Shaw Industries Group Inc. has switched to an eFactor3 shredding and granulating system to increase its efficiency and ability to recycle its EcoWorx carpet tiles.
The eFactor3 keeps temperatures lower and prevents the shredded material from gumming up equipment, according to eFactor3 LLC of Charlotte, N.C.
The system is designed to shred and recycle 3,000 pounds per hour and currently is being operated 16 hours a day, six days a week by Shaw, eFactor3 President Hartmut Bendfeldt said in a June 22 telephone interview.
“It is a complete system for the shredding of carpet tiles and recycling of fiber that keeps the materials cool when you cut the material. We were able to prove to them that we were able to run the material cool enough,” he said.
Shaw recycles roughly 100 million pounds of carpet annually. The new system is for recycling carpet tile, not broadloom carpeting. It has been operating since late November at Shaw's Cartersville, Ga., plant to recycle waste from the production of EcoWorx-brand carpet tile, made from nylon 6, as well as post-consumer EcoWorx carpet tiles. Backing materials recovered in the process are reused to produce new backing for EcoWorx tiles.
The system uses an E-rotor WLK shredder from Weima Maschinenbau GmbH designed for materials that need low-melt temperatures, and two XT 160-60 granulators from Tria SpA, Bendfeldt said.
“The Weima E-rotor is a real cutting device that chops the fiber up” and doesn't just shred it, he said. The Tria granulators maintain a tight gap between the cutting knife and the rotors, have screens that cover more than half the rotor, and use a Kice Industries Inc. negative air-handling system that provides “more ambient air to help the machine in cooling,” he said.
What makes the system work, Bendfeldt said, is that the shredder operates at substantially lower revolutions per minute than the typical 100-150 rpm of such machines, and the negative air system used to convey the material between machines operates at a much higher cubic-feet-per-minute flow than other systems.
The integration of the individual equipment pieces achieves a successful system, Shaw said in information provided to eFactor3 for a case study. “The hydraulic motor on the Weima shredder provides us flexibility to start and stop the equipment under a load [and] allows the material feed to pause and allow downstream equipment to recover, [while] keeping the overall input and output continuous,” Shaw said. “The high airflow provided with the pneumatic conveying system — as well as passing through the Tria granulators — provides enhanced cooling, capacity, and overall process flexibility.”
Shaw and PET and polyester staple-fiber producer DAK Americas LLC are building a PET recycling plant with a 280 million-pound annually capacity that will be run by the firms' joint venture, Clear Path Recycling LLC. Operating at full capacity, it would be the largest PET recycling plant in North America. The first 140 million-pound line missed its March launch date and is not yet up and running.
Shaw is also building a new reclaim-to-energy facility, Re2E — scheduled to start operating later this year — that will significantly increase the volume of post-consumer carpet it can reclaim, and will serve as an alternative fuel source for one of its Dalton manufacturing facilities.