Small wood-plastic composite pellets facilitate processing


Size matters when it comes to wood-plastic composites (WPCs), or so says bioscience company Green Dot (Cottonwood, KS). The company has introduced a smaller pellet size suited for injection molding and sheet extrusion that, it claims, makes the material easier to process than other WPCs and results in better-quality products using existing equipment. Because they are uniform in size and shape, Terratek WPC pellets can be processed without extensive mold modifications. And since lower melt temperatures can be used and cycle times are reduced, production costs can be lowered.

Green Dot wood-plastic composite pellets

"Most wood-plastic composite materials are only made for extrusion of plastic lumber–like decking," Green Dot CEO Mark Remmert told PlasticsToday. "The size and inconsistency of these pellets present challenges for manufacturers of injection molded parts. Green Dot's Terratek pellets are optimized to better meet the needs of these manufacturers."

Processors will benefit from the smaller, more uniformly shaped pellets in a number of ways, explains Remmert. "They allow for more efficient drying and feeding, the smoother edges enable easier conveying and reduce waste (resulting in fewer fines), and the improved consistency enhances the physical and aesthetic attributes of the parts."

The material's environmental pedigree has struck a chord with consumers as well as manufacturers. The wood particles, which can represent as much as 60% of the Terratek pellets, come from lumber waste, which would otherwise be sent to landfills. No new trees are cut down to make the product.

Terratek WC wood-plastic composites can be quickly customized to specific application requirements using a variety of wood sources and mesh sizes for the wood fibers and plastics. 

As reported by PlasticsToday, demand for WPCs will continue on its upward trajectory, especially as the housing sector rebounds. A recent report from the Freedonia Group noted that demand for wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber is projected to advance more than 13% per year to $5.4 billion in 2015, creating a market for 2.6 billion lb of plastic.

Norbert Sparrow

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