In the realm of eco-conscious manufacturing, where sustainability and quality intersect, a client of ours has been leading the charge. They specialize in producing biodegradable plastic pellets, which can be used to make eco-friendly plastic bags and film products. Their challenge? To optimize their production process by introducing an inline mixer that could seamlessly pre-mix a powder and liquid before entering the extruder. In this article, we'll uncover how AZO stepped up to provide an innovative solution for this forward-thinking company.
The Company and Its Industry
Our story centers around a pioneering company dedicated to producing biodegradable plastic pellets. These pellets can play a crucial role in the manufacturing of environmentally friendly plastic bags and other thin film products. This company is at the forefront of sustainability, but precision is paramount in their production process.
The Challenge: Streamlining the Mixing Process
The challenge was to find a way to efficiently mix a powder and a liquid before introducing them to the extrusion process. This pre-mixing step was essential to ensure the consistent quality of the biodegradable pellets. The customer was looking for a solution that could handle this challenge reliably.
The Process Evaluation
AZO, known for its expertise in material handling and mixing solutions, suggested the use of their Mixomat® inline mixing unit. While the Mixomat® is typically employed for blending different types of pellets before entering an extruder, the Mixomat® isn't commonly used for powder applications. However, after careful consultation and consideration with AZO's experts, it was deemed a suitable choice for this unique project.
Material Assessment Studies and Lab Trials
To validate the proposed process AZO conducted lab trials at their test lab in Germany. These trials yielded highly promising results, providing the assurance needed to move forward with pilot plant with its Mixomat® inline mixing unit.
Engineering Considerations and Achieving Success Precision
During the equipment installation phase, the team had to work out the precise timing and dosing of the liquid into the mixing process to achieve the desired blend. Unfortunately, what worked in the lab did not prove reliable in the real world. Working together, the client and AZO modified the system so a second minor liquid could be incorporated into the process. The second set of trials were successful, leading to a mix that met the customer’s expectations,, where it proved to work exceptionally well in their production process.
The Transformative Results
Following the successful startup of the system, it has continued to operate reliably for the past five years. There have been no quality issues, and downtime has been minimal. The success of this endeavor has been so profound that the customer purchased a duplicate system for another facility, highlighting the trust and satisfaction they have in AZO's solutions.
The collaboration between AZO and our client in the biodegradable plastic pellet industry exemplifies the power of innovation and problem-solving in the pursuit of sustainability. By addressing the unique challenge of pre-mixing powder and liquid, AZO has helped our client to set new standards for quality and efficiency. Their success story with AZO stands as a testament to the possibilities that emerge when industry leaders come together to solve unique challenges and innovate to a greener future.