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Extrusion: Method transforms PET bottles back into...bottles

According to this equipment producer, every other PET bottle worldwide has been made from pellets coming from one of its plants thanks to special post-consumer technology that recycles used PET bottles back to virgin-like resins for reprocessing. To achieve this goal, the company has combined the advantages of a novel extrusion technology with the characteristics of its continuous solid-state polycondensation (SSP) process. Washed PET flake is fed directly into a ring-type extruder equipped with 12 screws. There it is melted and decontaminated in two degassing stages. This is said to thoroughly remove any organic waste such as solvents or odors that could have entered the polymer through misuse of bottles. A filter removes solid contaminants. The resulting raw pellets are amorphous and are then crystallized at 150°C. Polycondensation takes place at more than 200°C in order to lengthen the polymer chains of the pellets. This increases the viscosity and the material’s strength. Bühler AG, Uzwil, Switzerland; +41 71 9553466; www.buhlergroup.com

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