A new lease of life for Bobby Cars, thanks to plastics recycling
The good news: Just because a Bobby Car is broken does not mean that it has reached the end of its life. In fact, it will be used to manufacture a new Bobby Car or plastics parts, thanks to the optimised breakdown of the composite materials for further sorting. Among other things, Metran Aufbereitungsges.m.b.H. in Kematen an der Ybbs/Lower Austria specialises in the processing of rigid plastics, a fairly new waste collection category. In the XR3000C shredder by UNTHA, the company has found the perfect solution for single-phase shredding.
Metran focuses on the material recycling of industrial metals such as aluminium, zinc, copper and stainless steel as well as high-grade plastics, all from waste materials. The family business has been operating from the Kematen site since 1984 and employs a staff of 45. It is part of the Müller-Guttenbrunn Group, which has 600 employees worldwide. Metran has been studying material compounds and how to break them down in order to recover precious raw materials for quite some time. The shredding of plastic parts was a particular challenge, which the recycling specialist sought to solve by utilising the most innovative and efficient solutions on the market. “During our research, we came across UNTHA and were able to test the XR directly on our premises, with the materials we are looking to process – rigid plastic parts that are collected by the municipality. We realised that the unit is exactly what we had been looking for and that it delivers the cut we require to obtain a two-dimensional output sized 5 cm or smaller for further processing”, explains Gunther Panowitz, Managing Director at Metran. A stationary version of the new XR3000C has been in operation in Kematen since July 2020. Experience has shown that the UNTHA shredder is also ideal for other material flows, for instance for breaking down more complex copper compounds. “Our people are curious. Every day, we try something new to see what works and what doesn’t”, says Gunther Panowitz.
Rigid plastics – a challenge
The particular challenge that Metran had to face was the single-phase shredding of rigid plastics that are bonded with iron and metals. With its iron handlebar and axle, the Bobby Car is the perfect example for such a structure and has become something of a mascot for Metran. Ski boots, children’s car seats and garden furniture are other classic items in the collection of rigid plastics. Metran receives these items from the municipal waste collection, shreds them in a single step and separates iron and metal using magnets and separators for non-ferrous metals. The cut plastics are placed on downstream separators and sorted by the plastics arm of the company, MGG Polymers, into groups of identical materials such as PP, PE, PES, ABS and even PC or PC ABS, using extrusions systems. These fulfil the same criteria as new plastics and may be recycled indefinitely. With the XR3000C and its competence when it comes to single-phase shredding, Metran has found the perfect shredder for precisely this sort of application. The company is particularly impressed with the compatibility of the blade blocks, the rotor and the stator with the iron and metal parts that are attached to the plastic components, and with the geometry of the shredded parts.
UNTHA keeps its promises
Other benefits for Metran are the low electricity consumption, straightforward maintenance and high throughputs of up to 10 tonnes per hour. The operator describes the characteristics of the XR3000C as robust, reliable and durable. Thanks to the sophisticated drive system, high throughputs are possible while using less electricity at the same time. “The XR shredder by UNTHA constitutes the perfect solution for shredding rigid plastics such as Bobby Cars. We are able to break down the material compound, separate iron and metal from plastics and prepare them for further sorting. We also tested the unit for other materials, such as complex copper compounds and cables, and are impressed with its flexibility and robustness. The machine is expensive, but it absolutely does what it says on the tin”, is how Managing Director Gunther Panowitz sums up the experience made at Metran.