ORLANDO, FLA. — Automaker interest in global consistency among car models may spur recycling efforts in the sheet molding compound industry, an industry official said at a Composites '97 educational session.
In particular, automakers want to sell the same car styles in Europe as in the United States.
``Automotive recycling is really keyed to the year 2002 when U.S. automotive manufacturers will have to take back cars from Europe and recycle outside of landfills,'' Jack Simmons said. ``Automotive designers today must consider that.''
Simmons is marketing manager for R.J. Marshall Co., a Southfield, Mich.-based supplier to the SMC industry.
The German loop recycling law of 1996 gives manufacturers responsibility for product disposal, Peter Schaefer, managing director of Ercom Composite Recycling GmbH, said at the session. Ercom operates a recycling plant in Rastatt, Germany.
``No incineration is possible'' to comply with the law, he said. The Netherlands imposed a fee on new vehicle buyers to fund car recycling projects, and Switzerland is taking similar steps.
The Ercom plant opened in 1992 and, to date, has recycled about 2.5 million parts, Schaefer said. Ercom has received 600,000 parts from the Mercedes-Benz AG recycling systems, BMW repair shops and German telecommunication company dismantling plants. Production scrap accounts for most of the other parts.
R.J. Marshall is developing mold-application equipment that can use SMC material containing short fiber coming from recyclate. ``We're not going to manufacture a [spray] gun,'' Simmons said. ``We may sell a system that contains someone else's gun.''
R.J. Marshall plans to buy five buildings adjacent to its Rockwood, Mich., plant. ``One of the five buildings will be used for SMC-[bulk molding compound] recycling for automotive, now being done in our pilot plant in Detroit,'' Simmons said. A former brass foundry vacated the buildings.
According to Simmons, now-closed Phoenix Fibreglass Inc. was charging 18 cents per pound. ``We charge 10 cents through the pilot plant,'' he said.
The firm has another plant in Erie, Mich., and plans in the next couple months to establish a plant in Sacramento, Calif., for basic blending and processing, Simmons said. R.J. Marshall employs 60.
Currently, the research pilot plant is processing SMC and BMC, mainly from sites in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. The plant has the capacity to process post-industrial scrap at an annual rate of 3.5 million pounds. ``There is 5 million available'' now, he said.
``I think the [U.S.] automotive companies should look at what Mercedes did in forcing dealers to recycle damaged parts,'' he said. ``That might get [U.S.] volume to 7 million pounds.''