The world produces over 380 million tons of plastic per year. Yet only around 10% of plastics are recycled globally. With plastic waste and pollution becoming major environmental issues, improving recycling rates is critical. However, plastics recycling faces many challenges. From collection logistics to separating and processing diverse materials, recycling systems must overcome complex hurdles. Granulator technology provides a key to unlocking plastics recycling potential.

Plastic granulators are mechanical size reduction machines. They grind, crush, or shred plastic material into smaller, uniform pieces. Integrating granulators into recycling systems delivers multiple benefits:

  • Flexible feedstock - Granulators can process diverse plastics like PET, PP, PU, PVC, composites, and more. This expands potential input streams.

  • Removes contaminants - Milling plastics into fine particles separates out paper, wood, glass, metals, and other contaminants. What remains is cleaner plastic.

  • Increases purity - Granulation produces a homogenized feedstock ideal for automated sorting to improve stream purity.

  • Enables closed-loop recycling - Granulating allows easy recycling of plastic production scrap back into manufacturing processes.

  • Lowers melting points - Smaller plastic particles require less energy to melt and remake into products, reducing costs.

  • Consistent particle size - Particle dimension can be controlled to optimize material handling and reproduction.

Granulator types include shredders, chippers, grinders, and pulverizers. They employ different mechanical size reduction techniques like chipping, cutting, crushing, and attrition milling. Key factors when selecting granulators are desired particle size, throughput, noise level, and energy use.

Leading plastics recyclers worldwide now incorporate granulation systems. For example, Recycling Technologies uses chemical recycling where plastic waste is first granulated into fine powders. The powders then undergo purification and re-polymerization into new virgin-grade polymer.

At larger scales, advanced sorting facilities utilize granulators as a preprocess. Bales of mixed plastics are first shredded and washed. Granulation follows along with hot washing, screening, filtering, and drying to produce a clean, homogeneous pellet feedstock. Automated lines can granulate and sort many tons per hour.

Ongoing granulator innovation also drives plastics recycling progress. Improved designs allow finer size control, higher throughputs, lower noise, and better reliability. Smart controls and connectivity permit granulator integration into automated recycling environments.

Plastic granulators serve an essential first step in advanced plastics reprocessing. Without granulation producing optimal feedstocks, recycling outcomes suffer. By leveraging granulation's capabilities, the plastics industry can push towards necessary circularity goals and reduce waste. With enhanced recycling powered by granulators, plastics sustainability is within reach.