Phoenix Technologies International LLC's 10 million-pound modular LNOc-brand food-grade pellet plant has reached full-scale production just this year in Bowling Green, Ohio. But the PET recycler already is planning to build at least 14 more plants in North America by the end of 2011 including two this year.
Those facilities will be in addition to multiple plants that sister company PTI Recycling Systems LLC of Holland, Ohio, expects to build outside North America during the next two years.
Both firms are part of Holland-based Plastic Technologies Inc.
We expect two plants to be built in the United States, two to four in Mexico and Canada, and four to 12 in South America in the next 24 months, said Steve Hawksworth, director of PTI Recycling Systems, in a June 22 interview at NPE2009.
According to officials at the show, held June 22-26 in Chicago, PTI Recycling Systems will be responsible for expansion outside the United States, Canada and Mexico; Phoenix will handle expansion inside the area covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement.
In an NPE interview, Phoenix President and CEO Robert Deardurff said first the company will add a second 10 million-pound line at Bowling Green and then it will expand further, possibly in the Southwest.
He said he expects Phoenix to add at least two plants by the end of the year, at least four in 2010 and at least eight in 2011.
One reason the plants can be built so quickly is that the modular design and prefabricated units permit a 10 million-pound-per-year plant to be installed in three weeks, he said.
Deardurff said the capacity of the plants will depend on where they are built and the requirements of the customers, but that the facilities will be in increments of 10 million pounds.
You only need 2,500 square feet, whether you are adding 10 million or 20 million pounds. The difference is one module within that same footprint, he said.
We have the technology to grow and there is a lot of interest from water and beverage companies and sheet extruders for thermoformed packaging applications, from cups to clamshells, Deardurff said. We are pleased with the reception to the technology. We are getting a very strong interest.
Phoenix's annual capacity is 80 million pounds, equally split between food-grade and non-food-grade resins, but food-grade is the growing portion of the business, he said.
We expect non-food-grade organic growth of 6-10 percent per year, said Deardurff. But there is potential for explosive growth in food-grade. We could double the amount of food-grade within Phoenix within two years.
That growth, he said, is independent of the growth that PTI Recycling Systems expects.
We can build a plant at the end of a wash line or inside a customer's plant, Deardurff said. A company with four to five high-cavity injection molds would have a demand that would be equal to that of our 10 million- pound modular plants.
In addition to its modular design, he said Phoenix has several other marketplace advantages.
The process for LNOc-brand PET has yields of 98 percent, compared with 94-96 percent from its previous-generation LNO-brand pellets, Deardurff said. Also, LNOc can use lower-priced, baled curbside PET as well as higher-priced deposit PET, doubling available supply and offering potential for lower raw-material costs.
That is a big difference because of the impact of flake cost and the total cost of resin, he said.
PTI Recycling Systems officials said the lower capital investment threshold and the need to have plants nearer to source material also will drive growth.
They estimate the cost of PTI Recycling Systems' modular equipment to be 40 percent less than other PET recycling technologies, which can require a capital investment of as much as $10 million, they said.
We believe this technology has the potential to become the new global standard for [recycled] PET production, said parent company President Craig Barrow. These plants have a smaller physical and carbon footprint and use no water.
Barrow said that international interest in the technology has been high.
Recycling in general, and recycling of PET ... is not a phenomenon that is going to go away quickly, he said. More and more areas are becoming interested in recycling and there will be a need for a more localized, modular approach in the long term to reduce transportation costs, he added.
The modular recycling system fits into 2,500 square feet and includes a grinder that converts recycled flake into an extra-small powder, a compactor to compress the powder into pellets and a standard resin dryer.
We believe in a local 'consume, collect, convert' approach, Hawksworth said. Locating production near resin users improves supply times and reduces the carbon footprint, he noted.
The total cost of ownership of operating, upgrading and keeping production moving is where these plants really shine, he said.
He said the system requires only one operator and can use various energy sources including natural gas, recycled methane gas and liquefied petroleum gas.
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