SAN ANTONIO — Getting automotive companies to recycle thermoset composites is difficult, but Richard J. Marshall persists in his mission.
He has ``found the automotive industry talks in favor of recycling, but they only want a cost benefit to engage in it. I find it very difficult getting through to them.''
The automotive companies ``don't realize [that] only 20 percent of plastics is thermoset,'' said Marshall, president of Southfield, Mich.-based R.J. Marshall Co., a producer of designer particulates and recycling concepts. ``They're thinking in terms of thermoplastic where you can cut it and melt it. When you cut and melt a plastic, there is a potential for having a plastic that is a lower price than the resin.
``When talking about a thermoset, you have to substitute it for a filler that goes into the system, in this case, typically calcium carbonate,'' Marshall said. ``The chance for cost savings is minimized.''
Marshall operates a 10,000-square-foot Detroit pilot plant with capacity to produce about 5 million pounds of recyclate annually.
The company is purchasing a 30,000-square-foot failed foundry adjacent to its Rockwood, Mich., particulate plant.
``We see that [site] as having potential to put up a recycling production facility to handle 10 million to 15 million pounds a year,'' he said at Composites '98 in San Antonio.
``We want to see the automotive [industry] be willing to make a serious commitment to recycling,'' Marshall said.
Marshall is ramping up a recently acquired particulate facility in Valley Springs, Calif., and has another plant in Erie, Mich.
Jack Simmons, the firm's marketing manager, believes recent events may freshen U.S. auto makers' interest in recycling.
He cited European recycling leader Daimler-Benz AG's pending merger with Chrysler Corp., the upcoming Jan. 1 elevation of William Clay Ford Jr. — whom Simmons called an environmentalist — to the chairmanship of Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp.'s creation of a creativity team for the recycling issue.