Extruders and die-heads from Hosokawa Alpine are ideally suited for processing recycled plastics. Slovenian customer Plasta relies on equipment from Augsburg for its processing of packaging materials - and contributes to the circular economy with its high-quality recycled films.
"Plasta is actively addressing the issue of the circular economy and is showing what the future can look like in this area. We are pleased that our systems can make a valuable contribution to this."
Konstantin Klein, Sales Manager at Hosokawa Alpine
Keeping our planet a healthy and livable place is one of the greatest challenges of our time. In the plastics industry, too, the use of resources and sustainability are the subjects of intense discourse. Circular economy is a promising option on the road to greater sustainability, as it aims to utilize packaging and raw materials in ways that have long been technically possible. In practical terms, this means avoiding waste by reusing existing products. If this is not possible, the products are broken down into their basic components and these are recycled.
The Plasta company in Sentrupert is one of the leading manufacturers of blown films and packaging made from recycled polyethylene in Southern Europe. Its machinery includes five blown film lines from Hosokawa Alpine. "Plasta is actively addressing the issue of the circular economy and is showing what the future can look like in this area. We are pleased that our systems can make a valuable contribution to this," says Konstantin Klein, Sales Manager at Hosokawa Alpine.
In order to carry out the production cycle locally and minimize the environmental impact, Plasta has a dedicated logistics and trading department that coordinates the supply chains. The raw material base for production is polyethylene film waste. Plasta processes more than 6,500 metric tons a year. Every day, around 65 metric tons of post-consumer waste arrive at the company from a radius of 1,500 kilometers. This includes household waste, industrial packaging and beverage bottles.
Although contaminated and unsorted, the plastic waste is not garbage, but a valuable resource for Plasta: "The technology for separating different types of plastic is advancing more and more, which means that an increasingly large proportion can be recycled. At Plasta, the first step is cleaning. Then the clean waste is shredded and processed into plastic granulate, which is the starting point for further production," explains Stane Gorenc, Managing Director at Plasta.
In the next step, the polyethylene recyclate is processed on the extrusion lines into films for various end applications in different film formats. Since 2017, Plasta has relied on five machines from Hosokawa Alpine for this purpose: three 3-layer lines, one 5-layer line, and one mono line with layflat widths of 1,800 to 2,300 mm are available; another mono line has already been ordered. "With our multi-layer lines with high-performance extruders, customers benefit from very flexible production options for a wide range of material combinations. Optimal cooling of the film bubble and the supply of cool melt to the line ensure an efficient and stable production process. For the film winder, Plasta has opted in each case for a double station winder," explains Konstantin Klein.
The challenge in processing PCR material is the heterogeneous nature of the material: "You never know in advance what exactly the material contains. The quality and composition of the material vary greatly. Therefore, we have to be able to react flexibly to the conditions - the Alpine blown film lines cope very well with our granulate," says Stane Gorenc. In addition, the lines must be reliable and ensure a stable production process in order to be able to produce cost-efficiently and competitively.
Here, too, the customer is satisfied: "The solutions from Hosokawa Alpine have been operating reliably since installation and help us to contribute to a sustainable circular economy. The compact extruders also enable us to achieve low energy consumption," says a pleased Stane Gorenc. At the request of customers, the films obtained from the process can be individualized by means of flexographic printing. Plasta turns the regenerated PE into high-quality packaging, municipal and industrial waste sacks as well as films for agriculture - making optimum use of resources for the benefit of the planet.