Herbold Meckesheim: How to replace virgin material and save money

The first large-scale plant for the recycling of heavily contaminated PE film waste has now started running in Germiston South, near Johannesburg. Delivered by Herbold Meckesheim, the plant can process up to 8000 tons of film, used big bags and similar waste per year. The waste is pre-sorted, shredded and foreign bodies are separated by means of a pre-washing unit.

Herbold Meckesheim observes that more and more plastics processors are looking for possibilities how to transform waste materials into virgin-grade material. One may produce fibres for roof sheeting from PET bottles, another may produce water tanks from recycled yogurt pots provided by waste sorting and a third plastic shopping bags from used packaging foils, a fourth pipes with a foam core from scrap material…

What all mentioned examples have in common is that new material is being replaced by recycled material ‘without hardly any quality degradation and with considerable cost benefits’, so remarks Herbold Meckesheim. The recycling solutions provider says business is good and recycling rates for many countries are steadily increasing now that more and more people are ‘proud’ to participate in the closed loop recycling process.

Herbold Meckesheim, which provides the innovative Hydrocyclone and dryer, knows that a few extra processing steps can make all the difference in the world; these are:

• additional sorting according to colours and/or materials, the separation of foreign bodies and composites

• washing, separation, drying in order to remove impurities, for density slicing and for drying to achieve a residual humidity appropriate for a downstream extrusion

• water treatment for the washing step

• regranulation with degasification and melt filtration

‘Plants based on cutting-edge technology and manufactured by well-known producers are very cost-efficient and extremely profitable for their investors,’ affirms Herbold Meckesheim. Meanwhile, such systems can yield quality similar to virgin material at only 50 or even 70 % of the costs.

Herbold Meckesheim is specialised in the process step of washing, separation and drying and the corresponding water treatment. Several plants in Germany, Europe and overseas prove that the systems installed so far are functioning exactly as expected. Of course, these solutions are accompanied by resorting equipment (Tomra, Steinert, Pellenc, Sesotec) as well as regranulation units (Gamma, Erema, NGR, Starlinger).

‘For financial reasons the investors usually divide the entire plant into several single steps. Not very often is the entire plant a one-stop plant,’ so Herbold Meckesheim observes.

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