Technological watch

Engel press helps Cascade boost recycled content of roll-to-curb carts

Grand Rapids, Mich. — Cascade Engineering Inc.'s Cascade Cart Solutions business is making progress on using more post-consumer curbside material and other scrap in its high density polyethylene roll-to-curb carts.

Two years ago, the company increased its efforts to use more post-consumer material, including HDPE collected in the residential carts it manufactures for Americans to roll to their curbside for recycling.

The initiative is a true closed loop for reusing materials and products described as "what you put in the bin becomes the bin" on a website of NextCycle Michigan, which is run by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy

Cascade officials say they have met goals to use 10 percent post-consumer material and 40 percent scrap and other recyclable materials in the carts. However, that isn't enough for the certified B Corporation, according to Amy Caudle, Cascade's marketing and product development manager.

B Corps consider the impact of business decisions on workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.

"We are always striving to use more recycled material and are never satisfied with reaching a single target on how much recycled material we use or how we can reduce our scrap rate," Caudle said in a news release. "The benchmark is always moving upward as well as how we can use the scrap we do have on hand to incorporate back into making our products."

Cascade officials are crediting an Engel duo 4,400-ton press equipped with weight control software for helping it meet its higher sustainability goals. The Engel press with the iQ brand weight control software was installed in October 2020 "to support a major pillar of our production, the roll-to-curb cart business," according to Ron Hoppa, a Cascade plant manager.

"It was installed quickly and we were running carts in a very timely manner," Hoppa said in the release.

A production trial of the iQ weight control program followed under the guidance of Josh Grasman, an Engel plastic processing engineer.

"We were running about a 71-second cycle. It was a 96-gallon trash bin on a single cavity mold," Grasman said in the release.

The machine ran for 4 hours and then the trial began.

"During the trial, we changed the percentage and types of recycled material in the process and iQ weight control detected the change in the material viscosity and adjusted the process to meet this change," Grasman said. "This happens in real time, shot-to-shot."

Engel's software adapts the injection profile, switchover point and holding pressure profile to match the current conditions shot for shot, which the release says provides consistent product quality despite strong fluctuations in raw material quality.

"The Engel iQ weight control feature has definitely helped us maintain a consistent process critical to our business," Hoppa said.

He also said the Engel duo out-produces Cascade's next best press "by far in carts per week" among other benefits.

"We're big on process control and we want to make sure that the carts we make today are the same carts we make a year from today," Hoppa said. "The reliability and consistency of the Engel duo 4400 are by far my favorite features."

Cascade has also recently installed a 2,500 ton Engel duo for automotive applications and will install another 4,400-ton Engel duo this fall.

Publication date: 04/08/2021

Plastics News - packaging

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Last update: 2022-01-31