Indorama Ventures, a Thailand-based petrochemicals manufacturer, currently builds a state-of-the-art recycling plant in Guadalajara, Jalisco slated to be operational in the fall of 2019. The facility will process 100 million pounds of plastic bottles per year.
Located at its EcoMex site, a PET recycling plant the company acquired in 2014. The facility will include a new plastic washing plant purposely developed by Italian plastic processing solutions supplier AMUT Group to cope with very dirty PET post-consumer, landfill-collected bottles.
These bottles require a wet-cold-cleaning technology, which has been incorporated in the operation's de-labeller unit. The AMUT De-Labeller on site removes labels, especially the full body shrink sleeves, improving the bottles' quality to go through subsequent cleaning operations.
With the new washing plant capability, Indorama Ventures' seeks to reinforce its commitment to the food-grade PET business.
According to a statement, AMUT will also upgrade an existing washing unit at the Ecomex site, making the factory capable of producing over 13,000 pounds per hour of high-quality PET flakes from post-consumer PET bottles coming from landfill.
This facility is one of Mexico’s largest PET recyclers and already uses technology and equipment imported from Germany, the U.S. and China. EcoMex supplies washed flakes to Indorama Ventures’ PET plant in Queretaro to make PCR resins under the brand FuTuRePET.
“We have been working with AMUT for a number of years to develop an excellent technological and yet economical solution to meet our high standards for r-PET flakes,” stated Yash Awasthi, Vice President of Indorama Ventures North American Operations. “AMUT is a proven machinery and technology manufacturer that has demonstrated how to best meet our goals and objectives.”
“The new plant will process more than 100 million pounds of plastic bottles annually into clean PET flakes to produce our FuTuRe-PET - AMUT washing section is capable of reaching 4,000 kg/h. The processed bottles are extremely dirty being post-consumer landfill collected. These are the dirtiest bottles seen in this market and AMUT technology is able to obtain the premier value clean PET flakes from them,” Awasthi continued.
“The cleaned PET flakes will be used to produce new resins for a variety of sustainable products which our clients now demand for their PET packaging products. Our goal is to close the loop on recycling and increase the sustainability of the PET containers,” the official added.
According to AMUT, their turbo and friction washer machines are normally used to perform the cleaning phase. In this case, the combined action of these two machines needed to be boosted: the friction force has been increased to remove not only fine pollutants, labels and glue but even the soil.
Pre-washing and de-labelling phases are carried out in a cold-water process while the turbo and friction washer have hot water flow. The bottles are always subject to a high level of cleaning and pollutants removal inside each machine as they undergo a non-destructive high friction and proper residence time.
AMUT says their technology will optimize operational costs for Indorama Ventures, with fresh water usage reduced to a minimum, because the water that is continuously filtrated can be re-used during the whole process and the consumption of energy and cleaning agents will be significantly reduced.