- DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
One of the world's most modern recycling plants went into operation in Sofia, Bulgaria, in May 2019. Its operator, Integra Plastics, uses this plant to specialise in the recycling of heavily contaminated post consumer household waste - materials that represent a real challenge to sorting, collection and recycling technologies. For Julian Belev, CEO and one of the owners of the newly founded company, it was clear from the outset that the best technologies available on the market would have to be used to convert this material into high-quality pellets - technologies such as the INTAREMA 1716 TVEplus RegrindPro recycling plant.
The view at the site of the recycling plant, which was built in just over a year, is impressive. The entire area extends over 35,000 square metres. 12,000 square metres of which are used as production space and 5,000 square meters as storage space. A total of EUR 40 million was invested in infrastructure, sorting, washing and recycling technology and a laboratory. "We have now achieved our idea of a fully automatic plastics recycling plant that complies in every respect with the requirements of European legislation for the implementation of recycling management", Julian Belev is pleased to report.
By combining all the necessary process steps at one location in a single recycling plant, Integra has a unique position on the market worldwide. The input material consists of thick-walled post consumer packaging and film, both of which are material flows that are particularly difficult to recycle due to their contamination. The material comes from Bulgaria and other EU countries. This will be used to produce up to 30,000 tonnes of PE and
PP recycled pellets annually. "We want to offer products that meet the increasing expectations of the market, and that deliver consistently high pellet quality as well as a high level of availability. This requires the best technology," explains Kostas Ziogas, CSO and co-owner.
STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY FOR AN ESPECIALLY CHALLENGING MATERIAL FLOW
Following pre-shredding, the mixed household waste films are transported over a distance of more than one kilometre to a pre-sorting plant where they are sorted according to polyolefin type and colour. The material is then ground, hot washed and dried before the flakes are re-sorted. The two material streams - transparent/white and coloured - are then each recycled using an INTAREMA 1716 TVEplus RegrindPro system. The recycling system components are designed for a throughput of 1,900 kg/h for polyethylene and 2,200 kg/h for polypropylene. The Preconditioning Unit (PCU) can be quickly set for processing film or regrind material. A further advantage is
that initial degassing takes place because the material is already preheated and predried in the PCU. Thanks to patented Counter Current technology, a constantly high output over a very wide temperature range is ensured.
EREMA LASER FILTER FOR EFFICIENT FILTRATION
The two recycling plants are equipped with an EREMA twin laser filter, which is particularly suitable for the kind of post consumer input material that is processed by Integra. "To save packaging weight, films are becoming
thinner and thinner, which increases the relative proportion of impurities," explains Clemens Kitzberger, Business Development Manager, Post Consumer Applications at EREMA Group. The high-throughput laser filters are installed upstream of the extruder degassing system. Here, the melt temperature is even lower, and the short residence time directly at the screen thanks to permanent screen cleaning ensures that impurities such as paper labels, aluminium or foreign polymers originating from multilayer material such as PET or PA are reliably removed even at high levels of contamination of up to five percent. The double, i.e. twin design, ensures a throughput capacity of 1,800 - 3,000 kg/h with a variably selectable filtration fineness of 70 - 200 μm. The laser filter is available in filtration units up to 2,000 μm. "With the technology we have chosen for our new recycling plant, we are ideally equipped to respond to each individual requirement - to the benefit of our customers," says Julian Belev, convinced that this investment has paid off.
Industry leader, Clean R, recycles plastics with EREMA’s INTAREMA® TVEplus® recycling system
Clean R recycles an average of 50,000 tonnes of plastics and packaging a year, preventing it from going to a landfill. Recycled waste becomes a lucrative secondary raw material for the production of a variety of products.