NPE ’09: Recycling plastic attracts business to US Eriez Magnetics

23 June 2009 17:39  [Source: ICIS news]

Shredded plastic particles with magnetic additiveCHICAGO (ICIS news)--Growing interest in recovering resin is attracting new business to Eriez Magnetics, a company that makes magnetic additives for plastics, a manager said on Tuesday.

Customers are using Eriez’s PolyMag additive to recover resins from parts made of different types of plastics - so-called multi-material mouldings, said John Collins, market manager for the company. He spoke on the sidelines of the Chicago-based 2009 National Plastics Exhibition (NPE).

Often, one of the plastics in the parts is expensive - with some costing more than $4/lb ($8,800/tonne, €6,600/tonne), Collins said. By making one of the resins magnetic, companies can shred the plastic part and recover the expensive resin.

Already, Eriez’s additives are being used in automobile parts, since companies often use multiple resins in one part.

For example, the top of an armrest could be made of a soft-touch thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), while the body could be made of a rigid polypropylene (PP), he said.

The automotive industry remains a promising end market for Eriez despite the sector’s downturn, Collins said.

Automobile producers are using more plastic parts to reduce the weight of their vehicles. “That’s leading them into plastics,” Collins said.

Incorporating different resins into one part can cut costs, Collins said. Recovering the resins from those plastic parts can save even more money.

In addition to automobiles, consumer products are also a growing end market for Eriez, Collins said. Tools often combine a rigid body with a soft-touch grip.

Also, containers often have different-coloured resins, he said. Companies can separate the resins by colour and then re-use them.

Other customers could come from the food industry, Collins said. Food companies are wary about any bits of plastic ending up in their finished products.

“Major restaurant chains have insisted with their suppliers that their products be safer,” he said. Recent concerns about salmonella contamination have made food safety a greater concern.

As such, the food industry wants metal-detectable plastic containers, plastic palettes and other plastic items that come into contact with food, Collins said. Since PolyMag can set off metal detectors, Eriez has been targeting the food industry.

“That has really grown quickly for polymers,” Collins said.

More than 40,000 people had registered to attend the NPE. The event continues through Friday.

($1 = €0.72)

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By: Al Greenwood
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