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EPS-FISH PROJECT: SOLUTION TO FISH BOX RECYCLING

The ‚ÄėEPS-FISH‚Äô project to recycle expanded polystyrene waste from fresh fish packaging recently gave some good results. This project was carried out by Acteco with help from Aimplas (Plastic Technology Institute).

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is used all over the world to manufacture crates for fresh fish and other produce.

While 90% of the EPS in industrial boxes is recycled, only 10% of fish boxes are recycled and the remaining 90% is discarded. The problem is that after two recycling cycles, EPS from these fish crates is not acceptable to customers because of the fishy odour.

EPS is not a most suitable plastic waste for converting into energy (2% of the volume is plastic and 98% is air) and this project is used to create a high quality, odourless recycled material, reducing the volatiles generated when recycling EPS from fish crates.

The recycled material is used to manufacture pressed insulation boards for the construction industry, as well as purified PS for manufacturing ballpoint pens, hangers, boxes…

 

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RECYCLING: THE WORM THAT EATS NON-BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC

Plastics are an important aspect of modern living, because they are used to manufacture items that we use every day. This heavy use of plastics means that the end of the product life cycle requires effective management and although we are managing to recycle more every year, researchers are still looking for alternative solutions.

Recently it has been discovered that the flour weevil is capable of living on several types of plastics and that these insects safely break down this material and eliminating waste.

The study shows that these larvae can survive in perfect conditions eating polystyrene foam, which is the usual packaging material, as well as other forms of this synthetic resin, which is used to manufacture numerous objects.

These insects can transform half of the polystyrene consumed into carbon dioxide and the other half into biodegraded fragments through excrement. The insects have bacteria in their digestive systems capable of breaking down plastics.

Subsequent studies will look into at how these bacteria can be extracted and used directly to treat the plastic.

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THE ‚ÄėPMJOIN‚Äô PROJECT EXPLORES WAYS OF CREATING METAL-PLASTIC JOINTS WITH LASER

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Erum group is closely following the progress made in studies as part of the PMjoin European Project, participating in a consortium of companies that work mainly in the vehicle manufacturing sector and researchers from centres in France, Germany, Belgium and Spain.

The PMjoin project is developing an innovative process for joining plastic and metal using laser welding, which eliminates the need for additional materials, adhesives and other joining elements and obviates a large number of steps in the production process.

The market trend for lighter, less contaminating vehicles is leading the automotive section to make parts with fewer mechanical requirements with polymers. However, many of these parts have essential metal components, deriving from the use of multicomponent materials.

The project is developing a new joining concept using lasers without direct contact to create a stable, robust joint from both a physical and mechanical point of view.

The resulting joint guarantees structural integrity and makes for more streamlined, flexible industrial processes when compared to mechanical joints. It also has far lower environmental impact.

 

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METALMADRID 2015. EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE

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Several technical experts from the Erum group team went to MetalMadrid 2015, one of the biggest industrial sector events in the central region of Spain. The fair was held on 4 and 5 November at the IFEMA trade fair complex and was attended by leading companies from sectors such as machinery, robotics, automation, engineering and metrology.

Plus, technical staff from Erum also attended technical seminars and workshops running in parallel to the exhibition to keep abreast of the latest sector trends and developments.

Erum group’s aim is to keep its factory plants equipped with the very latest technology, allowing it to exercise greater production and organisational control, improving the quality of both processes and products and keeping costs to a minimum.

At present, Pl√°sticos Erum is constantly investing in technology and research and taking full advantage of every opportunity to improve its products, from clothing hangers through to technical and automotive parts.

À présent, Plásticos Erum investit continuellement dans la technologie et dans la recherche pour profiter de toutes les opportunités qui permettent d’améliorer ses produits ; des cintres pour la confection jusqu’aux pièces techniques et d’automobiles.

