New Side Feeder Makes Plastic Recycling More Economical

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21 June, 2022

With the aim of making the recycling of high-volume, lightweight fibers and flakes much cheaper and in some cases even possible, Coperion has developed a new version of its ZS-B side feeder.

With the ZS-B MEGAfeed, recycled plastic material with a bulk density of less than 200 kg/m³ (long considered of limited consumption and not worthy of recycling) can be reliably fed in large quantities to the double extruder. Coperion ZSK screw and recycle and composite

The ZS-B side feeder design allows feeding high rates of fiber and flakes, such as PA, PE, PET and PP. As a result, the high capacity of the ZSK twin screw extruder can be fully utilized when ZS-B MEGAfeed is used. High yields are achieved in both mechanical and chemical recycling of post-industrial and post-consumer waste.

Higher performance

With a ZSK 58 Mc18 twin screw extruder, performance is increased and the potential of the new ZS-B MEGAfeed becomes apparent. When recycling PA fibers with a bulk density of ~40-50 kg/m3, throughputs of 70 kg/h were previously achieved using conventional equipment.

When PA fibers were fed to the ZSK extruder using ZS-B MEGAfeed, the yields increased about fourteen times at 1,000 kg/h, the company explained. Similar results were achieved by recycling carbon fibers with a bulk density of ~50-70 kg/m3. In this case, the yields increased from 50 kg/h to 2,500 kg/h with the ZS-B MEGAfeed. When recycling PCR flakes (post-consumer recycling), yields increased from 50 kg/hr to 700 kg/hr, and from 80 kg/hr to 1,300 kg/hr with multi-layer film flakes.

Economic recycling of a variety of plastics

Plastics previously considered non-recyclable are becoming a valuable raw material thanks to the new Coperion ZS-B MEGAfeed. For example, PCR flakes or recycled material 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, the previous processes necessary for the preparation of compounds, such as compaction, melting and agglomeration, are completely eliminated with the ZS-B MEGAfeed technology. In this recycling process, the flakes and fibers can be fed directly to the ZSK extruder, where they are melted, blended, devolatilized and filtered in one step. By doing so, both investment costs and energy consumption are reduced. The production process becomes more efficient. In addition, the thermal stress of the product is reduced and the quality of the recycling is increased.

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