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The system comprises a shredder-feeder-extruder combo for producing the plastic melt, a P:REACT unit for improving PET quality and a tight-tolerance sheet unit from Kuhne.

Norbert Sparrow

November 4, 2016

2 Min Read
NGR, Kuhne team up to produce virgin-quality PET sheet from waste material 

Next Generation Recyclingmaschinen GmbH (NGR; Feldkirchen an der Donau, Austria) and Kuhne GmbH (Sankt Augustin, Germany) have entered into a collaboration to produce PET sheets made from PET waste that match the quality of sheets made from virgin materials. The integrated system comprises a shredder-feeder-extruder combination for producing plastic melt, a P:REACT unit for improving the quality of PET and a sheet system from Kuhne for producing PET sheets with tight tolerances. Both PET sheet producers and thermoformed part manufacturers will benefit from the technology, according to the companies.

The shredder-feeder-extruder system can convert any form of incoming material into high-quality melt. This makes it possible to feed the unit with low-cost PET scrap, including punch scrap, sheet production scrap, bottle flakes and even fibers.

The PET melt is then decontaminated through P:REACT technology from NGR, which was introduced at NPE 2015. P:REACT is based on the principles of liquid state polycondensation, a process that considerably enhances the material properties of PET, according to the company.

As the molten PET enters the vertical part of the P:REACT, strands are formed to create a suitable surface-to-volume ratio. The material is then collected in a horizontal drum and slowly pushed forward. Post condensation starts immediately when the strands are formed and continues until the PET has exited the P:REACT. The P:REACT uses the melt energy for post condensing PET; the reactor itself only maintains the heat level. P:REACT is therefore highly energy efficient, which results in low operating costs.

The rise in intrinsic viscosity (IV) is controlled by the residence time of the molten PET inside the reactor, and machine parameters automatically adjust to achieve the desired IV at a consistent level within a small tolerance band. The continuous operation of P:REACT yields recycled pellets within a narrow IV range, suitable for use in such high-end applications as fiber spinning or sheet extrusion.

“All the material requirements are on hand for producing PET sheets that have tight IV tolerances on a par with virgin material," explains Josef Hochreiter, CEO of NGR. For customer trials, a system from the P:SHEET series is available in NGR's technical test center.

"Initial tests have far exceeded our expectations for sheet quality," says Hubert Armbruster, Managing Director of Kuhne. "The newly provided option for producing high-quality PET sheets from low-cost input materials, and eliminating one melt step in the process, have already ignited great interest among our customers," adds Armbruster.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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