Kobusch UK Expands PET Processing Capacity

New Inline rPET sheet system includes equipment from Erema and SML of Austria.

March 13, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Equipment & Products Legislation & Regulations Plastics

Packaging company Kobusch based in Warburg, Germany,  has installed a new inline rPET sheet system at its Stanley, U.K., facility. The system includes processing equipment from Erema Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen GmbH, Ansfelden, Austria, and extrusion equipment from SML Maschinen GmbH based in Lenzing, Austria. The combined system will enable Kobusch UK to produce 100 percent food-contact compliant rPET flat sheet, Erema says. Kobusch is a division of private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, Inc.

“With this £3 million investment Sun Capital has demonstrated its support for our plans for growth,” says Tony Mitchell, Kobusch UK Sales Director. “We intend to keep the existing extrusion division in Stanley in operation for our expansion plans. The new Erema system with SML downstream equipment will enable us to continue to increase the amount of post consumer waste in our rPET production without sacrificing any quality in clarity in the thermoforming process.”

Kobusch UK, which has three locations in Great Britain, has been running a similar inline sheet system at its Livingston facility since 2007. The system is designed as an economical technology for direct, single stage processing.

For the expansion, the company combined a Vacurema Basic 2016 T from Erema with a direct downstream thermoforming sheet system from SML to make a complete inline sheet solution. The system, expected to go into operation in the first half of 2013, processes post-consumer PET bottle flakes and Kobusch’s own production waste to produce food-contact approved rPET sheet. Throughputs of up to 1,400 kilograms per hour are expected. Erema says the Vacurema process decontaminates the PET, producing a food-contact compliant rPET monolayer sheet.

“Thanks to the efficient decontamination of the flakes, Kobusch UK is even able to use the Vacurema to produce food-contact grade sheet purely from rPET,” says Manfred Hackl, joint CEO at Erema, outlining a further benefit of the system. Another benefit is the increased value added as a result of the direct production of the flat sheet without the intermediate stage of pelletizing, Erema says.

According to Erema, the Vacurema inline technology is flexible in terms of the bulk density, shape and mixture of the feed material. PET secondary raw materials such as bottle flakes, ground amorphous skeleton waste, virgin material, edge trim and mixtures of them with virgin material are recycled directly to make end products such as FDA certified and ILSI compliant thermoforming sheet and even fibres and strapping. Further benefits include the capability of handling high input moisture (up to around 1.5 percent) and varying moisture in the input material together with stable IV values and minimum IV loss when processing the PET melt.

Economic benefits include the compact design of the Vacurema and its ecoSAVE technology, designed to reduce energy consumption, production costs and CO2 emissions. In addition, Erema says SML’s extrusion equipment offers high production performance.