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Crisis-proof innovations boost Erema’s results

Manfred Hackl: ‘Sustainability and plastics recycling will continue to be key issues for society and industries.’ (Photo: EREMA)

It’s been a fantastic financial year for Austrian plastics recycling technology expert Erema Group. During 2019-20, the company generated a record turnover of more than EUR 200 million – but that was before the pandemic…

Within a very short period, Erema implemented numerous measures to protect the health of employees, continue business operations and meet the needs of customers ‘as best’ they could. As company ceo Manfred Hackl says: ‘We are proud of our achievements and how we have handled the special challenges presented by the crisis so far.’

Maximilian Wögerbauer, mechanical engineer at Erema.

Plastics mission unchanged

Hackl believes the coronavirus will be with us for some time. ‘But that will not diminish the significance of Erema’s mission to help create another life for plastic. We are looking to the future with confidence over the long term, even though recent developments have led to a very tense situation for plastics recyclers. Sustainability and plastics recycling will continue to be key issues for society and industries, possibly even gaining in significance as a result of the lessons learned from this crisis,’ he insists.

According to the ceo, the economic impact of the pandemic requires decision-makers at national and international level to ‘ensure that recycling know-how and required recycling systems acquired over the years are maintained and further developed to meet EU recycling targets’.

Frontline technology

On a company level, Hackl emphasises the factors for Erema’s success are ‘innovative and diverse’ recycling technologies as well as service and engineering. ‘These enable us to serve a range of recycling markets and to implement tailor-made recycling solutions for our customers.’

A recent innovation is the Interema ZeroWastePro, a compact solution to process production waste. Another, Pure Loop, a division in the shredder-extruder technology segment, added the Isec evo series to its product range, achieving output rates of more than 1.5 tonnes per hour for the first time.

Showing the way in food packaging recycling

In the post consumer sector, Erema has expanded the range of applications for recycled material produced from contaminated plastic waste. As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration confirmed the food contact compliance of PCR-HDPE produced by using the Interema TVEplus RegrindPro extrusion system combined with the ReFresher module.

Erema solutions are also claimed to be the benchmark in PET recycling ‘first and foremost thanks to proven Vacurema technology’. The largest model ever built produces four tonnes of recycled pellets per hour.

Vacunite, the newly developed bottle-to-bottle process, in which all the thermal elements take place in a nitrogen and/or vacuum atmosphere, delivers ‘impressive’ performance and is currently being commissioned by the company’s first customers.

‘Stable processes’

For Hackl, the demand for Erema’s machines shows that recycling is becoming increasingly important in the value chain. ‘With our technologies and services we ensure stable recycling processes and high-quality recycled pellets even with challenging input materials. That is how we are creating a very important prerequisite for the plastics circular economy.’

Remote service making a difference

It is also stressed that Erema’s digital assistance systems, used to increase machine performance and better serve customers, have proven their worth in several ways during coronavirus-related travel restrictions. ‘If necessary, we can support our customers by remotely accessing recycling machines and offering remote support on mobile phones, laptops and augmented smart glasses during commissioning and also during service jobs,’ explains the firm’s managing director Michael Heitzinger. ‘Spare parts can be ordered around the clock from our online shop, where there are also detailed instruction videos to enable machine operators to carry out maintenance work on their own.’

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