CHICAGO (July 14, 3:50 p.m. EDT) — Erema North America Inc. introduced a new large-part recycling system to the American market and is banking on new approvals of its post-consumer system from the Food and Drug Administration to bolster its presence in the bottle-to-bottle recycling market.
Erema, a unit of Austrian equipment maker Erema GmbH, said its Coax 100 E bulk waste system puts a large-part, single-shaft shredding system in line with a single-screw, double-vented extruder and is designed to repelletize material. The system handles post-industrial material that normally would require size reduction before entering an extruder.
At its booth, the company is taking large bales of polypropylene twine, more than a foot in diameter, as feedstock. The system has been sold in Europe for about a year, but Erema is using the show to bring the technology to North America.
The system includes a newly designed hot-die-face pelletizer that allows an operator to adjust the tension of the knives, said Tim Hanrahan, vice president of sales and marketing with Erema North America in Ipswich, Mass. The HG 82/1500 water-cooled design also has a simplified knife assembly, he said.
“It's a good machine for a certain niche market,” Hanrahan said.
Both the shredder and the extruder are arranged coaxially and are powered by the same motor.
Beyond the new post-industrial equipment, Erema expects benefits from improvements in its Vacurema system, which processes post-consumer PET bottles.
Erema last summer secured an FDA nonobjection letter for reprocessing PET from curbside systems, and added FDA approval in early 2003 to sell the resin back into containers used in hot-fill applications, said Manfred Hackl, management assistant with Erema at its Linz, Austria, headquarters.
“Now is the right time for us to enter the U.S. market,” Hackl said.
The company has sold only one Vacurema system in the United States, with three on order, compared with 25 systems sold in Europe, he said.
One Vacurema system, sold to an unidentified U.S. customer, will be used for bottle-to-bottle applications and will be installed later this year, he said. That will be Vacurema's first bottle-to-bottle use in North America.
Announcements by Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. that they will use 10 percent recycled content in their PET bottles by 2005 are fueling growth, he said.
The company found it very tough to sell in North America's bottle recycling markets without FDA's OK, Hackl said.
Meanwhile, one high-profile project that Erema had been involved with apparently has been put on hold.
Amcor Ltd. had announced in early 2002 that it planned to use Erema equipment to recycle bottles at its plant in Mississauga, Ontario, by the end of last year. But the project is on hold, apparently in the wake of Amcor's purchase of the plastics business of Schmalbach-Lubeca AG later that year, Hackl said.
Worldwide, Erema expects good growth in China's recycling market, mainly in polyester film, according to Andreas Kreindl, sales manager for Erema in Austria.
The company also expects growth in Russia and in the 10 new members of the European Union in former Eastern bloc countries like Lithuania and Poland, he said.
The U.S. market still seems skittish about investing in equipment, Kreindl said.
Erema claims it is the world's largest supplier of recycling equipment, with sales of about 55 million euros in its most recent fiscal year, which ended March 30. That was about 3 percent higher than the previous fiscal year, Kreindl said.