PLASgran posts record growth and expands into Post-Consumer processing

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Cambridgeshire based plastics recycling specialists PLASgran have posted a record 30% increase in revenue, with sales increasing to £22 million in the FY2016-17 period. Not a business to rest on their laurels, however, they have announced further growth plans, having enhanced their separation and cleaning capabilities with the addition of a new washing and separation facility in Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, together with a new twin-screw extrusion line to add a further 10,000 tonnes to their annual compounding capacity in Wimblington, Cambs.

The new washing facility, which has a total capacity of over 30,000 tonnes per year is focussed on washing and separation of post-consumer HDPE bottles, and PP pots, tubs and trays. It has been up and running since the summer, and will shortly be expanded to include specialist film cleaning capability.

The investment, which is a joint venture with newly incorporated Monarch recycling brings together more than 15 years of experience and 6 years of R&D into washing and separation processes to complement the extensive rigids recycling, separation and compounding knowledge at PLASgran. Paul Bennet, Managing Director at Monarch said, “We are delighted to be partnering with PLASgran, who we see as the future for the UK recycling industry. Their extensive knowledge of the recycling market combined with our expertise in dealing with these complex materials is a perfect match and will position both businesses ideally going forward.”

PLASgran Managing Director Mark Roberts said, “This project is one more step along the pathway to becoming the UK’s leading plastics recycler. Following a 30% uplift in sales in the last 12 months, it was important that we consolidated our supply position, and we see post-consumer materials as a key part of our portfolio of feedstocks moving forward. This is a strategically important move, especially in light of the recent developments in the export market, with the restriction of imports of mixed and scrap materials into China.”

“Having this dedicated facility puts us in control of this material stream and means we can access the material directly from the waste management sector. It will provide a basis for the next phase of our development as we further enhance our capabilities and expand our product lines.

“Furthermore, the location of the facility means we are in an advantageous position to secure other raw materials from the North East of the country so we can provide even better service to our customers on the purchasing side of the business as well as increasing our market penetration in compound and regrind sales.”

Despite the commissioning of their INTAREMA line in 2016, the business has been at the limit of their compounding capacity for some time, and were keen to explore further enhancements to capacity and, importantly, capability.

To this end the company has also announced an agreement to purchase a new MAS 93K – 400 with CDF melt filtration – a state of the art twin-screw extruder with laser filter technology, specifically designed for compounding of recycled materials. The investment will allow the company to expand its range of compounded materials to include automotive standard filled PP grades and HDPE extrusion and blow-moulding materials which have not formed a significant part of their compound offering to date.

“This new line is designed for compounding and dispersion and will allow us to produce filled PP materials up to 40% loaded, and its unique conical screw design means we are not restricted by bulk density on our input materials. The CDF filter system is designed for recycled materials and is capable of filtration down to 90µm without loss of throughput, and the secondary cascade extruder provides maximum de-gassing and removal of volatiles, and moisture meaning we can achieve even the most stringent of specifications,” said Roberts.

PLASgran have taken a number of steps in recent months to increase the quality, technical performance and range of their compounded products, with the opening of a new Technical Centre a year ago including a brand new BOY 35 injection moulding machine, a strengthening of the technical team and recent purchase of a Mettler Toledo DSC 3+ , and has continued to include a complete new in-line metal detection and removal system across both compounding and granulation processes.

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