Cold grinding facilitates efficient PVC recycling

Floor powder

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a material used for pipes, cables, window frames or floor coverings, is difficult – and expensive – to dispose of. Recycling, therefore, is not only kind to the environment, but also to the bottom line.

PVC is the third most widely produced plastic in the world. It is virtually predestined for floor coverings: durable, easy to clean and available in countless variants.

The efficient recycling of material residues and rejects is an important economic and ecological priority for Hungarian floor covering manufacturer Graboplast. Following a two-year test phase, a recycling facility was recently commissioned at the Tatabánya site, which will initially recycle 1,000 tonnes of the plastic per annum from the company’s own plants.

At the heart of the recycling process is cold grinding. The coarsely crushed plastic residues, or granulates, are cooled to minus 120 degrees Celsius in a Messer precooler using injected liquid nitrogen. At such low temperatures, the PVC becomes as brittle as glass. It can be ground to a fine powder without it sticking together or going lumpy. The control system and the cryogenic gas are supplied by Messer. Careful metering allows precise adjustments to be made to the temperature in the mill. The PVC powder produced in this way is fully re-used in the production of new floor coverings.

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