Technological watch

Using recyclates for production of plastic bottles

In view of the constantly growing demands in terms of process reliability, product quality and sustainability, recyclates are becoming increasingly important as a raw material for new plastic products. This also applies to the production of preforms, plastic bottles and blow-moulded parts. For plastics processors, however, the challenge remains to deal with poor quality of the input materials. With the right process technology, such as sophisticated material analysis systems, metal detectors and recovery systems; plastics processors can purchase and process lower quality and lower cost recycled materials without risk, without machine damage and without quality defects in their product.

The use of recycled materials in preforms, blow moulded parts and plastic bottles
The use of recycled material in preforms, blow-moulded parts and plastic bottles is an important contribution to the circular economy and sustainability. Not only legislators, but also customers are increasingly demanding the use of recyclates in the manufacture of new products. However, the market for high-quality recyclate is growing rapidly, which can make it more expensive when compared to virgin material. For this reason, many plastics processors buy lower-quality recycled material at lower prices in order to still be able to operate profitably. This makes it very important to carefully inspect and analyse the incoming material before processing. The better the quality of the raw material, the more efficient the further processing.

Furthermore, contaminated raw material can have far-reaching effects if the impurities remain undetected. If, for example, they leave residues in the recycled products, this can lead to complaints, which means additional effort and costs for the manufacturers. If the impurities are metallic foreign bodies, this can result in severe damage to the production equipment. This results in considerable costs and unplanned downtime for plastics processing companies.

Automatic analysis systems enable a fast and thorough quality analysis of the input material. However it is critical to use the appropriate inspection technologies in the further processing stages. For users of equipment such as injection moulding or blow moulding machines, continuous operation is enormously important for profitability. In these applications even the smallest metal parts can cause significant damage such as clogging melt filters, hot runners and nozzle tools, blocking non-return valves or damaging plasticising screws and cylinders. To avoid this, it is advisable to use metal detectors and separators not only at the beginning of the process, but also at critical points through production.

If any interfering materials are detected and discharged at the right time, this not only increases process continuity and productivity, but it can also prevent damage that could put the machine out of operation for days. By using the right process technology, plastics processors can not only buy and process recycled raw materials without risk, but also increase the profitability of their production.

Sustainability requirements as well as increasing customer demands require an increased use of recyclates in the manufacture of new products. However, plastics processors are often faced with the challenge that not enough high-quality recycled raw material is available and material that is available is of inferior qualities to be processed. Precise control of the recyclate is therefore of great importance in order to avoid contamination and ensure the highest quality of the input material.

Additionally during the processing, the application of the right process technology is crucial to ensure the protection of the equipment throughout the entire production process. Innovative material analysis systems, metal detectors with integrated separation units and recovery systems help to achieve higher material efficiency and quality assurance of the end product. This makes manufacturers of foreign object inspection systems important partners in material processing and material efficiency.

Publication date: 26/05/2023

Smart Extrusion

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2022-01-31