Plastic Granulators

Enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times – and plastic in a landfill can take up to a thousand years to degrade. According to the Recycling Coalition of Utah, only about 25 percent of the plastic produced in the U.S. is recycled even though the process requires 88 percent less energy than using raw material to make new plastic. Granulators are used in recycling plastics because the machines rapidly reduce the plastic and other materials.

Hosokawa Polymer Systems (HPS) is a global manufacturer of granulators, shredders, dedusting and separation systems, washing lines and other plastic recycling equipment. “With over 50 years of experience and thousands of granulators and systems delivered worldwide, HPS has distinguished itself by supplying quality equipment and system solutions,” said Doug Ort, vice president/general manager. The HPS line of granulators range from 3 to 600 hp, for a variety of plastic recycling methods including: injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, film and post-consumer plastic recycling.

The majority of HPS systems manage plastics but other systems are available for materials such as paper, food, wire and cable. “Many of our granulators and systems are still operating after 40 plus years in production and the hallmark of our equipment is robust design and longevity. Key features in our granulator designs are high cutting efficiency, easy granulator knife access, fast screen changing, and a range of cutting technologies. These granulators deliver production capacities from several hundreds of pounds per hour to over 10,000 lbs. per hour,” noted Ort.

The HPS workhorse models for large volume recycling are the Alpine Rotoplex and CL granulators and their heavy duty line of granulators. The Rotoplex and CL products feature a patented cross scissor cutting technology which utilizes many short rotor knives, positioned side by side, compared to competitive models fitted with one or two knives per row. If damaged, not all knifes need to be replaced on the Rotoplex or CL.

Also, this cutting technology distributes recycled material evenly throughout the whole chamber instead of directing material in one direction or to one side, as is the case with some other cutting methods. Ort explained, “This cutting action minimizes wear and maximizes throughput. These granulators also keep a constant cutting circle and the rotor knives are adjusted outside the chamber for easier knife gap adjustment.” He commented that there is a growing trend in export restrictions for recycled plastics. This has caused U.S. market players to recycle difficult waste streams in a more economical manner. So, HPS continues in developing technology to meet those emerging market demands.

By Mary M. Cox, Published in the February 2017 Edition of American Recycler News