The successful establishment and development of the circular economy in the plastics industry will significantly influence the future applications of polymer materials and the corresponding ecological effects. Together with the leading machine manufacturers for plastics processing and material testing, the Institute of Plastics and Circular Economy in Garbsen develops innovative solutions for an efficient and high-quality plastics recycling. Using the installed systems, scientists can break new ground in the recycling of multi-layer plastic packaging, composite materials and other mixed plastic products. The focus of the cooperation is the optimization of the equipment technology, development of sustainable recycling and processing chain as well as improvement of the recyclate quality.

© Marie Kolb

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, Head of the IKK, Markus Huber-Lindinger, Managing Director and Martin Henzl, Commissioning Engineer EREMA Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen GmbH

© Marie Kolb

Dr. Jan Stefan Roell, CEO of ZwickRoell AG, Prof. Dr. Jorge Lacayo-Pineda, Head of Expert Field for Materials Evaluation Continental AG, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, Head of the IKK, Robert Strehle, Product Manager ZwickRoell GmbH & Co. KG

© Marie Kolb

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, Head of the IKK, Juliane Hehl, Managing Partner und Dr. Christoph Schumacher, Department Manager Marketing and Corporate Communications, Arburg GmbH & Co. KG

© Marie Kolb

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Josef Endres, Head of the IKK, Uwe Altena, Executive Manager KraussMaffei Extrusion, Michael Eloo, Managing Director Maag Gruppe and Carl-Philip Pöpel, Director Product Management Extrusion

© M. Shamsuyeva

Opening of the mechanical engineering campus (from left to right): Prof. Hans-Josef Endres, President of the Region Hannover Hauke Jagau, Minister President of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil

The first practical experiments in the technical centre of the IKK in Garbsen will start in March 2020. New technologies for recovery and marketable recycling of a post-production and contaminated post-consumer plastic waste will be developed in close cooperation with numerous industrial partners.

In order to enable manufacture of high-quality recyclates with reproducible properties, not only the material-specific properties of the produced compounds and injection-moulded products are going to be examined using polymer-chemical and material testing methods, but the entire processing chain, including the corresponding input and output streams, is going to be monitored using special modules for an online and inline analysis. Important material parameters such as viscosity, moisture, chemical composition of the plastics and volatile substances or colour are going to be analysed directly within the recycling process. This information enables early identification of contaminants and rapid optimization of process parameters.

The development of recycling scenarios in close cooperation with the industry enables transfer of the optimized processes to production scale.