Pan Era Group, a North Jakarta, Indonesia-based recycler of polyethylene (PE) and a manufacturer of carrier bags and packaging supplies, has invested in a recycling line from Austria-based Maschinen und Angenbau Schulz GmbH (MAS), an extrusion technology company. The MAS extruding technology is distributed by Efactor3, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Efactor3 offers a variety of preshredding, shredding, granulating, conveying, separation, extrusion, continuous disc filtration and dry cleaning equipment, systems integration and installation services.
Pan Era Group recycles postconsumer plastic scrap, which it then processes into film products. To date, more than 95 percent of the plastic bags produced and sold by Pan Era Group are made using at least 80 percent recycled material, according to a news release from Efactor3 on the Indonesian firm’s investment in extruding technology.
Currently, Pan Era Group is working to build a new plastic recycling plant in Cikande, Indonesia. Efactor3 reports that the new facility is projected to be one of the largest PE recycling plants in Southeast Asia. For the new plant, Pan Era Group has ordered the MAS ES-compound extrusion line with an output of 1,000 kilograms of PE per hour.
Efactor3 reports that the MAS extrusion technology features conical, co-rotating twin-screw extruders. MAS is available in six sizes, from the MAS 24 laboratory extruder with an hourly output of 10 kilograms of PE to an hourly output of 2,000 kilograms of PE. Efactor3 says the range is supplemented by MAS’ state-of-the-art continuous disc filter (CDF) melt filters that use rotating disc filters and the double rotor disc- (DRD-) centrifugal cleaners for the pretreatment of input materials, particularly for drying and the waterless separation of solids.
Based on MAS’ conical, co-rotating twin-screw design, the MAS extruders offer a property profile that makes them ideal for complex recycling and compounding tasks, Efactor3 says. The company adds that one of the most important characteristics is the uniform plasticization at a low to medium pressure and shear level, documented by measurements of physical end-product characteristics. The qualities of input material stay minimally degraded during processing, which is important in compounding and recycling applications. Efactor3 says the screws can also be quickly fine-tuned to specific tasks by interchanging individual screw segments.
The extruder also includes a large feed opening, which allows for the feeding of low-bulk-density material such as film flakes or fibrous and powdery additives in compounding applications.
Pan Era Group wanted the ability to produce a one-stage process, leading to an odorless and particle-free high-density polyethylene (HDPE) quality in different colors from preselected postconsumer scrap that can be directly reprocessed for film and bottling applications.
“The challenge was to correctly assess the input material in terms of its composition and degree of soiling and the system design required for processing,” says Juergen Morosz, area sales manager for MAS. “In close cooperation with the customer, after a series of representative material tests, we have found a process technology solution that optimally uses the potential of the MAS extruder. The ideal solution was, respectively is, a system concept derived from our ES compounder extruder cascade. It consists of a single-screw extruder for melting and plasticizing the washed and dried PE flakes and a subsequent CDF 500-D twin disc filter unit from our supply program, where particles with a fineness of 130 μm are retained and segregated. The thus cleaned material stream is then fed to the conical MAS twin-screw extruder by side feeding in the area of the feed zone.”
Morosz says more cleaning was required on the extruder, though. He adds, “There were still printing ink residues and odor emissions in the melt. In order to remove these contaminations, we have added a vacuum unit to the specifically large intake opening of the twin-screw extruder and converted it into a degassing zone, where the volatile melt components can be sucked off efficiently. From there, the polymer melt is conveyed further, compressed gently and homogenized until it finally reaches a second degassing zone for a second cleansing. Passing a [melt flow indexer] measuring station, it finally reaches the granulating unit. Since a suitable single-screw extruder was already available in the customer’s plant, we only had to adapt and integrate our filter unit and the MAS extruder to the existing premises and merge the control technology. It was our contribution to the best possible use of the investment budget.”
With the new technology, Efactor3 says Pan Era Group has opportunity to expand its recycled HDPE range to include material variants for technical applications.