The V-ECO keeps going where others have to stop
Vecoplan’s plastic shredder V-ECO is not only energy efficient, but also powerful and versatile. In close cooperation with customers, the engineers have designed the machine to handle extreme use in almost 160 test series: It can shred foils, fabrics, fibre materials, hard plastics and even big bags – and maintain a high and constant output quality. Around 80 processors worldwide have been successfully using this all-rounder on a daily basis since 2013.
“Where others have to stop, we’re just getting started,” promises Martin Klotz. The Area Sales Manager at Vecoplan AG based in Bad Marienberg in the Westerwald points to the V-ECO, which is effortlessly shredding large numbers of big bags in the company’s own technology centre. “This polypropylene fibre material is difficult to process,” he says. This is a challenge for many plastics processors, especially because the topic of in-house recycling is becoming more and more relevant for cost reasons. The V-ECO 1700 is the only machine on the market that can shred large quantities of the robust bulk material containers and maintain a constantly high-quality level as part of the pre-processing treatment, enabling customers to input the shredded material into their own production. Besides big bags, processors often have to be able to shred completely different fabric or fibre materials, which are difficult to handle because of their properties. Mostly they use different shredders for this – but it’s expensive purchasing the various machines and they take up an enormous amount of space.
Continuous improvement through customer projects
In 2013, Vecoplan presented the V-ECO for the first time to a professional public at the K in Düsseldorf, the international fair for plastics and rubber. The machine’s attraction for the visitors lay in its energy-efficient and flexible method of operation. However, the shredder only gradually showed what it was really capable of during various projects. “Over the past few years, customers have approached us with more and more new applications,” reports Klotz. “Among these were extremely difficult materials which were to be shredded qualitatively and at a high throughput – besides big bags, there were nets, ropes, foils, hard and technical plastics, fabric or fibre materials – and even the so-called Angel’s Hair.” These wafer-thin threads are feared in the plastics industry, because they not only interfere with production, they also lead to quality losses in processing. During shredding, they can quickly get wound around the rotor. Klotz knows the problem: “Then everything stops,” he says.
In almost 160 test runs, the Vecoplan developers designed the ideal rotor geometries together with the users – even for Angel’s Hair, which is delivered to the plant in balls. “We can change the rotors, blades and screen to adapt the V-ECO to the input and output requirements, to even match the nets and ropes that are very difficult to handle”, says Klotz. The performance can be precisely matched to the interface.
Easy to maintain, repair and operate
The V-ECO’s hydraulically-swivelling bottom flap and downward swivelling screen allow the operator easy access to the rotor. He can immediately remove extraneous material, simply turn or exchange the counter knife or convert the machine – to change the screen perforation when changing products, for instance. The material is fed continuously into the machine thanks to the inclined design of the machine base and the continuously-adjustable ram control. This ensures a permanent process. A lift-tilt device can feed and shred the material.
For energy-efficient operation Vecoplan has installed the cost-effective ESC drive (Electronic Slip Control). “This solution makes gears and turbo clutches superfluous”, says Klotz. The multipolar, asynchronous motor with its powerful frequency converter works together with a special belt drive that incorporates a sophisticated slip control and an extraneous material detection system with a motor brake. The developers’ main focus was on a consistently compact machine design. This reduction down to the essentials minimises the susceptibility to failure, optimises the material flow and makes all service and maintenance work easier for users thanks to good accessibility.
Used successfully all over the world
Around 80 international (and satisfied) processors now rely on the V-ECO. These include an internationally-leading manufacturer of high-quality intermediate-bulk containers, (IBC) tanks and other containers. Vecoplan got the order to plan, project and implement a machine that could economically shred the large-volume input material down to a particle size of 40 x 40 millimetres. The aim was to enable the all-round clean and single variety recycling of the pre-consumer material directly from production. “It’s a durable plastic of different colours made of HDPE,” Klotz explains. “The plastic can only be economically returned to the production process if it remains totally clean.”
The company manufactures the IBC in white, black or blue and this is why the delivered production waste must be 100% colour-separated. If contamination should occur through black particles remaining in the subsequent white feed material, for example, this would result in new rejects which could then no longer be reprocessed. “This means that the system must be completely clean before a colour change – so it’s crucial that employees can easily clean the system,” explains Klotz. The material for granulation should also enter the mill homogeneously. And one more telling point: Space is at a premium in the production hall, so it was important to make the necessary recycling equipment compact. The material flow between shredding and granulation should also be coordinated. Vecoplan supplied a V-ECO 1300 series shredder as the linchpin of the process.
The challenge in plastics
“The Spanish GCR Group, manufacturer of plastic compounds and masterbatches, also relies on a V-ECO for shredding post-industrial films,” reports Klotz. The machine achieves a throughput of four to six tonnes per hour. It’s in use around the clock, every day of the week. Its high performance and consistently high quality convinced GCR and a second plant is already being planned.
The English company BS Plastics also relies on the V-ECO to shred LDPE industrial foils. The material is continuously fed into the machine. The shredded foil has a very homogeneous particle spectrum. The output material is then fed to extruders. A second V-ECO is also planned here.
A V-ECO has also been used at the Bösel Recycling Management GmbH since December 2017. This company disposes of single-variety plastic production waste – including stamping waste – and processes it into regrind materials and regranulates. The company is particularly enthusiastic about the V-ECO’s high performance and consistent quality – but also appreciates its very simple maintenance – and two to three further V-ECO series shredders are planned.
“Other shredders quickly reach their limits with these different materials, but not our V-ECO”, says Klotz. “We’re eager to see what kind of customer projects await us in the future.”