‘Circular Economy’ Will Be Unifying Theme at K 2019 Show
Even injection machine suppliers like Engel will talk about ways their technology can support recycling.
Under the shadow of spreading bans of single-use plastic products and growing public concern over “ocean plastics” pollution, the dominant theme at this October’s K 2019 show in Dusseldorf, Germany, will be recycling, under the currently fashionable label of “Circular Economy.”
Visitors will hear plenty about this, to be sure, from suppliers of materials and additives, and builders of machinery for reclamation of waste plastics.
But there will be plenty of emphasis on the circular economy from less expected sources, such as makers of injection molding machines. A case in point is Engel, which will emphasize the roles of two of its molding technologies in enabling reuse of inhouse scrap and reclaimed waste;
• Because variation in melt viscosity is one of the major liabilities of reused plastics, Engel will show how its iQ weight control software can automatically adjust for such variances “on the fly” to maintain consistent shot weight. “Intelligent assistance opens the door for recycled materials to a far broader range of applications,” says Gunther Kammer, Engel’s head of Plasticizing Systems div. This capability will be demonstrated in molding a ruler from 100% recycled ABS. Molding will switch between two hoppers containing recycled material from two different suppliers, one with 21 MFI and the other 31 MFI.
• One way of reusing scrap or recycled plastics is by burying them in the middle layer of a co-injected sandwich structure. Engel is calling its process for this “skinmelt” and claims it can achieve a recycled content over 50%. Engel plans to mold crates with >50% post-consumer PP at its booth during the show—a particular challenge due to the complex geometry of the part, according to the company. Although sandwich molding is not a new concept, Engel claims to have achieved faster cycles and has developed a new control for the process that allows flexibility to vary the core/skin ratio.
In addition, Engel will be molding post-consumer waste into miniature waste containers in the outdoor exhibition area between Halls 10 and 16. In another outdoor exhibit nearby will be the recycling pavilion of recycling machinery supplier Erema. There, an Engel machine will mold card boxes from recycled nylon fishnets. These nets have commonly been discarded into the sea, where they are a major hazard to marine life. The reprocessed fishnet material at the K show come from Chile, where three U.S. machine manufacturers have set up collection points for used fishnets. In Chile, the nets are recycled on an Erema system and molded into skateboards and sunglasses on Engel injection presses.