XTREME Renew takes in washed non-food grade flakes from recycled PET and processes them into new preforms within the same machinery, creating a revolutionary “bottle to bottle” industrial plastic recycling system. This system falls into a perfect circular economy, a vital concept in today’s manufacturing world. XTREME Renew’s technology is able to cut down costs and protect the environment, all while producing high-quality food-compliant plastic injection molding preforms.
This innovative solution is possible thanks to the collaboration between two leading companies in the plastic manufacturing and molding industry, SIPA and EREMA. SIPA has 30 years of experience delivering PET containers solutions.
Headquartered in Italy and with locations all around the globe, SIPA offers an extensive list of products and services in the areas of injection-molding, blowing, filling and packaging.
EREMA is the world’s top developer and manufacturer of plastic recycling machines and their components headquartered in Austria. With over 35 years of experience, EREMA develops world-class machines and components consisting of vacuums, extruders, pelletizers, filtration systems and much more.
XTREME Renew consists of two fully integrated steps , the VACUREMA system by EREMA and XTREME by SIPA. The VACUREMA system intakes flakes from recycled PET and decontaminates, melts and filtrates them. The XTREME technology consists of a rotary platform that develops high-quality and light-weight preforms from the melt-flow provided by the VACUREMA system.
These preforms are molded in an injection-compression system that works at impressively high speeds.
The XTREME Renew system has been up and running for almost a year in the hands of EREMA and SIPA’s key Japanese partners, Kyoei Industry and Suntory.
Kyoei Industry is a major recycling company who produces preforms using XTREME Renew technology, while Suntory is one of the world’s largest beverage producers who buys these 100% recycled PET preforms from Kyoei Industry and blows them into bottles.
A second XTREME Renew system will be installed in Kyoei Industry’s space in 2020.
Both the XTREME and VACUREMA technologies have been installed around the globe individually. SIPA boasts thousands of preform systems around the globe while EREMA has installed 235 VACUREMA systems worldwide, making it the most proven technology in the production of direct food contact grade rPET.
Each day consumers shift further away from this type of packaging while governments take action. By 2025, the member states of the European Union must produce PET bottles with at least 25% recycled content. In the United States, the state of California has issued a law that states that all bottles sold in the state must have 50% recycled content by 2030. Adoption of sustainable technologies, along with recycling and consumer education are necessary to build an efficient ‘circular economy’.
Circular Economy is the concept of eliminating waste and have a continual use of resources in all processes that sustain a population. In a circular economy, waste ultimately becomes a resource which can be used again for equal or different purposes. XTREME Renew can process up to 100% washed flakes, and still deliver a high-quality product.
XTREME Renew encourages PET recycling while also cutting down on energy usage and CO2 emissions as it is a much shorter process both in duration and physical space than traditional methods of processing recycled PET. SIPA and EREMA take their social and environmental responsibilities very seriously, and therefore strive to lead in their field with sustainable technologies such as XTREME Renew.
Processing recycled PET using traditional methods can cause inconveniences for manufacturers. Not only is there a significant amount of logistics costs, but the quality of the final product is not ideal. This is why most bottles labeled ‘made from recycled content’ are actually a mix of virgin PET with a low percentage of recycled PET. When processing recycled PET with traditional methods, it can be challenging to keep a stable IV (Intrinsic Viscosity) levels and low thermal stress in the material, which can lead to fracture.
Also, long processing of recycled PET often leads to coloring, where the material turns yellowish and the preform loses aesthetic appeal for blowing. XTREME Renew was made thinking on all these issues, and delivers a process that allows manufacturers to be more sustainable while creating bottles from recycled PET that boast virgin-like qualities. XTREME Renew delivers a stable output while having an input of many different materials.
Finally, in traditional methods there is not much design flexibility nor opportunities to create high-quality lightweight products. XTREME Renew allows manufacturers to be flexible in their designs as there are no fixed injection components and therefore no minimum thickness in the base of the preform.
This industrial plastic recycling technology makes lightweight PET bottles with highest standards and performance possible with a high percentage recycling content.
