Waste Management In Action

Recycling plastics reliably with the INTAREMA: CEMAC, EREMA and Integrated Packaging

When Integrated Packaging sought to reconstruct its Western Australian facility and make recycling a priority, it turned to plastics recycling equipment experts EREMA.

When their factory in Kewdale, Western Australia was destroyed by a fire in 2019, Integrated Packaging decided to build a new and advanced plastic packaging plant at the same place.      

However, the focus of the new factory did not lie on the production side, instead, “we made recycling the priority,” Michael Hill, Integrated Packaging Maintenance Manager says.

Established in 1982, Integrated Packaging offers an extensive range of products and services for almost any packaging requirement.

In 2017, the company merged with Pro-Pac Packaging and is now a leading manufacturer for flexible packaging products, with several manufacturing and distribution sites across Australia and New Zealand.

LONG-TERM BUSINESS SUCCESS

While Integrated Packaging invested in state-of-the-art equipment for the reconstruction of the destroyed factory, the focus on recycling made one machine even more important – the INTAREMA 1309 T repelletising line from Austrian manufacturer EREMA.

With this machine, the new factory can reliably recycle 98 per cent of its production waste. Therefore, Integrated Packaging diverts a massive amount of waste from landfill, “which is critical to reducing our environmental impact,” Hill says.

“In our view, reducing plastic waste in any way possible is core to our long-term business success and our ability to meet our customer’s expectations.”

Hence, the decision for the right recycling equipment had to be well-considered. The final choice was then made between several European machines and in the end, EREMA’s reputation as the world-class standard in plastic recycling equipment was the decisive factor for the latest INTAREMA recycling line from EREMA.

While Integrated Packaging already uses other EREMA machines across their sites, the factory in Kewdale is the first one to use the INTAREMA system.

Now, after nearly three months with the machine, Michael can only praise it.

“If we’d buy another one within the group, I will definitely recommend the one we’ve got,” he says.

Setting up a machine of a manufacturer from the other side of the world during a pandemic could have led to a variety of problems, but Hill enjoyed a smooth start-up process.

“It was one of the easiest projects I have ever been on,” he says.

Crucial for this experience was the ability to self-install the machine, which was well managed through EREMA’s online training.

The operators thus felt confident with the machine even before an EREMA technician from Austria arrived for the commissioning.

Due to current travel restrictions, the EREMA technician needed to quarantine for two weeks before being able to go to site. During that time he helped remotely, and once on site, Integrated Packaging could already produce high quality pellets after two days.

Ever since the machine was set in motion on the 1st of February, the brand-new factory enjoys the reliable work of the INTAREMA. For Hill, three benefits stand out so far.

First, because the compactor section of the INTAREMA collects the guillotined waste directly, the machine reduces the need to convert it to granulated fluff plastic before re-introducing it back into the process.

Second, the machine’s high availability for production, which allows for continuous operation.

This is enabled by the self-cleaning automatic backflush melt filter system. The filter operates with two pistons, each containing two pairs of filters, which can be backflushed and changed individually without stopping the line. This drastically reduces the number of screen-changes and downtime.

Third, EREMA’s online self-service portal with a comprehensive offering of training, maintenance and spare parts allows for consistent self-management of the machine.

“EREMA has genuinely maximised the use of digital technology, to allow us to maximise the machine’s performance,” Hill says.

THROUGHPUT INNOVATION

With the new recycling machine, the Kewdale factory can now recover three tonnes of in-house production waste every day. The high throughput of the INTAREMA is enabled by the patented Counter Current technology.

This technology changes the direction of rotation inside the cutter/compactor to the opposite direction to that of the extruder screw.

As a result, the INTAREMA achieves higher throughput, more stable operation and generally greater flexibility in the production process.

The amount of material that is recycled every day thus fully meets Hill’s expectations.

“Everything we’ve asked for has been achieved.”

The recycled pellets from the INTAREMA also impress with their high quality, which allows the producer to feed up to 100 per cent of the pellets back into the production process.

Consistently high quality is mainly a result of the cutter-compactor which pre-conditions the material before the extrusion, enabling gentle melting and excellent moisture control. Therefore, next to nothing is getting wasted.

“What we produce through the INTAREMA is a quality product, so we can put it back into our films without compromising its performance,” Hill says.

With an easy start-up process, reliable throughput and smooth operation, the INTAREMA 1309T paved the way for a successful return to production in Kewdale. Hill’s conclusion thus turns out to be brief.

“I am very, very happy with the machine,” he says.

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