Recycling Machinery Innovation of the Year 2020

VACUNITE® redefines the benchmark for performance in bottle-to-bottle recycling: Uncompromising safety, productivity and quality are ensured thanks to the highest decontamination efficiency, rPET granulates with the best colour values, top IV stability, compactness of the system as well as low energy consumption throughout the entire process.

The combination for safety: Advanced VACUREMA® + Polymetrix SSP

This is made possible by the unique combination of two technologies: VACUNITE® unites VACUREMA® technology, which has been tried and tested for decades and has been further developed especially for this application - together with newly patented vacuum-assisted V-LeaN Solid State Polycondensation (SSP), which was also specially developed by Polymetrix (the manufacturer) for EREMA for this demanding application. Key quality and safety advantage: All thermal process steps take place in nitrogen and/or vacuum atmosphere, largely eliminating undesirable flake and pellet discoloration and reliably removing additives which could lead to unfavourable reactions in the melt. The nitrogen used in the SSP is cleaned and can be fed back into the previous processing stage so that nitrogen consumption is reduced as a result. To increase the transparency of the preforms, the pellets are dedusted again before filling.

Compact and cost effective VACUNITE® is special not only because of the exceptional quality of the output material. Overall, the technology requires 40 percent fewer components, making the plant much more compact at the same time as consuming up to 36 percent less energy than comparable systems on the market.

The special design of conical co-rotation MAS extruder allows the use of a twin-screw extruder for film recycling under economic conditions. (without pre-densification or agglomeration prior to the extrusion process). The main distinctive feature of the MAS twin screw extruder is the conical design, which provides a big feeding opening and as a result a huge intake volume.

Due to the intake volume, it is possible to feed film fluff without pre-densification or agglomeration prior to the extrusion process. Flexible, exchangeable kneading elements ensure the right amount of shearing, which is required to get best possible homogenisation. In comparison to conventional single screw extruders, used in film recycling, a co-rotation twin screw provides significantly better homogenisation. Therefore, it is possible to set new quality recycling levels, which allow a significantly wider use of the recycled pellets.

The screws in conical design are segmented and adjusted with exchangeable mixing / kneading elements. The tailored screw geometry, in combination with the suitable screw speed, allows to adjust the shearing rate to the exact required level to prevent gels and cross linking.

Because of the short processing unit of the MAS extruder, the total connecting power and the general production costs related to output quality are very low. Based on data from existing MAS customers, the energy consumption with PE is approximately 0,32 - 0,35kw/kg for the extrusion process and melt filtration.

Until now, shredders and downstream equipment have operated independently with virtually no communication between them. With this newly developed technology, it is now possible to integrate a shredder in the process chain for the very first time in accordance with the EUROMAP’s open software interface standard OPC UA and allow for dosed line feeding according to the Industry 4.0 concept. The objective was to interlink all the equipment in the process chain so that complex parameters are adjusted automatically and dynamically in line with Industry 4.0 principles. This significantly increases the productivity of the recycling process and achieves maximum recyclate quality. The new technology means that, precisely the right amount of material is supplied to washing components, sorting and drying systems, and the extruder. Thanks to this optimized process, guaranteed by the shredder ́s new functions, post-consumer plastics get ready for real upcyling. It is now possible to optimally operate the facility at all times, which not only significantly increases efficiency but also improves the quality of the recycled material. Overfilling, running when empty and downtimes are a thing of the past. This increases the availability and quality of high-class recyclates making genuine upcycling a reality.

“Smart Control is new control system that provides user-friendly monitoring, maintenance & repair and guarantees safe and intuitive operation.” The digital version of each granulator with Smart Control focuses on user-friendliness: the familiar fast operation and intuitive interface ensure perfect processes. To ensure safe and smooth operation, power consumption, rotation speed and temperatures are measured, analysed and documented in real time. In this way, direct conclusions can be drawn about relevant downtimes and excess of these is reported at an early stage – long before malfunction can occur. With the new “eco” operating mode, power consumption can be reduced by up to 40%. The Smart Control unit measures the power consumption, evaluates it over long periods of time and actively learns the requirements of the respective applications, in order to independently apply optimum operating settings. During operation, the operator can read current consumption with a digital Ampere meter in real time operation and gain access to detailed statistics on long term operation. Another novelty is boost operation, with which the grinding capacity can be temporarily increased, in order to compensate for production-related fluctuations. In addition, various rotation speed ranges are available for a wide variety of plastics. Even plastics with extremely low melting temperatures can be granulated without using additional cooling. Detailed, user-friendly “step by step” instructions are available, for example for changing blades, maintaining V-belts and cleaning the granulator quickly and efficiently. It also explains checking the V-belt pre-tensioning force, which can be carried out with a test device included within the scope of delivery.

All CMG units for recycling applications, both post-industrial and post-consumer, feature the Adaptive Motor Power function, unique in the size reduction industry. The granulator is able to independently determine which power level to adopt to carry out its work, depending on the quantity of material to be ground, the dimensions, the shape, the weight, the thickness, the type of plastic, and even the temperature of the piece. The AMP allows to optimize the quality of the regrind to the maximum achievable (particle homogeneity and absence of dust) and to reduce the utilization of energy to the minimum possible. 20 to 25Wh/kg is the small amount of energy that a CMG granulator uses, compared to 40 Wh/kg and above a conventional unit consumes. The return on the investment for the AMP is produced in a very short time. The key objectives & innovation aspects of this new development are: energy efficiency, dimensional homogeneity of the regrind particle, absence of dust, longer knife life, minimized overall wearing. The lowest Total Cost of Operation is guaranteed.

Also innovative are the advanced controls employed to obtain such high degree of process management and the Industry 4.0 compliancy of the equipment, all in full observance of the Circular Economy guidelines.

The AMP technology is a development fully owned by CMG.

CW Dewiring Machine has been developed to increase safety, automation and productivity in plastic bale opening in the plastic recycling processes. The machine is used to automatically cut and remove the bale wires from industrial plastic bales such as PET or mixed plastic bales. The machine helps the operators to work safer when manual bale wire cutting, and opening is no longer needed. The automatic machine also helps the recyclers gain more profit and save on recycling line downtime when the metal wires are completely removed before they even enter the recycling line. As the bale wires are cut, removed and coiled by the CW Dewiring machine the recycling process possible magnetic metal separation needs to handle only the metal that might be inside the baled material. The use of CW Dewiring machine also helps to keep the possible plastic shredding machinery to work for longer periods without the need for blade renewing as the metal wires don’t end up to the process. The main benefit is still the increase in working safety when no manual bale wire cutting, and handling is no longer needed.

Key objectives of the CW Dewiring machine are to increase working safety, remove the bale wires from the bales and to coil the long bale wires into a tight and easy to handle bundles. The focus is to help plastic recyclers to work and handle their bales more safely, effectively and smarter.