Erema says PET recycling equipment sales soaring
The Erema Vacunite plastic recycling and flake production system.

Erema says PET recycling equipment sales soaring

European technology provider reports strong interest for PET recycling systems in North America.

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The Austria-based Erema Group has labeled the past 12 months the “most successful business year in the company’s history,” with sales of more than $200 million in the 2018-2019 timeframe, representing an increase of 16 percent compared to the previous fiscal year.

The company’s Ipswich, Massachusetts, Erema North America office says sales growth in the United States, Canada and Mexico checked in at nearly 50 percent. One of the growth drivers in North America is the growing PET (polyethylene terephthalate) recycling market, in which EREMA refers to itself as “a pioneer in providing high-quality and resource-efficient technological solutions.”

Erema says the plastics industry is undergoing change, with political and voluntary initiatives, along with the Chinese government’s scrap import restrictions, having “led to more investment in high-quality recycling technology.”

The company says its sales increase is thanks to growing interest worldwide in three recycling markets: post-consumer; in-house or prompt industrial scrap; and PET recycling across the board. “In the latter segment alone, incoming orders almost tripled compared to previous years,” states the firm.

Erema says its Vacurema technology offers energy-efficient decontamination of flakes while its more recently developed Vacunite system combines the Vacurema decontamination process before the melt with vacuum-assisted nitrogen solid state polymerization (SSP).

“In order to meet the PET recycling targets of the food and beverage brands, an enormous increase in recycling capacities is necessary, and Erema has the appropriate technical solutions,” states Martin Baumann, vice president of sales at Erema North America about the situation in that region.

Adds Baumann, “A Vacurema bottle-to-bottle line with a capacity of 6,000 pounds per hour was shipped just a few days ago. Numerous other projects are already in the pipeline, including the world’s largest PET recycling plant, with a capacity of around 17,650 pounds per hour, that is to be commissioned in Mexico in about a year’s time.”

Continues Baumann, “Our Vacurema process, which removes moisture and migration materials from the flakes before the melt, is still the fastest and most energy-saving method for producing food-grade rPET pellets. This technology is therefore also the basis for ongoing application-specific developments with the aim of combining process steps and further increasing quality.”

Vacunite technology includes a vacuum-assisted SSP process that results in “a unique quality of rPET pellets that far exceed the legal requirements for food contact as well as the usually even stricter requirements of the major beverage brands,” states Erema.

The Austria-based Erema Group has subsidiaries in the U.S., China and Russia, plus a group of companies that operates through an additional 50 agencies on five continents with a total of more than 550 people now working for the firm.