ser north america plant
Photo courtesy of Sirmax Group

SER North America opens in Indiana

The plant recycles postindustrial polypropylene.

Italy’s Sirmax Group, a producer of polypropylene (PP) compounds, engineering plastics, postconsumer compounds and bio-compounds for a wide range of applications, has built its second plant in Anderson, Indiana. SER North America has the capacity to recycle 33 million pounds of postindustrial PP annually and is Sirmax’s 13th plant.  

The new plant, which is adjacent to Sirmax North America (built in 2015), seeks to select, shred and regenerate postindustrial scrap to produce Green Isoplen. The $30 million greenfield project brings Sirmax North America’s total production to 133 million pounds.

The 124,000-square-foot SER North America plant features two production lines, while the 144,000-square-foot Sirmax North America plant features five production lines. The two locations have a total of 100 employees, which will rise to 140 by the end of the year as 40 new hires are envisioned for the Anderson plant, Sirmax says.

The company says incoming scrap is controlled at the source through stringent supplier selection and processed to obtain high-quality products. SER North America's recycled PP is intended for use in industrial applications and will be used by Sirmax North America to produce hybrid compounds marketed under the Green Isofil and Green Isoglas brands, which contain mineral fillers or are reinforced with glass fiber and are used to produce durable goods in the household appliance and automotive sectors. The company says that while their performance is equivalent to high-grade compounds, these brands contain varying percentages of green material (depending on client specifications), lowering their environmental impact.

“SER North America marks a new stage in Sirmax's sustainable growth,” says Lorenzo Ferro, U.S. country manager at Sirmax Group. “These new green products give us the opportunity to enter sectors where we do not yet have a presence, such as industrial packaging or garden furniture. Our production processes and the fact we have full control of supply sources also means that we are ready to bring postconsumer mechanical recycling technology to the United States by 2024. The vertical integration we have undertaken with SER allows us to differentiate ourselves in the market and meet Sirmax client demands for more sustainable materials in the automotive and household appliance sectors—all without compromising on traceability and the high quality  standards required for premium materials, which are already being supplied today."

Since last September, Sirmax has been working with the University of Massachusetts Lowell and MIT on a research project funded by the ReMade Institute (part of the Department of Energy), Chemical Conversion and Process Control for Increased use of Polyethylene and Polypropylene Secondary Feedstocks. UMass Lowell is studying a model for recycling polyethylene and PP industrial scrap for reuse in packaging.

With an investment of $100,000 per year, Sirmax Group says it is the only non-U.S. company partnering on the project.

“The pandemic has determined a change of pace,” says Sirmax Group president and CEO Massimo Pavin, “as evidenced by the $43 million invested at the federal level to initiate as many as 24 projects engaging in the research of new technologies to reduce energy consumption and decrease emissions. Among these is the UMass project in Lowell, selected by the Remade Institute. In addition to its economic commitment, Sirmax will contribute by providing knowledge and by making its laboratories available for recycling tests.”