Blown-film line manufacturer Reifenhäuser held a press conference at its K 2022 booth, where the latest film extrusion developments were outlined, among them the innovative EVO Fusion technology for converting low-level plastic waste into valuable packaging products. Based on an intelligent metering concept, the core of the system is a co-rotating twin-screw extruder coupled with a degassing unit and melt pump that “make blown film producers independent of highly fluctuating recyclate qualities and ensure a stable production process — even when processing low-quality input material,” said the company.
Image courtesy of Stephen Moore
|Reifenhäuser CEO Bernd Reifenhäuser at the K 2022 press conference in Düsseldorf, Germany.|
Using EVO Fusion, Reifenhäuser said that blown-film producers can process previously unusable, low-quality recyclates into high-performance blown films for simple end-use applications, such as trash bags or mailing bags. Until now, such low-grade recyclates could only be used for simple and thick-wall injection-molded products. Citing one potential concrete application, Reifenhäuser noted that a lot of unprinted scrap polyethylene and PET is available in India, and this waste could easily be converted into mailing bags.
Eugen Friedel, Sales Director at Reifenhäuser Blown Film, added: "In order to drive the circular economy, recyclate rates in blown-film products must increase and classic downcycling must be limited. With EVO Fusion, we offer a unique process that enables customers to process even low-recyclate grades easily and economically into high-performance products and increase the recyclate content. In this way, processors open up new fields of application for recycled products."
The EVO Fusion process relies on direct extrusion, which eliminates the need for energy- and cost-intensive regranulation of the raw material. This means that fluff (film shreds) and all types of production waste and PCR material can also be processed directly.
This is made possible by the twin-screw technology, which homogenizes the melt better and, thus, ensures a stable process. In addition, processors can degas the system very easily and effectively, removing unwanted components in the recyclate.
For processing better quality regranulates, Reifenhäuser recommends the EVO Ultra single-screw extruder. Thanks to optimized barrier as well as shear and mixing parts, this extruder processes recycled material as reliably and naturally as other raw materials.