Washing system. An Italian supplier of grinders, shredders, pulverizers and other recycling equipment seeks to patent a system for washing plastic flakes from shredded containers, bottles and film. The invention from Previero N. Srl, Anzano del Parco, Italy, overcomes problems with existing systems, such as inconsistent washing and a lack of versatility for handling different materials, according to the patent application.

The washing system has a cylindrical container with a supply zone through which the flakes and washing fluid enter, as well as an outlet port. Inside the container is a stirrer with blades that create turbulence in the washing fluid, which removes contaminants from the flakes.

The invention also features a bulkhead that acts as a diverting barrier, guiding flakes that are near the surface down to the stirrer. It prevents pieces that have just been introduced to the washing container from reaching the outlet port too soon. Combined with the action of a roller device, the bulkhead ensures that all of the flakes entering the container are cleaned.

Patent application 20190134856; published May 9

Plastic bag densification. A patent application from Eric Benjamin Martinez, Boise, Idaho, describes a device and method to convert plastic bags into blocks that are better suited to modern recycling techniques.

One problem with current methods for recycling plastic bags is the hazardous chemicals released when they are heated. The patent application is for a process that keeps the heat below the typical melting point of the polymer in high-density polyethylene or low-density polyethylene bags.

Previero N. Srl applied for a patent for a system that washes flakes. It overcomes problems such as inconsistent washing. Image: United States Patent and Trademark Office

The application describes a device with an inner container and an outer container, each with a lid. One or multiple heating elements, and, in some implementations, an insulating material, occupy the space between the inner and outer containers.

The interior space of the inner container may have a rectangular cross-section, so that when the plastic bags are condensed, they form a rectangular block. In some versions of the device, the interior of the inner container may include a removable silicone liner to facilitate the removal of the plastic block and to prevent buildup of plastic residue on the interior of the inner container.

The user loads plastic bags into the inner container, both lids are secured and the device turned on to begin a heating cycle based on either a certain temperature range or a set time for the container to be held at a target temperature. After the heating cycle is completed, the bags have been deformed and compacted into a block.

Patent application 20190160709; published May 30

Washer feeder. A proposed device precisely doses plastic particles and liquid into a washing system, according to inventor CVP Clean Value Plastics GmbH of Hamburg, Germany.

The device consists of a funnel and at least one nozzle that is affixed to the funnel and connected to a supply line for liquid. Particles—such as polyethylene terephthalate flakes—that enter the funnel are then mixed with liquid from the nozzle before entering the washing system.

Existing systems that use pumps or stuffing screws to dose the flakes can have problems, such as clogging or insufficient material being fed into the washer.

Patent application 20190168422; published June 6

Thermochemical recycling. A process that breaks down reinforced thermoplastics in a carbon-dioxide-rich environment yields more salvageable materials than other forms of pyrolysis, according to a recent patent awarded to an Italian company.

“The pyrolysis process in a CO2-containing environment … allows obtaining unexpected and excellent results,” says Korec Srl of Bientina.

Korec’s invention employs a stainless-steel reactor that achieves temperatures between about 660 F and 1,022 F. At pressures between about 2.9 pounds per square inch (psi) and 290 psi, glass- and carbon-fiber-reinforced materials break down into a number of products, including an organic liquid and a solid residue containing fillers and additives.

Unbroken and clean glass fibers can be used to reinforce new thermoplastic parts, while the organic liquid can be mixed with virgin resins to form new plastics, without any negative effects on the polymerization process.

Patent 10,308,784; issued June 4