tues., May 8 to Thurs., May 10) is co-located with the expanded Re|focus Zone. Oliver Campbell, director of worldwide procurement & packaging at Dell Technologies, headlines the summit, where he will deliver the keynote presentation on Tuesday at 1:30 pm, about how Dell launched a program to create a commercially scalable supply of plastics recovered from the ocean that can be used in product packaging.

The sessions are:

TUESDAY:

Recycling Game Changer: Moving Beyond Mechanical Recycling (3:15-4:45 PM) This will explore cutting-edge technologies that expand the boundaries of traditional recycling and allow the industry to profitably use more recycled materials. It will be moderated by Robert Render, commercial manager at Ravago Recycling Group.

WEDNESDAY:

Advances in Composite Recycling (1:15-2:45 PM) This will feature successes in recycling composite materials, which may eventually be one of the most valuable recycled feedstreams. The session will be moderated by Chris Surbrook, new business development at Midland Compounding Co.

Under One Roof: Investing in Onsite Plastic Reprocessing at MRFs (3:15-4:45 PM) The session uncovers the steps to upgrade and enhance plastic reprocessing capabilities at material-recovery facilities (MRFs) in order to keep up with rapidly changing global markets. Moderator: Jim Keefe, executive v.p. & group publisher at Recycling Today Media Group.

THURSDAY:

Biobased Bioplastic Polymers and the Future of Bottling (9:00-10:30 AM) This session will highlight recent trends in the booming bioplastics industry, including new polymers, products and production techniques. Moderator: Patrick Krieger, assistant dir., Regulatory and Technical Affairs at PLASTICS. Featuring Michael A. Saltzberg PhD of DuPont Industrial Biosciences, John Bissell of Origin Materials, and Jose Augusto Viveiro of Braskem.

Additives for Upcycling (10:45 AM–12:15 PM) This session will explore the latest in additive compounding, which has the potential to turn recycled plastics back into materials with near-virgin properties. Moderator: Mark Richardson, engineering consultant at Series One.

Something new to look for in the Re|focus Zone is the Sustainability Lounge, a space to learn about PLASTICS and how companies can get involved in the sustainable initiatives it offers. There will also be meeting spaces, demonstrations, and a cash bar.

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