Feeding solutions for Plastics recycling applications

Recycling PET bottles is now part of the self-image of a climate-conscious society. Around 94 percent of all PET beverage bottles are already recycled. There is also a clear trend toward the use of recycled material: on average, a PET bottle today already consists of 30 percent recyclate, or rPET.

How we deal with plastic waste is being traded as a decisive factor for the climate protection of our blue planet. The goal: to use plastic in a versatile way and for a long time in its various applications. To achieve this, the highest possible proportion of the valuable secondary raw materials from plastic waste must be retained in the materials cycle. Further processing is often difficult - also because of the challenging flow properties of the recovered plastic fibers. Brabender Technologie offers a dosing concept for each recycling task that is tailored to the respective material properties - for example, to process ground PET flakes into recycled rPET.

Which plastic fibers are suitable for recycling?

Recycling is less common for textile fabrics such as carpets. In the European Union, for example, an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of carpet are disposed of annually. Around 95 percent of this carpet ends up either at disposal sites or incinerator plants. Yet old carpets contain high-quality plastic fibers such as polyamide (PA) or polypropylene (PP), which are ideal for recycling. Old carpets or carpet remnants made of PA, which consist of the texturized carpet continuous filament yarn BCF (Bulk continuous filament), can either be chemically reprocessed into polyamide as a raw material or further processed into secondary plastics. For this purpose, the PA carpets are sorted and shredded according to their PA6 or PA 6.6 fiber components. After separation, they are fed via silos for depolymerization.

Recycling old tires is also worthwhile. For ecological reasons alone, used tires should never simply be disposed of: They consist of India rubber, bulking agents like carbon black, silica and carbon, plasticizers and reinforcement materials like steel and nylon and other chemicals like sulfur. When scrap tires are reprocessed, pure rubber flour is obtained and used in the manufacture of new products such as insulation materials, road or floor coverings, rubber mats or new tires. Scrap tires also contain fabric fibers such as polyester and polyamide fibers. They can be extracted during shredding and grinding. They then serve in the extruder as reinforcing or filling materials for new polymer blends. With the addition of additives, they can be processed into fiber-reinforced polymer compounds.

Beverage cartons also consist of valuable raw materials: a composite of cardboard, plastic and often aluminum (PE/Aluminium). Pulp fibers are recovered through reprocessing. They have a significantly longer fiber length and better strength properties than most other types of wastepaper and are therefore particularly suitable for producing sturdy corrugated cardboard packaging. In the so-called Palurec method, the remaining PE/aluminum foil remnants and closures are separated in a zigzag sifter, due to their very uneven 'particle' sizes, poor pourability properties and tendencies towards severe bridging. These are no good conditions for the further processing of LDPE, a soft polyethylene (low-density polyethylene).

What special feeding devices are available for the recycling of plastic fiber?

Some materials, such as rubber granulate, are already prepared in such a way that a universal dosing device such as the FlexWall® is sufficient for them. Others, on the other hand, require a metering concept specially adapted to the material properties. The continuously increasing demand for dosing solutions for the preparation of plastic fibers has triggered an innovation process at Brabender Technologie. New ideas have resulted in pioneering processes and equipment for the recycling process. For example, the FX225 fiber feeder. It is particularly suitable for dosing plastic fibers of different lengths and irregular shapes, which can easily become entangled. Such as plastic fibers from textile fabric, the textile fiber edges of the weaving process or silicone-coated textile fabric. The FiberXpert feeds the recovered raw material into a twin-screw extruder for pelletizing. Co-rotating conical twin screws ensure good melting behavior and high quality of the granulated plastic. With its large feeding area - optionally with a tamping unit - and a high feeding capacity of 1,000 kilograms per hour, the FX225 is a faithful companion of challenging feeding tasks.

With the dedicated FX225 fiber feeder, Brabender Technology contributes to a technologically advanced circular economy.

Get to know our expert for long and irregular fibers!

We will be happy to advise you on your individual feeding task. Contact us today:

Bernhard Hüppmeier
Head of Business Development Brabender Technologie
E-Mail: bhueppmeier@remove-this.brabender-technologie.com