Austrian recycling specialist Next Generation Recycling Machines (NGR), in partnership with German extrusion machinery supplier Kuhne GmbH, have unveiled a new liquid state polycondensation (LSP) technology for PET recycling and extrusion.
In an open day on 8 Nov at its Feldkirchen, Upper Austrian production facility NGR demonstrated the new recycling process, which it claims has overcome limitations in other processes.
The LSP technology, involves decontamination and rebuilding of the molecular chain structure in the liquid phase of the PET, allowing recyclers more flexibility with regards to the input materials.
The process, which is claimed by NGR to produce food-grade materials, can mix and recycle different forms of PET waste, from bottle flake to scrap fibre, sheet, thermoform waste, strapping, and other lower value scrap streams.
Furthermore, NGR claims that its new technology can be used to easily process co-polymer forms of PET (PET-G) and polyolefin contents.
On display in Feldkirchen was an NGR recycling line processing rPET sheet flakes with LSP technology and then turning them into food-grade sheets using Kuhne extrusion machinery.
In this process, after passing the LSP reactor, the melt can either be granulated or processed to FDA approved films, which, according to NGR, have "outstanding optical and mechanical properties". The films are mainly to be used for thermoforming applications.
The combination of recycling and extrusion, according to Rainer Bobowk, division manager at Kuhne Maschinenbau, offers an "energy-efficient, alternative solution to produce highly-sophisticated packaging films out of PET with originally bad physical properties."
Some 117 representatives of the plastics industry attended the event.