Unifi Inc. USA Transforms Plastic Waste into High-Tech Fiber, Thanks to Lindner Micromats
Of the 400 million tons of plastics produced worldwide each year, too much still ends up in our waterways and landfills. Unifi, Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-performance synthetic and recycled fibers, has decided to tackle this global problem. They collect used plastics, including PET bottles, especially near the coasts of developing countries and regions, ensuring that plastics do not end up in the ocean in the first place. Three shredders from Lindner’s Micromat series work 24/7/365 to ensure that these are optimally shredded for the downstream processes.
The topic of plastics recycling has received a tremendous amount of media attention recently. Higher recycling rates, improved collection systems and more efficient processing facilities ensure that plastic waste is recycled and repurposed. Yet there are regions where environmental protection and recycling have not advanced and waste, including plastic waste and plastic bottles, is still being sent to landfills or ending up in our oceans. Unifi, the world’s leading manufacturer of recycled high-performance fibers, has decided to make a difference. From plastic collected within 50 km of waterways or coastal areas, mainly in developing countries, the company produces Repreve Our Ocean recycled fiber. This process ensures that plastics are returned to the cycle as a valuable raw material, thus avoiding the islands of rubbish from growing in our oceans and reducing their dramatic impacts on humans and animals.
When Unifi was looking for a reliable partner to set up an efficient shredding process in 2018, they chose shredding solutions from Lindner. Today a total of three Lindner Micromat 2000 prepare plastic and textile waste for its journey to extrusion, spinning and finally winding the fibers used by some of the world’s best-known brands, such as Pottery Barn, Levi’s, and Tom’s Shoes. Scott Trivette, Operations Manager of the Repreve Recycling Centre and Future Innovation Centre in Yadkinville, NC, describes the relationship with Lindner as “a great partnership, which we require because of our 24/7/365 operating model. A provider who can only be there for us between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. just doesn’t work for us. We need answers within hours, not days, and Lindner with its hub in Statesville, NC is always there for us.”
A Question of Performance
The Lindner shredders from the Micromat series are specially designed for the requirements of post-commercial and post-consumer plastics recycling. They have strong, high-torque motors for powerful shredding and are designed and built to optimize uptime and streamline maintenance tasks. “The lightning-fast safety coupling offers optimum machine protection and easy access to the rotor means that non-shreddables can be removed quickly and easily,” Trivette states. He goes on to comment that, they found the perfect solution in Lindner’s technology and service: “Lindner’s machines have enabled us to minimize downtime and maximize the throughput of the entire plant, which is essential with an average production of 1.5 million pounds of resin per week.”
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