Interview with Martina Schmidt, Head of the Recycling I Waste business unit at Vecoplan AG
Away from use and throwing away, towards reusing, multiple use and passing on. Despite the steadily increasing amount of waste, we must manage to use our resources sensibly and sustainably. In a circular economy, resource requirements are reduced and recycling plays a key role. For this purpose, Vecoplan AG offers machines and systems that shred, convey and process primary and secondary raw materials - and thus provide the foundation for functioning recycling. Martina Schmidt, Head of the Recycling I Waste business unit, knows what requirements are placed on shredding technology.
Ms. Schmidt, what requirements are placed on shredding technology today?
Martina Schmidt: In order to be able to close cycles, downcycling must be avoided and the acceptance of recycled material on the customer side must be increased. This goes hand in hand with high quality standards for the system technology used. One of the most important components at the very beginning of every reprocessing is the shredder. Plastics have a wide variety of mechanical and thermal properties. The input material has different degrees of soiling and is sometimes heavily contaminated with tramp material. Choosing the right shredder guarantees process stability: high continuous throughput, homogeneous grain sizes with lowest share of fines and oversizes.
How does Vecoplan support recycling companies with this variety of input materials?
Martina Schmidt: The recycling and waste management industry has taken on the task of operating high-performance systems that provide the market with consistently high-quality recyclate. The shredder plays a crucial role in this. Our product developments and innovations aim at highest flexibility and a broad range of input material. The shredder paves the way for the subsequent process to higher productivity and profitability: The right selection of the cutting unit, perfect coordination and selection of the program, high and flexible cutting force, simple and exact setting of the cutting gap, to name just a few important key points. All of this, of course, combined with the highest possible availability, the simplest maintenance and of course operator-friendly. This is what our shredders and we stand for.
How do you find the right solution for every application?
Martina Schmidt: We work closely with our customers on development. In the past few years, plastics processors have always faced us with new challenges. The customers also included companies that did not get a satisfactory solution from other manufacturers. We develop shredders which we adapt precisely to individual applications in numerous tests in our technology centre. All tests are documented, made available to the customer and recorded in our database. This database by now includes more than 2,000 tests. Output material temperature, noise emissions, torques and cutting forces are monitored and recorded in real time. There is an internal laboratory available for moisture measurement, grain size and density determination as well as material testing. Over the years, we have acquired an enormous level of knowledge, and this not only in theory, but above all in practice.
In order to develop future-oriented solutions, you need the right people in every business area. How is the staff situation in the Vecoplan area of Recycling I Waste?
Martina Schmidt: As in the other business units at Vecoplan, our team consists of absolute specialists. This includes plastics and application engineers, mechanical engineers, sales professionals and project managers. In our business unit, we not only bundle a lot of technical expertise, but also extensive personal experience.
How does this show in your developments?
Martina Schmidt: The expertise ultimately results in the development of new technologies such as of our new VIZ shredder series, which we presented for the first time at the K in Düsseldorf in October 2019. The initials VIZ stand for Vecoplan Infinity Zerkleinerer (= shredder in German). This single-stage shredder is a solution for any input material. Due to the concept of screwed tool holder plates with variable cutting crown sizes, there is no longer a need for rotor changes. Limitless flexibility also in the drive technology - variably adjustable speed range, tramp material detection, high dynamics in the drive by fast reversing and restarting, highest possible torque at low speed, smooth start-up even when the machine is full. Combined with user comfort, high availability and low operating costs, the VIZ truly deserves its name: No limits.