Washing billions of bottles: Applied Machinery

With onshore plastic processing set to grow, Daniel Fisher, Applied Machinery, details the streamlining ability of high-energy washing.

The onshore consequences of the upcoming waste export ban could see the domestic resource recovery industry swamped by mountains of plastic.

To fully capitalise on this, Daniel Fisher, Applied Machinery Project Manager, says plastic recycling operators need to invest in efficient and high-capacity washing systems.

“The significance of washing is often understated, with importance placed on seemingly more complex processes such as sorting and granulating,” Daniel says.

“But, given the nature of most plastic waste, and the fact it often takes the form of packaging, removing contaminants and impurities efficiently is critical to sustained operations.”

According to Daniel, Applied Machinery’s range of plastic-washing systems are designed for high-performance recovery of rigid and flexible plastics derived from a variety of sources.

“We’re able to facilitate modular systems to tackle HDPE and PET bottles, and depending on application requirements, can provide bale breakers, infeed conveyor belts, pre-shredders for wet or dry size reductions, pre-washers and screw washers,” he says.

In particular, Daniel says Applied Machinery’s HDPE Bottle/Container Washing System is well suited to operators hoping to take advantage of the upcoming domestic plastic processing boom.

Developed by Guangzhou-based equipment manufacturer Genox, the HDPE washing line is designed for rigid plastics.

Daniel says the washing system’s wear-resistant design works to maximise operating time and throughput via consistent processing.

“The high-speed washing system works to liberate plastic flakes from contaminants,” Daniel says.

“The washing tank’s under-water force-washing paddles then work to amplify washing efficiency, while mechanical and thermal drying systems reduce end product moisture.”

Shredding and washing are set at calculated intensities, Daniel says, to avoid over friction and material loss.

“Label separation can also be achieved through advanced wind separation,” he adds.

The system features an inclined friction washer, float-sink washing tank and vertical dewatering machine, before material passes through a zig-zag classifier.

In the current economic and political waste climate, Daniel says investing in a Genox HDPE Bottle/Container Washing System can deliver significant returns on investment.

“The Australian resource recovery industry will see major opportunities over the next few years, so the time is right for facilities to upscale their operations and capitalise on the next generation of plastic processing.”

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Applied Machinery’s plastic washing systems

Applied Machinery’s plastic washing systems are designed for high performance recovery of rigid or flexible plastics derived from a variety of sources.

The modular systems tackle HDPE bottles, PE films, PP woven bags and PET bottles.

Depending on the application, the plants may comprise a bale breaker, infeed conveyor belt, pre-shredder for wet or dry size reduction, pre-washer to remove sands and dirt and screw washer.

Other features may include a hot washing tank with alkaline (caustic) soda to remove glues and oils, a sink float separation tank to remove non-contaminants and granulator for wet granulation and washing. For high speed washing or material scrubbing, a horizontal friction washer can be applied. In addition, centrifugal dryers, screw presses, thermal drying systems, zig zag classifiers and bag stations are also plant features.

The correct combination, sizing and equipment configuration of the equipment results in a reliable, efficient plastic recycling system producing high-quality materials ideal for sale.

Typical designs cover a PE washing system for recycling materials to high purity and low moisture, such as post-consumer HDPE bottles (with labels), drums and containers and LDPE and LLDPE products.

A PP woven bag recycling line offers a system that minimises the quantities of fines created and keeps material loss to a minimum.

The PET bottle washing system recovers labels and caps from soft drinks and water bottles and produces a clean, uniform-sized PET flake with low moisture levels.

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