Niedernberg, 09.02.2018. In December 2017, the 1000th system left the production hall at ips Intelligent Pelletizing Solutions GmbH & Co. KG (Niedernberg near Aschaffenburg). The ips-SGU 120/2 HS, a highly innovative underwater strand pelletizing system, will start operation in the 1st quarter of 2018 at Märkische Faser GmbH in Premnitz. With it, high-quality plastic pellets are to be produced from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) residues.

 

“The fact that we can celebrate a special event with the commissioning of the 1000th systems in the 20th year of our company’s existence makes us proud and shows that we are going along the right path“, says ips proprietor Gerald Weis.

Innovative Kunststoffveredelungs GmbH (IKV), an affiliate of Märkische Faser GmbH, already has a number of conventional strand pelletizing systems from ips in use for manufacture of PET masterbatches. “The proven expertise, the system designed perfectly to match our requirements and the high degree of flexibility make ips an important and reliable partner for us“, is the reason Jörg Bellon, Technical Director at IKV and Head of Engineering at Märkische Faser GmbH, gives for the repeated decision in favour of ips.

The challenge

With PET plastic residues from Märkische Faser’s own production processes such as pure melt waste, cast waste from the fibre spinning process, fibre waste from fibre treatment and PET plastic waste from trade and industry in an uncontaminated condition, high-quality PET pellets are to be obtained again.

As a matter of principle, PET is produced in direct esterification with a downstream pre-polycondensation and a polycondensation with separation of water. For most technical applications, the PET contains a certain intrinsic viscosity.

In processing and in particular in recycling, PET however tends to store water and other substances in its crystalline structure due to diffusion. By melting and extruding the PET mass, these stored residues of dirt and water are carried deep into the material. The consequence is that a drop in viscosity takes place at the end of these process steps.

Therefore it is important that these disturbing points are distilled out of the PET melt so that the degree of purity of the PET is increased by the decontamination and the PET achieves the intrinsic viscosity of its former quality of manufacture.

Under the motto of upcycling instead of recycling, Märkische Faser GmbH is going down new paths in the processing of PET plastic residues. On the basis of a new system technology, Märkische Faser will be marketing the pellets under the name of “p-eternity” with its sales partner IKV.

The solution

The ips-SGU 120/2 HS has been specifically adapted and coordinated to the specific conditions of underwater strand pelletizing of R-PETs (recycling PETs) with all its components. The years of experience and the extensive know-how of ips in this area can also be seen in the construction and the design of the system. This includes the strand feeds with the rounded start-up head and flexibly adjustable extrusion heights as well as the hinged spraying nozzle unit for a simple and fast access to the cutting head. The constancy of the cutting gap, which is particularly demanded for this process, is achieved by the robust cutting head and further intelligent solutions with a simple adjustability. All the system components such as the process water system with the belt filter unit and pellet dryer have been fitted on a common machine frame. This guarantees simple positioning and fast commissioning.

“Alongside the system per se, which provides precision and maximum output alike, the personal contact and the after-sales support are of great importance for us”, says Bastian Lantzsch, head of p-eternity production at Märkische Faser GmbH. “If we have a question, we get an answer quickly and above all solutions. Replacement parts are supplied without delay, which means that the machine practically never stands still.” Parallel to production, ips in Niedernberg also has a large warehouse for replacement parts and parts subject to wear. Directly after ordering, the parts which are needed are dispatched and are where they are needed the next day at the latest.

“Thanks to our flat hierarchy and as an owner-managed enterprise, we are close to customers. If they call, they get their contact partner directly – without diversions”, is how Gerald Weis explains the ips success concept.

As a result of the modular product systems, ips can concern itself with the customers’ individual wishes. as is the case for Märkische Faser GmbH, and coordinate the systems “customized” precisely according to requirements. ips offers the complete pelletizing system, comprising a strand feed, the process water distribution, the actual underwater strand pelletizer, after-cooling line with agglomerate separator and water-jet pump, pellet dryer, process water system and complete controls. With the ergonomic ips operator guide, the entire system is controlled via a graphic touch screen. Automatic starting and stopping by pressing a button is also possible.