- DIGITAL SOLUTIONS
Kobusch UK concluded its planned expansion in the field of rPET with the installation of a new inline sheet facility in 2013, continuing its high-quality collaboration with EREMA and SML. Kobusch UK now produces 100 % food-contact compliant rPET flat sheet with the new system.
Kobusch UK has already been operating a VACUREMA® inline sheet system from EREMA and SML in Livingston since 2007 for direct, single stage processing. A VACUREMA® Basic 1514 T with a directly connected downstream flat sheet system from SML process post consumer PET bottle flakes and their own production scrap at a throughput of approx. 1,000 kg/h to make food-contact approved rPET film for the production of thermoformed PET trays. To follow on from this success a new, larger system from EREMA/SML has just been commissioned at the Stanley plant. The VACUREMA® Basic 2016 T now enables throughputs of up to 1,400 kg/h.
Key benefits of direct processing
Using VACUREMA® technology, foodcontact compliant rPET monolayer sheet can be produced directly from PET bottle flakes thanks to efficient decontamination. The decontamination is an advantage compared to conventional ABA multilayer films as rPET can only be used in the middle layer (B) as it does not undergo any decontamination process. This means that a cover layer (A) of virgin PET material has to be used for foodcontact approval. “Thanks to the efficient decontamination of VACUREMA®, Kobusch UK is now even able to produce food-contact grade film from pure rPET,” says Manfred Hackl, joint CEO at EREMA, on the benefits of the system.
Benefits of VACUREMA® inline technology
Since it was launched in 1998 VACUREMA® has become the technology used most around the world in what is known as the bottle-to-bottle recycling of post consumer PET bottle flakes. Numerous country-specific approval certificates and also the internationally recognised certification by the US FDA document the suitability of the rPET produced in this way for direct food contact. VACUREMA® also stands out in combination with a direct downstream thermoforming film system, i.e. a complete inline sheet solution, for the production of rPET films and another cost-effective and profitable business opportunity. One particular technical benefit of VACUREMA® inline technology is that it is highly flexible in terms of the bulk density, shape and mixture of the feed material – PET secondary raw materials such as bottle flakes, ground amorphous skeleton waste, virgin material, edge trim and mixtures of them with virgin material are recycled directly to make end products such as FDA certified and ILSI compliant thermoforming film and even fibres and strapping. One further benefit: the IV values of the PET melt remain stable – even if the moisture inside the feed material varies. High input moisture values of up to around 1.5 % are possible. Economic benefits include the compact and space-saving design of the VACUREMA® and ecoSAVE®, which reduces not only energy consumption by up to 10 % (at around 0.25-0.28 kWh/kg including drying) but also production costs and CO2 emissions at the same time. There are currently more than 140 VACUREMA® systems in operation around the world and 39 of them are already inline sheet solutions with an annual production capacity of 217,000 tonnes.