Advanced Blending Technologies LLC, while continuing its efforts to encourage processors to use recycled plastics, now is also looking to make inroads with companies already using recycled plastics.
The Perrysburg, Ohio-based company focuses exclusively on the polyethylene market, though other materials will be added in the future.
ABT is a software and technology company that helps processors use recycled plastics in place of virgin material. Via its Optimiser-brand software, ABT's system identifies the performance characteristics of recycled material in a given company's warehouse and offers various mixes that will offer part performance on par with products produced with 100 percent virgin resin.
``With our technology, people are able to get virgin-like quality out of recycled material,'' said ABT partner Chris Ernst in a June 13 telephone interview. ``We're basically duplicating virgin specifications.''
Ernst and two partners launched the company in 2002. Ernst worked in manufacturing and engineering with Findlay, Ohio-based Hancor Inc. for 28 years. Hilliard, Ohio-based Advanced Drainage Systems Inc. acquired Hancor last year.
ABT partner Frits van der Klooster worked with Hancor for 15 years.
The Optimiser software helps users save between 10 and 35 percent on material costs - a big help because resin is U.S. processors' No. 1 expense, ABT officials said.
Van der Klooster said one of the biggest challenges of using recycled materials is when material brokers misrepresent the material being bought. Optimiser takes the guesswork out of the process and significantly reduces scrap rates, he said.
``When you buy recycled material, it could be one of 600 grades of [PE],'' Ernst said. ``Through testing, we determine the exact specifications.''
About one out of every three pounds of plastics processed is PE, Ernst said, but he added that Optimiser will eventually be formatted for all materials.
The biggest challenge for ABT is persuading manufacturers using 100 percent virgin to give recycled material a shot. Recycled material inevitably adds more time and effort to the process, but when you're guaranteed equal performance at significant cost savings, it's worth exploring, ABT officials said.
Ernst said the technology is applicable to all processing methods.
After an initial consultation, ABT helps clients install Optimiser. ABT makes money by taking a licensing fee for each pound of material produced using its software and blending technology. The initial capital investment is minimal, about $1,000, Ernst said.