Bühler Looks to the Future with ITW Poly Recycling

11/07/2013 Bühler works in partnership with ITW Poly Recycling to increase efficiency and quality. Introduction
Bühler, a global leader in optical sorting, has demonstrated its partnership approach by working with one of Europe’s leading plastics recycling fims, ITW Poly Recycling GmbH, to create an integrated Optical Sorting Station.

ITW Poly Recycling is one of Europe’s leading plastics recyclers. The facility, in Weinfelden, Switzerland specialises in PET processing, supplying food grade and non-food grade recycled PET products to clients in Switzerland and across Europe.

As an industry leading business, ITW Poly Recycling identified a need to take the recycled plastics processing line forward to improve both the efficiency of its operation and the quality of its end product.

ITW Poly Recycling - The Sorting Challenge
As an influential voice in the plastics industry, managing director Casper van den Dungen and his team were looking to increase capacity and quality at ITW’s facility, as well as enhancing its material sorting capabilities.

Alex Prömer, Bühler business development manager says: “ITW Poly Recycling recognised the importance of improving efficiency and further increasing the quality of PET flake sort and the potential benefits of materials sorting capabilities. Particularly in overcoming the issue of PVC contamination from labels in the case of PET bottles.

“Previously ITW’s PET flakes resulted in up to 20% of out of specification material within the processed product. The company wanted to further increase the quality of its product for its customers and improve the efficient running of the processing line by reducing this figure to almost 0%. This is where Bühler was in the ideal position to assist.”

Working with Bühler
Following several years of consideration of the most appropriate supplier for optical sorting technology to work within its ‘sorting tower’ concept, ITW brought Bühler’s specialist SORTEX team on board to work with them in creating an integrated Optical Sorting Station, capable of sorting both by colour and material.

Managing director Casper van den Dungen says: “We chose Bühler for this project due to its reputation of working in partnership with customers to achieve their goals and because we felt that the team were willing to work with us in moving PET sorting forwards.”

Bühler had the ability to offer sorting by material as well as to improve quality and efficiency on optical sorting, and an integrated package of sorter performance, product portfolio, TotalCare service packages and R&D investment. These factors met with ITW’s demands from a sorting partner.

By working with ITW’s engineers, Bühler was also able to deliver a fully integrated Optical Sorting Station to work within ITW’s sorting tower platform. This included all aspects of the aspiration and conveying technology in addition to Bühler’s SORTEX optical sorting technology.

The Optical Sorting Station
Bühler’s ground-breaking, fully integrated Optical Sorting Station brings together the key elements of successful optical sorting, including plant engineering, sorting technology, pneumatic conveyers, pre-conditioners and auxiliary equipment – a first for the plastics industry.

Working in partnership with ITW Poly Recycling, Bühler’s engineers were able to assist in delivering an integrated Optical Sorting Station. This meant that the customer did not need to source separate elements from multiple suppliers, and manage multiple supplier relationships.

For ITW Poly Recycling, Bühler provided optical sorting machines to work with ITW’s existing engineered platform and a pnuematic conveyor system which included the ventilators, airlocks, cyclones and steelworks, in addition to a centralised aspiration system, comprising of an enclosed filter and ventilator for dust free environment.

Delivering a partnership approach
Casper van den Dungen says: “Working in partnership with Bühler to create a market leading Optical Sorting Station has ultimately enabled ITW Poly Recycling GmbH to achieve its optical sorting requirements.

“When we launched this project we were looking at what technology was on the market and what would give us the best opportunity to move our operation forward.

“We knew that the weakest link in any sorting system was the materials handling between the sorting technology. By bringing the entire integrated system under Bühler’s responsibility it became a much more efficient process.

“Working together with Bühler as our optical sorting partner we have been able a achieve our goal in improving efficiency and quality on our sorted PET flakes. This means our customers can now expect the optimum product for the best value.”

A fully integrated Optical Sorting Station
Following Bühler’s Optical Sorting Station project in partnership with ITW Poly Recycling, the integrated system has now been made available and can be custom designed to any plastics processors individual needs.

Bühler’s Sorting Station features a purifying, refining, sizing and grading stage which can include one or more SORTEX optical sorters. These are linked by all the necessary equipment to convey the product between stages and, if required, to re-introduce it into the system for resorting. Flakes can be fed into one end of the Station, and collected at the other end – ready for bagging or further processing.


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