Plastic fantastic for Lancashire trials

A plastic sorting plant in Lancashire has taken delivery of German separation equipment to process post-consumer bottles, with impressive results

Trials of plastics sorting technology have been completed at Intercontinental Recycling's plant in Skelmersdale, Lancashire. The plant, which features equipment from German manufacturer Stadler was supplied by Wilson Recycling Machinery and installed last October. It separates post-consumer plastic bottles into the various polymers for further reprocessing into recycled resources for reuse.

Receiving material from kerbside collections, bring schemes, municipal and commercial collections across the UK, the Skelmersdale plant compliments the firm's plastics processing capabilities, as part of a group of companies already operating facilities worldwide.

"We have a number of plants around the world," says Ravi Chanrai, managing director of Intercontinental Recycling, "but as each area has a unique waste stream, so all our plants are different. This plant at Skelmersdale consists of two processing lines, each delivering about two tonnes of clean, recycled polymer an hour ready for manufacturing into new products."

A gap for going local
Concerned by the amount of plastic material going to landfill and for export, Intercontinental saw a gap in the market for strategically sited sorting plants for local recycling collections. Chanrai continues: "We are passionate about what we do and have found that exported material is not always separated properly, making for a lower category end-product. Recycling plants close to collection and bring points reduce the carbon footprint of the recycled material, which makes economic and environmental sense."

The initial separation phase consists of a feeder and incline conveyor to a small sorting house where any large contaminants can be removed from incoming material. Following this, material is passed through magnetic and eddy current separators, for the recovery of metals, before being transferred to the Stadler-manufactured STT 2000 twin-deck ballistics separator.

The ballistics separator gives a three-way split between flat materials (paper/card/film), screened fines, and three-dimensional rolling fraction, ready for optical sorting. The rolling fraction is cleaned again on the second screen surface.

Constructed with 6mm steel plate for the side walls and a support frame made of 40mm steel plate, the STT 2000 is ideal for light packaging waste, the firm says. This means it can handle mixed paper, film and hollow bodies, and municipal, commercial and industrial waste.

The machine consists of six longitudinal, rigid and perforated, screening paddles forming an inclined table on the top deck and a further six paddles on the bottom deck. The paddles are mounted on crankshafts, which move in a circular path, relative to each other, throwing material upwards and forwards. Depending on its physical properties, material either bounces down the inclined deck (rolling containers) or is carried up the deck (film or paper).

The paddles are constructed from 4mm steel, with Hardox plating, for high-wear resistance and can be adjusted manually to suit incoming material. The action of the paddles helps to remove adhesions on materials and the modular shaft design reduces costs for replacement and worn parts.

The rolling fraction at the company consists of plastic bottles ready for optical sorting by polymer. The flat fractions consist of paper, cardboard, film, and other such contaminants, and the fine fraction consists of any glass, stone or other small contaminants that may be present.

Wilson Recycling Machinery www.wrem.co.uk

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