 

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SUCCESS STORIES: GAS ASSISTED INJECTION

The Plastic Technology Institute (Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico (AIMPLAS), as part of its campaign to publicise its success stories, has interviewed Blanca Erum, assistant to the General Management of Erum Group, which you can see in this video.

The project being carried out jointly by the parties consisted of manufacturing garment hangers that are kinder to the environment using gas assisted technology. One of the outcomes proposed is to reduce plastic waste by producing hangers that contain a smaller amount of this material and which cost less but which are still fit for their purpose.

The success stories feature the work done by leading companies set the bar for the world’s industry thanks to their efforts to adopt and develop innovative technologies. These companies are an example of the potential of innovation applied to business. By spreading the news about these successful products, the institute aims to encourage and raise awareness among other companies of the power of innovation as a driving force to achieve success and prosperity.

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VIRTUAL MOULDING FOR EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT

Grupo Erum attended a technical conference on injection simulation using Sigmasoft Virtual Molding technology. This is a revolutionary analysis technology that replaces a physical injection machine with a virtual simulation. The whole process can be performed on the computer so that optimised moulds can produce items without faults from the beginning, increasing efficiency.

Computer simulation has been established in the plastics industry for more than a decade. However, mathematical complexity of the injection process coupled with computational technology barriers have limited the analysis until recently.

Hardware advances and progress in “solver” technology allow simulations to go far beyond analysis of the filling and deformation of the injected item. Much more complex and precise effects can now be demonstrated, approaching the reality of injection moulding.

This simulation enables integration of all the components of the mould: cavities, hot and cold channels, cooling channels, inserts, moulding plates, etc.  Each of these components are modelled with their real thermal properties so that the simulation reproduces heat exchanges during the process, including over various cycles. This reproduction of the process conditions ensures that the analysis reproduces a physical injection machine exactly and predicts any possible problems that may occur in a mould. The operation of an existing mould may be visualised, and opportunities identified for improving the cycle time, reducing energy consumption and improving the quality of items produced.

 

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ULTRASONIC MOULDING TECHNOLOGY

Erum Group’s R&D department are studying a possible future investment in the revolutionary technology of moulding plastics by ultrasound. The technique can be applied to the manufacture of high precision items where quality and miniaturisation requirements present new technological challenges.

This technology radically changes the conventional concept of plastification of materials because it combines a mechanical heating process (by ultrasound) with a vertical injector and mould, facilitating the flow of material into the mould at very low pressures.  Only the energy provided by the ultrasonic head is used, without resistances, spindles or pre-plastification chambers. This opens up an wide range of possibilities for manufacturing complex components.

This process overcomes some of the limitations of traditional moulding technologies such as over moulding pressure-sensitive components, degradation of materials and wastage of material by spindle purge, colour change or machine stoppage.

Other advantages include precision in replication of micro cavities with thin walls and high precision details, extremely low energy consumption and prevention of degradation of sensitive materials.

In addition, the technique solves the problem of breakage of extremely long and thin cores, which the high pressure of the conventional injection process has not been able to resolve to date.

 

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ERUM GROUP INVESTS IN 3D TECHNOLOGY

3D printing has been a major revolution for the design sector and has gradually been spreading to other markets such as car manufacturing, the aerospace industry, medicine and now the construction industry and architecture.

Pl√°sticos Erum, following its policy of continuous investment in research and development, has acquired a rapid prototype printer; improving its commitment to clients and reducing response times still further by being able to produce conceptual items for carrying out studies involving ergonomics, visual analysis, shape and function optimisation tests, engineering assessment and functional trials.

The Erum Group’s aim is to push the limits of current technology and, as an innovative company, to put tools into the hands of its creative staff, producing tangible items quickly that enable clients to touch, feel and assess their design.

Parallel to this investment, Pl√°sticos Erum is keeping a close watch on other projects for obtaining materials from domestic waste to supply 3D printers, an environmentally friendly approach that promises to significantly lower the cost of printing materials and lead to a better and more sustainable society.