This month, "Best Practices" says, the nose knows!
If you've been in a recycling plant, you know there can be some strange smells. Avangard Innovative LP had an issue when officials inspected pellets, made from retail packaging film, that were run off at the technology center of machinery supplier Starlinger & Co. GmbH in Vienna, Austria.
Houston-based recycler Avangard is buying Starlinger recycling equipment as part of its new $10 million plant, announced in March 2017, that will recycle post-consumer low density polyethylene film into pellets.
The retail film contains a high amount of paper labels. Starlinger will install two recoSTAR recycling lines in the new Avangard facility. When testing of the first of the lines, a goal was to remove as much paper contamination as possible with minimal melt loss.
Starlinger said everything went smoothly.
"But when the client inspected the material in the U.S., it was discovered that the pellets had taken on an unpleasant odor," the company said in a Feb. 5 news release. "An investigation showed that the smell had been caused by the exposure of paper residues to heat during the extrusion process."
So, Avangard requested — and Starlinger delivered — a line that produced odorless recyclate.
The high paper content of the retail film called for an extension of the line with an extra process step to reduce the odor. According to Starlinger, this was achieved through optimal preparation of the material in the Smart feeder, and excellent degassing in the C-VAC module. That process already extracted a large part of the smell during extrusion. A "Smell Extraction Unit" (SEU) further improves the quality of the final pellet.
Smell Extraction Unit! What a great descriptive brand name, "Best Practices" is here to tell you.
The complete name of the Starlinger recycling line is a little bit more cumbersome: recoSTAR dynamic 165 C-VAC.
Paul Niedl, commercial head of Starlinger's recycling technology, said the machinery-maker is very flexible in machine setup. "In quite a few projects, this has worked in our favor," he said. Avangard will install a second Starlinger line early this year.
Jon Stephens, Avangard's chief operating officer, said the company has also installed an Ettlinger continuous rotating filter, as well as optical sorting technology, tied into the Starlinger recycling line.
This "Best Practices" experience shows that, especially when it comes to recycling lines, every company has different needs based on the material. It's not an off-the-shelf business.
"Starlinger has been a great partner throughout this entire process, where we collaborated on the line for our particular needs to find the best options to complement their extrusion technology to have a complete system," Stephens said.