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Equipment suppliers showcase advances at K show

Issue: December 2016

Recycling equipment suppliers introduced significant technological improvements at October’s K show in Düsseldorf, Germany, amid signs that the business environment is improving.

According to several executives interviewed at the giant triennial plastics show, a considerable amount of business is being driven by corporate and end-customer efforts to improve sustainability. Another significant trend at the K show was that big processors are using more post-consumer resin to cut costs and because their customers, such as big-box stores, are demanding that new products contain a certain percentage of the resin.

GETTING THE WATER OUT

The process of washing post-consumer resin to make it useable presents one challenge: getting the water out.

The throughput for Pallman’s new dryer is nearly 5,000 pounds per hour for thick-walled rigid plastics.

Pallmann Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG, Zweibrücken, Germany, introduced the PMD 9-30 mechanical dryer, used to dewater shredded plastic from 0.2 to 1.2 inches long. Throughputs are approximately 1,100 pounds per hour for film and nearly 5,000 pounds per hour for thick-walled, rigid plastics.

Plastic particles are repeatedly tumbled while moving along a stainless steel screen basket to remove water. After particles are cleaned and dewatered, they are discharged through a chute. As an option, material can be conveyed into a thermal dryer.

Rolf Gren, GM of Pallmann’s U.S. operation, Pallmann Industries Inc., Clifton, N.J., said that the first units were recently delivered to European customers, and that shipments of the mechanical dryer to American customers will begin early next year.

Herbold Meckesheim GmbH, Meckesheim, Germany, showed its Step Dryer HV ST for thermoplastic regrind, including PC, PE, PP, and PS.

The company said that the machine is particularly suited for drying brittle plastics because it creates fewer fines, resulting in less loss of material. It yields a residual humidity ranging from 0.4 to 0.06 percent. Capacity can reach nearly 10,000 pounds per hour.

SMALLER IS BETTER

Rapid Granulator AB, Bredaryd, Sweden, introduced a new family of shredders in what CEO Bengt Rimark described as “our biggest and most important launch in the last 10 years.”

Jim Hoffman of Rapid Granulator shows neatly cut pieces produced by the company’s new shredder.

Three global patent applications have been filed for the Raptor Series, which is designed specifically for the recycling of plastics. Shredders on the market that are designed to shred a variety of materials can produce inferior granulate, Rimark said. 

Knives in the shredder are made of an optimized steel and cut plastic waste, such as barrels or pipe, unlike some shredders that tear the plastic, creating stresses in the material. That’s important, because the shredder reduces the number of fines and produces more uniform pieces, said Jim Hoffman, VP of sales and marketing, who is based in Indianapolis.

At the K show, a Raptor shredder fed directly into a granulator.

The new series features Rapid’s “open-hearted” design, in which the front door swings wide open, allowing access to the rotor and the screen, which is mounted in the door. The shredder hopper is mounted on a rear hinge and can be tilted back when the door is open.

“The Raptor series is designed specifically for in-house processing, but we expect it will also be used by waste recyclers who want to take advantage of its high productivity and effectiveness in producing high-quality granulate,” Rimark said. 

The Raptor series is the first line of shredders designed and manufactured by Rapid, which previously had sold shredders made by other companies.

BOOSTING THROUGHPUT

Suppliers exhibiting new recycling equipment at the K show emphasized improved throughput and efficiency with lower operating costs.

BritAs showed the world’s first continuous belt melt filter at K 2016.

One example came from BritAS Recycling-Anlagen GmbH, Hanau, Germany, which manufactures filters used for post-consumer plastics, in-plant recycling, compounding and agricultural film waste. The company, which is a unit of Next Generation Recyclingmaschinen GmbH (NGR), Feldkirchen, Austria, unveiled a new concept in melt filtration: the CBMF series. CBMF stands for continuous belt melt filter.

“We showed the previous generation at NPE2015,” said Michael Heinzlreiter, head of marketing and business development at NGR. “In the new continuous model, there are two belts of mesh that catch debris in plastic. When one line is clogged, you switch to the other belt to maintain output.”

The belts exhibited at the K show were made of steel, but they are available in different materials, dimensions, weaves and tensile strengths, depending on customer requirements. Filtration fineness ranges from 50 to 950 microns.

The contamination rate can be reduced even further if the belts are used simultaneously to clean a melt stream. In that arrangement, the first belt has a wide mesh followed by a second filtration by a belt with finer mesh. A third and even fourth belt could be added to the machine. Following filtration, the steel mesh can be cleaned or melted as steel scrap.

“In my opinion, the industry is moving toward double filtration,” Heinzlreiter said.

COMING CLEAN

Vecoplan LLC, High Point, N.C., introduced VecoDyn, a washing system that is a better fit for processors than a previous version that was launched at NPE2015, said Dana Darley, national sales manager for Vecoplan’s plastics division.

First of all, it targets the right volumes. “The bread and butter for processors is 2,000 to 4,000 pounds per hour” of rigid materials, Darley said. “It’s their sweet spot.

“We use friction to wash, not hot water and detergent, which can damage the plastic,” he said. Energy costs are reduced because the friction of the particles creates process heat. 

The redesigned system is modular and fits into standard 40-foot ocean shipping containers. “If you want to install one of these units in a plant in Mexico, you can put it into a container, and it will be ready to use” as soon as it comes out — a major advantage, Darley said, because “set-up costs can be substantial.”

Contact:

Erema North America Inc., 
978-356-3771, www.erema.net

Herbold Meckesheim USA, 
401-597-5500, www.herboldusa.com

Next Generation Recycling Machines Inc., 
678-720-9861, www.ngr.at

Pallmann Industries Inc., 
973-471-1450, www.pallmann.eu

Rapid Granulator Inc., 
724-584-5220, www.rapidgranulator.com

Vecoplan LLC, 
336-252-4462, www.vecoplanllc.com