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rPET Quality Report

The top chart in Figure

The top chart in Figure 26 shows differences in (delta) L, a, b values for screened flake. The bottom chart in Figure 26 shows visible spectrum colour analysis for the screened and unscreened flake. The blue mark indicates screened flake and the green mark represents unscreened flake. The graph shows that the screened flake (blue mark) shows decreasing yellowing (∆b) and increasing lightness (∆L). Figure 26: Results of the colour spectrum of rPET sheet manufactured using screened PET flake. Scan of visible colour spectrum showing relative L, a, b values for screened and unscreened flake and their reflectance. The above shown colour chart demonstrates measured reflectance in all wavelengths (white) and is used to analyse materials by determining the level of reflectance. For example where less reflectance in blue wavelength region is measured the rPET resin appears more yellowish. A further trial was organised to run the unscreened material for an hour and compare the screens so that a direct comparison of contaminant levels over 1 hour of processing could be made. The trial showed that there was an improvement in the colour of the sheet produced Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 42

with screened flake. It was less yellow and there was a measured 26% improvement in the b-value of the 90% rPET sheet. Figure 27: Sheet extrusion trial using screened flakes (Courtesy of Anson Packaging). 9.2 TDX sheet extrusion trial using screened flake Sheet extrusion trials using screened flake from a UK recycler were run at TDX. The purpose of these trials was to evaluate whether screened recycled flake was less contaminated and reduced the level of clogging on filter packs that was previously experienced when unscreened hot washed rPET flake was trialled. A further objective of the trial was to also visually evaluate whether the screened flake resulted in sheet with fewer visual solid particle defects and reduced levels of gels and black specs. The screened flake was sieved in a batch process using an automated machine using a 3mm screen for a period of 20 minutes. Quality testing of the screened flake showed that reduction of fines and particles under 2mm in size was only 50% effective, that is there were still 50% of fines still remained in the flake even after screening trials. The limited removal of fines was due to limitations in current design of screening equipment and due to dust and fines being more easily trapped in PET flake. Improvements to screening systems are needed to achieve 90% removal of small particles and effective removal of trapped fines and dust particles from PET flakes. The recycled content of the screened flake in the sheet was set to 30% and the remaining 70% was made up of 10% virgin, 30% PCR rPET flake from another UK recycler and 30% reuse of thermoformed PET trim. The extrusion sheet was produced at 950kg/hr and was filtered with a 40-micron 4-layer screen. The automated filtration set-point on the sheet extrusion line was set to 50 bar pressure, at which point the filters were back-flushed and contaminants removed. The graph in Figure 28 shows processing times between filter flushing. Longer intervals mean that less PET material is lost to flushing also improving the processing life of filter screen packs, leading to lower costs associated with screen replacements. Improving food grade rPET quality for use in UK packaging 43

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