Residual PET material turned into injection molding material

Leonhard Kurz has developed a process for recycling residual PET materials. This enables the carrier foils from Kurz transfer finishing products to be returned to the material cycle. The recycled material can be used as an injection molding material for high-value applications.

In the beginning it was merely a vision for Kurz: to be able to return the residual PET material from hot stamping, cold transfer or digital transfer to the material cycle. This vision has now become reality. The company has succeeded not only in recycling the residual material, but also in turning it into a high-quality, injection moldable material. While recycled plastics are usually used for simple secondary applications such as exercise mats, park benches or flowerpots, the PET material developed by Kurz can be utilized for sophisticated injection molding applications.

Kurz had spent three years and a total investment of several million euros working on the PET recycling concept. Thanks to the joint efforts of all the environmental and process specialists from the graphics and plastics industries at the company’s headquarters in Fürth, the breakthrough has now been achieved. From the residual PET material of Kurz transfer products, they have produced a new injection molding material that will be available in future for industrial applications.

Closing the material cycle

The recycling concept developed by Kurz provides for the collection and shipment, or pickup of the used Kurz transfer products at the customer, and conversion of the material into new injection molding material in the company’s own recycling facility. A recycling facility in Fürth is currently in pilot operation. At present, it is recycling residual Kurz PET material from Edelmann, a packaging manufacturer with a focus on resource-efficient production. The next step will be to employ the PET recycling concept for further customers. For the medium term, it is planned to successively establish recycling facilities at all Kurz international manufacturing locations to ensure a universally sustainable approach through short transport distances. The company is also demonstrating consistent sustainability practices in its use of energy at the recycling facility in Fürth. As with all its manufacturing plants in Germany, the recycling facility will use only power from renewable sources.

“As a global market and innovation leader in the printing sector, we view it as our duty to offer the printing and plastics industries sustainable ways to achieve excellent finishing and decoration. For many years now we have been striving to ensure that our transfer products are manufactured, processed and disposed of in a sustainable manner. Thanks to our new recycling process, we have now fully closed the material cycle. This is a milestone in plastics recycling”, explains Markus Hoffmann, Member of the Management Board at Kurz.

Written by Philip Yorke

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