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Plastics and Rubber machines make important contribution to circular economy

From recyclate to high-quality compound for high-end applications

At the Fakuma, KraussMaffei Berstorff will demonstrate the recycling of plastic waste to high-end re-compounds. The model plant on display processes recyclates made, amongst other things, from polyethylene and polypropylene flakes to re-compounds. The flakes come from, for example, agrofoil, or can also be homogenous DSD waste.

Carl-Philip Pöpel, Head of Product Management Twin-screw Extruders at KraussMaffei Berstorff, describes the advantage of the new technology: “Up to now, two extrusion plants were needed to make a compound from a recyclate. Now, it is possible in one step. We forgo the intermediate step of the granulation of the regranulate. This not only reduces energy costs, but also thermal impact, since we only melt the recyclate once. This way, we can produce high-quality re-compounds for high-end applications.”

Keep the input into the cycle as low as possible in plastics processing

As important as recycling is for a successful circular economy in the plastics industry, it is vital and worthwhile to look at the manufacturing process of plastic products, in general. Georg Tinschert, CEO of injection moulding machinery manufacturer WITTMANN BATTENFELD, puts it this way: “We think of ourselves as machinery manufacturers that are part of a comprehensive cycle. We regard our main contribution as making as little input into the cycle as possible, to ensure a production that saves as much raw material as possible.” Asked how WITTMANN BATTENFELD solves this requirement technologically, he elaborates: “We use the most modern drive technology in our machines – electric or servo-hydraulic – as a standard to keep the use of primary energy as low as possible. This effect gets increased by the additional use of our intelligent control engineering because it enables the use of released braking energy in the machine. We also offer technologies that help to reduce material use by manufacturing thin-walled parts, or, by replacing plastic with gas.

Stable processes, little waste and high plant availability

Injection moulding machinery manufacturer Sumitomo (SHI) Demag also clearly bets on efficient drive technologies and low material usage. “With our new generation of electrical injection moulding machines, we reach an excellent energy balance,” Gerd Liebig, CEO of the Executive Board, explains. “But that’s not all,” he continues, “the highly precise production process allows the production of complex technological parts with low waste ratio.”

At Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, sustainability has been capitalised for a long time already, the company has been an active partner of the VDMA initiative Blue Competence for years. “We consider the concept of circular economy as a good source of impulses on a way to more sustainability. For the entire value chain, our customers and, respectively, also their customers, it becomes increasingly important to already include the production process in the sustainability discussion,” tells Liebig. “We as machinery manufacturers can contribute to improving the image of plastic. Also, by looking into customer requirements on processing recyclates, and by adapting our machines optimally to different materials.”

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag not least counts on high plant availability. Little susceptible to breakdowns, low-maintenance machines and plants need less local servicing, which also saves resources.

Source: VDMA


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