You probably use them every single day, whether you realize it or not. Nonwovens are everywhere--from the reusable bag you carry into your grocery store, to the face masks at the doctor's office, to baby wipes and diapers. These products consist of long filaments or fibers that have been bonded together without the use of knitting or weaving.
The Association for the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) is seeing an uptick in production of this material, specifically in the production of medical supplies like hospital gowns and hair nets, for example. This begs the question: what is the optimal way to recycle nonwovens? And what's the point, anyway?
With petroleum prices fluctuating constantly, the need for a steady supply of material is of the utmost importance. Many producers of nonwoven materials have integrated a shredder system into their production lines as well as a pelletizer. This allows for the shredding and re-pelletizing of scrap material and reduces the need to purchase costly virgin resin.
WEIMA's WLK single-shaft shredder series offers many custom options for the recycling of nonwovens. The F+ Rotor is most often used for the initial destruction of nonwoven products. It can be outfitted with bolted or welded knife holders, and is ideal for shredding filament-based materials (the "F" stands for "filaments.") WEIMA also offers a chilled rotor option for those materials that have lower melting points. The chilled rotors are hollowed out in such a way that cool water can be consistently run through the inside of the rotor as it shreds. This keeps the rotor temperature down and allows the shredder to process this material as efficiently as possible without melting. This rotor option is available in the larger versions of the WLK series (WLK10 and larger.) WEIMA America keeps WLK15 shredders with drilled rotors for cooling in stock at their main campus warehouse in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Nonwovens are extremely durable, but when they are cut or shredded, they often release quite a bit of dust. For example, when the leg holes are cut out in baby diapers, the dust that is released can be both messy and extremely dangerous in production environments.
Installing a briquette press at the discharge of the dust collection system can help eliminate dusting in the plant and increase overall safety. A dust collection system can pneumatically convey any residual dust into a covered briquette press. This eliminates the need for an employee to spend time cleaning up and transporting the dust and keeps the nearby machinery functioning in a dust-free environment.
After all, manufacturers are always looking for ways to make their operations safer and more profitable.
WEIMA briquette presses use pressure (not adhesives) to compress dust or shavings into small, hockey-puck-shaped briquettes. With a compaction rate of up to 9:1, briquetting can save a company quite a bit of money in dumpster haulaway costs alone. Fewer dumpsters being hauled away means a bigger bottom line and a smaller environmental footprint.
For over 30 years, WEIMA has been a leader in size reduction within the wood, paper, and plastic industries. We acknowledge that waste comes in different shapes and sizes and that every application is unique. With our wide range of shredding and briquetting equipment, WEIMA has a solution that will fit the needs of any operation and turn waste into profit. We want you to benefit from our years of innovation and experience!