01-12-2017
RePlaCe Project: A Step towards Sustainability
Italian injection molding machine manufacturer Plastic Metal S.p.A., Gambellara, underlines the importance of energy saving and the recovery of materials, encouraging the use of environmentally friendly and energy efficient technology. That is why the company developed, together with partners, the RePlaCe Project (a pilot initiative co-funded by the European program LIFE+) and introduced it a K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany, where it exhibited a conveyor belt prototype made from recycled plastic components.

The main goal of the RePlaCe Project is to produce and replace the belt of the conveyor belt, generally PVC, synthetic rubber or virgin plastic, with a new modular belt in recycled plastics. A further goal of the RePlaCe Project is the setting up of a new collection of waste plastic “hard and bulky” from urban waste in the Veneto region, with a study that will identify the sustainability at a national level.
At K 2016 Plastic Metal introduced the RePlaCe Project, exhibiting a conveyor belt prototype (shown here in the foreground on the floor) made from recycled plastic components (© Plastic Metal)

At K 2016 Plastic Metal introduced the RePlaCe Project, exhibiting a conveyor belt prototype (shown here in the foreground on the floor) made from recycled plastic components (© Plastic Metal)

Teamwork to Achieve Sustainability

In order to promote and encourage initiatives aimed at recovering and recycling industry waste materials, Plastic Metal worked together with three companies. Plastic Metal played a decisive role by providing its own injection molding machines for thermoplastics, while F.lli Virginio (an Italian manufacturer of conveyor systems, automation and equipment for the plastic processing industry) was concerned with the creation of the specific equipment for the molding prototype and then the design and assembling of the conveyor belt. Vivi (an Italian manufacturer of high quality articles for furniture market) has provided a significant support, thanks to its long experience in the processing of plastics, and Etra S.p.A. (a multi-utility company which manages the waste collection in the Veneto Region) performed different tests on the conveyor belt prototype.

Thanks to the loading capacity of 1000 kg/ml, this conveyor belt is suitable for all industries, from packaging industry to food industry, from technical industry to household industry. In case of breakage, the modular concept of the belt allows to replace only the damaged modules, saving money and time. All the structural components of the conveyor belt prototype, such as pulley, drive unit gears and pinions, guarantee perfect movements and wear resistance. The characteristics of the recycled plastic developed ensure the efficiency of the prototype to static and dynamic stress.

Finally, among the several benefits of the RePlaCe Project, according to the developers, the most important is the positive impact on the environment, by reducing plastic waste, while being, at the same time, cost-efficient, due to important energy savings. If the achievements of the RePlaCe Project are broadened to other products, there will be a sharp increase of the recycled plastic use.

 

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