New Side Feeder Makes Plastics Recycling More Economical
With the goal of making recycling of lightweight, high-volume fiber and flake recyclate much more economical and, in some cases even possible, Coperion has developed a new version of its ZS-B side feeder.
Using the ZS-B MEGAfeed, plastic recyclate with a bulk density under 200 kg/cu m³–long considered intake-limited and not worth recycling–can be reliably fed in large quantities into Coperion’s ZSK twin screw extruder and be concurrently recycled and compounded.
The ZS-B side feeder’s design makes it possible to feed high rates of fiber and flakes, such as PA, PE, PET, and PP. As a result, the ZSK twin screw extruder’s high capacity can be fully exploited when the ZS-B MEGAfeed is used. High throughputs in both mechanical and chemical recycling of post-industrial and post-consumer waste are achieved.
With a ZSK 58 Mc18 twin-screw extruder, the throughput increase and the potential of the new ZS-B MEGAfeed becomes clear. When recycling PA fibers with a bulk density of ~40-50 kg/cu m, throughputs of 70 kg/hr were previously achieved using conventional equipment. When the PA fibers were fed into the ZSK extruder using the ZS-B MEGAfeed, throughputs increased about fourteenfold to 1,000 kg/hr. Similar results were achieved recycling carbon fibers with a bulk density of ~50-70 kg/cu m. In this case, throughputs increased from 50 kg/hr to 2,500 kg/hr using the ZS-B MEGAfeed. When recycling PCR (post-consumer recycled) flakes, throughputs increased from 50 kg/hr to 700 kg/hr, and from 80 kg/hr to 1,300 kg/hr with multilayer film flakes.
Economical Recycling of a Variety of Plastics
Plastics previously considered not recyclable are becoming a valuable raw material using the new Coperion ZS-B MEGAfeed. For example, PCR flakes or recyclate from carbon fiber-reinforced plastics can now be fed into the ZSK extruder at high feed rates and recycled economically.
In the case of mechanical upcycling, upstream processes necessary for compounding, such as compacting, melting, and agglomeration are completely eliminated using the ZS-B MEGAfeed technology. In this recycling process, flakes and fibers can be fed directly into the ZSK extruder, where they are melted, compounded, devolatilized, and filtered in a single step. In so doing, both investment costs and energy consumption drop. The production process becomes more efficient. Moreover, the thermal product stress is reduced and recyclate quality increases.
Coperion K-Tron, Salina, KS 785-825-1611 www.coperion.com
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