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Reifenhäuser Blown Film presents 100% recyclable PE film, digital passport technology, and recycling of low-quality materials this month.

May 16, 2022

3 Min Read
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EVO Ultra Fusion enables processing of fluff aka film shreds and all kinds of production waste and PCR material of the lowest quality can be processed into functional films.Image courtesy of Reifenhäuser

Reifenhäuser Blown Film showcased a trio of advanced technical solutions for the economical and sustainable production of blown film during the GreenPlast 2022 trade fair in Milan May 3 to 6.

These were the patented EVO Ultra Stretch production process for fully recyclable All-Polyethylene (PE) PE Blown Film; use of digital product passports for a modernized and functional circular economy; and the economical processing of post-consumer and post- industrial recyclate.

EVO Ultra Stretch, Reifenhäuser's patented stretching unit, enables the production of PE monomaterial composites for fully recyclable flexible packaging in which the typical PET layer of the packaging is replaced by stretched PE. This is made possible by the maximum 10-fold stretch rate, which produces PE films with completely new mechanical properties.

Additional processing steps such as printing, laminating, and converting are unnecessary due to the patented positioning of the stretching unit directly in the haul-off of the blown film line. The film is stretched at the ideal time and from first heat, which simultaneously creates a user-friendly, stable, and efficient process.

"We supply our customers with production lines that enable them to now use the sustainability shift as an opportunity to become a preferred supplier for new, recycling-friendly products that serve the environment and business success,” says Sascha Skora, senior sales manager at Reifenhäuser Blown Film.

R-Cycle: Digital product passport enables circular economy.

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To make optimum use of the potential of fully recyclable packaging for a circular economy, Reifenhäuser relies on digital product passports via R-Cyclethe traceability standard for plastic packaging.

R-Cycle automatically stores recycling-relevant information during production and makes it available as a standardized data record for the waste sorting process. This enables data-based and therefore more precise sorting for high-quality recycling. Production machines along the entire value chain can record relevant data, such as the type of plastic, printing ink, adhesive, and additives. It can also record the use of the packaging (food versus nonfood) and make this information available on the end product via appropriate marking, for example, digital watermarks.

R-Cycle was developed by technology companies and organizations along the entire life cycle of plastic packaging. Reifenhäuser is a founding member of the cross-industry community that aims to establish digital product passports to build a functioning circular economy worldwide.

Lowest-quality recyclate processing with EVO Ultra Fusion.

High recyclate content in packaging is just as important as recycling-friendly design of plastic products. However, manufacturers face new technical challenges in processing recyclates, with one of the biggest problems being the widely fluctuating quality of the input material.

Reifenhäuser EVO Ultra Fusion extrusion process permit blown-film producers to be less dependent on the input quality while dispensing with the energy- and cost-intensive regranulation of the recycling material. Fluff aka film shreds and all types of production waste and PCR material can thus also be extruded directly.

Ultra Fusion processes even the lowest quality recyclates, which were previously inappropriate for the blown film process, into functional films for applications such as trash or mailing bags. This is made possible by twin-screw technology that ensures a stable process for a better melt homogenization,. Processors can also degas the system very easily and effectively, removing unwanted ingredients in the recyclate.

For processing better-quality regranulates, Reifenhäuser recommends the already well-known EVO Extruder in the 33L/D variant. Thanks to optimized barrier as well as shear and mixing parts, this extruder processes recycled material as reliably and naturally as other raw materials — the ideal prerequisite for success in the growing market for products with a high recycled content.

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