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The Importance of an Advanced Selection Process in the Development of First Quality R-PET

Plastisavio in Mercato Saraceno, Italy – November 26, 2021

It is increasingly important to recover post-consumer materials, especially when it comes to plastics. In recent years, PET recycling has been greatly encouraged by packaging manufacturers and driven by growing awareness among consumers. However, the quality of the recycled product remains an open discussion. , The market wants it as pure as the original material. Fortunately, there is excellent quality PET.

As in all recipes, quality starts with the raw material. Plastisavio has recently invested in a new Cimbria MPS selection plant for the production of very high-quality PET. This confirms their commitment to supporting the circular economy.
Plastisavio's business focuses on the production of PET laminates, made with 80% R-PET, for thermoformed food packaging. The target industry requires a product with very high standards. Their material must be structurally compliant and aesthetically suitable, with precisely reproducible colors on a scale of tones from clear to blue.

"It is essential that food packaging manufacturers recognize the importance of increasing the percentage of R-PET used in thermoformed. The quality we are able to achieve today, together with the benefits that recycled PET brings to the environment, compared to the use of virgin plastics, does not justify any other type of choices" says Dr. Pierpaolo Rossi, Plastisavio General Manager.

The plant, entirely designed and supplied by Cimbria, performs a multi-stage selection and cleaning of PET flakes.  So, only the flakes compliant with the type of polymer, shape and color are collected. The production line was designed to maximize the effectiveness of the layout, with a sequence of cleaning and optical sorting machines at the forefront of the sector.

The flow of the selection process features the following machinery:
- A Cimbria DELTA Screen Cleaner, capable of classifying the material by size. This machine removes flakes not compliant with the set tolerance ranges, whether larger or smaller. It can also purify the material from dust and other light contaminants thanks to a suction system placed at the inlet and outlet of the material flow.
- A Cimbria SEA Hypersort optical sorter, with infrared hyperspectral sensors, able to separate foreign polymers thanks to the different chemical signatures. Specifically, only PET is isolated; while materials such as PVC, polystyrene, polypropylene and other foreign bodies such as metals, wood and glass, are discarded. At the same time, a first chromatic selection allows for keeping a color scale between clear and bluish.
- A Cimbria SEA Chromex optical sorter, one of the most advanced solutions in the market, uses high-definition Full-Color cameras able to separate the flakes of PET into two homogeneous color fractions: clear and blue, whose mix, strategically balanced, allows the respect of the chromatic standards of the mixtures destined to the production of plates.

In March 2022, when the system will start operating, 100% of the Plastisavio RPET production will achieve this level of accuracy. It will set very high-end standards in the recycling industry.

Increasing the perception of recycled PET by investing in the quality of the material means not only improving the company’s sustainability but also demonstrating a clear intent to increase product demand at all levels of the food packaging production chain.  Plastisavio, sustainable excellence.

Read more about industrial applications here.