The main difference from traditional plastic recycling systems is that XTREME Renews skips the pelletizing steps. Traditional systems form PET pellets from the rPET, which need to be recrystallized and distributed to preform producers.
This means a high warehouse and logistic costs for the parties involved.
This continuous online IV measurement allows for influencing important processing parameters such as throughput, processing temperatures and filling levels.
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A very challenging task when processing rPET is keeping high and stable IV values. IV values are a central criteria for rPET processing since they have a significant impact on the mechanical properties of the end product. IV is a measure of polymers molecular weight and therefore reflect materials’ melting point, crystallinity and tensile strength. Exact IV values are required for different bottle applications and recycling systems must have low variability in these when processing materials. XTREME Renew is not only capable of lifting IV values by 10% from input to output, but it is also capable of providing stability, assuring a final product with IV values that lie within the tolerance thresholds for virgin PT material. This means that virgin material could be replaced with these type of rPET and have very little differences in the final product.
XTREME Renew lifts IV values through constant vacuum treatment and top input material homogenization. The low injection pressure and gentle treatment of material during the rotary molding wheel also minimizes the amount of IV drop, whereas in traditional method a great amount of IV is lost in this step. IV values are tracked in real time thanks to the online viscometer, which helps acquire desired levels.
Along with the online viscometer, XTREME Renew boasts a comprehensive quality control system. Up to 6 optimal cameras can be installed which check that there are not any black spots or defects in the preforms. Also, the body and gate of each preform can be checked to make sure they meet the quality standards for blowing and reject any if necessary.
Lastly, it is worth highlighting the compliance with food-grade requirements. XTREME Renew ensures reliability as flakes are decontaminated and any undesired migration substances are removed before extrusion. XTREME Renew produces highly clean rPET which fulfill the criteria of FDA, EFSA and well-known brand owners.
Treating flakes prior to extrusion provides a high degree of flexibility too, as IV values and moisture levels are leveled out through constant vacuum environment and top homogenization. This is very important in the plastic industry, where raw material from bottles can vary significantly depending on the type of product the bottles held. XTREME Renew technology is capable of delivering a stable output that complies with a specific criteria from a mix of bottle flakes with varied characteristics. It also has control over the final product and is capable of changing the output to a defined quality level by balancing out the fluctuations of the input material, not to mention that flakes are generally cheaper than pellets, and when input into this technology, 8% less of them are required as a raw material to produce the same amount of preforms a traditional method would produce.
Both XTREME Renew’s filter and extruder minimize the stress on the material in process. The material is highly decontaminated when it enters the plasticizing process, which lets the extruder be very short, cut energy consumption and improve coloring of the processed material as the dwell time is minimal and thermal stress levels are very low. The filter is capable of removing very small solid components that the melt may have and its large filter areas minimize the stress levels applied on the polymer as well. This gentle treatment of the material allows it to retain its high IV value and strong physical properties that are needed for blowing later.
There is a very low injection pressure when transferring the molten polymer into the rotary molding wheel. The low pressure not only minimizes the IV drop of the molten polymer, but requires less energy consumption and costs associated with it.
The rotary molding wheel has a greatly reduced cavity tonnage compared to traditional methods, which increases the life and quality of each cavity before changeover. A dosimeter in each cavity allows for some design flexibility, since two preforms can be produced simultaneously. Preform exits are also aligned and can be sorted into different bins, which makes the last step of the process very convenient and organized.
These light preforms contribute to a reduction in raw material use, carbon footprint and supply chain costs, all while maintaining quality at a maximum.
XTREME Renew solves many PET industrial plastic recycling challenges while providing design flexibility and positively impacting the world.
The WorldStart Packaging Awards, hosted by the World Packaging Organization (WPO) are presented every year to what are considered independent experts in providing packaging solutions and applying technological innovations in this area.
XTREME Renew is a reliable and efficient system that is capable of doing what was unimaginable not so long ago. In a world where the importance of sustainability is rising, XTREME Renew delivers a solution that eliminates any possible side effects.