Plastics recycler RCS of Germany transforms used PET bottles into plastic flakes for a variety of applications. At the company’s sorting plant, clear PET is separated from coloured PET, aluminium and ferrous cans, film and other materials. With a capacity of seven tonnes per hour, the facility operates on a continuous shift system.
RCS relies on the expertise of sorting technology provider Stadler. ‘We’d already purchased a ballistic separator from Stadler in 2005,’ says Gerd Francke, joint ceo of RCS. ‘On the basis of the good experience with their technology, we again decided on Stadler for a new ballistic separator in 2014.’
This was followed by complete modernisation of the plant, again executed by Stadler, in 2017. This move has brought multiple benefits to the sorting line: not only on the quality of the output but also on its operation and running costs. ‘The biggest advantage was a triple increase in quantity, quality, and yield,’ comments Francke. ‘In addition, work processes have become easier for our employees.’
Getting rid of the labels
The latest step in optimising RCS’ recycling process has been the commissioning of a so-called smart label remover – a crucial technology, according to Francke. ‘To optimise sorting and achieve better quality material, the separation of label and PET bottle must take place before sorting.’
Stadler’s de-labeller handles labels on bottles of all types, achieving a quality standard of up to 80% of labels removed. It processes up to nine tonnes per hour, depending on the particle size and material composition. According to the technology provider, the machine means less wear on the knives while it is ‘not very susceptible’ to impurities such as foil or wood.