Blow moulding has an untapped potential for using recycled materials. How can we manufacture bottles with a high percentage of recycled materials that are strong, durable, and fit for further recycling?
Norner has been working extensively with recycling technology, recycled materials, and product development with recycled materials. Developing and testing PCR (post-consumer recycled) is part of our Recycling Pilot Centre. Recently we installed a new 3-layer coex extrusion blow moulding machine from Magic. This will enable us to evaluate many more aspects of using recycled plastics in such bottles.
PCR blended with virgin material
Our blow moulding machine makes it possible to make products containing a varying degree of recycled materials. Bottles can be made with 100% PCR or as a middle layer in CoEx bottles, with 10-90% PCR in the middle layer. The PCR material can also be blended with virgin material to ensure that the finished bottle is of high quality.
Lining the bottles with virgin materials has the added advantage of mixing in new plastic when the bottles are recycled, ensuring higher quality of the future recycled material. Our goal is to use less fossil resources and make an environmentally friendly product based on recycling of plastics.
Minor changes can have a big impact
Norner develops and produces mono and multi-layered products and has experienced that you may notice significant changes in the end results with small but important changes to the settings of the blow moulding machine.
The produced bottles are tested and compared to reference materials through a series of methods, described below, including pressure and temperature testing. In many cases the materials are developed and improved in our labs before the finished products are tested for quality and the material is further improved.
Norner is becoming a part of the polymer development chain and has gone from developing and producing polymer to developing and producing finished products for testing.
Magic monolayer and CoEx 3-layer machine. Fully electric with 3 extruders with a screw diameter of 38mm and L/D of 24. Different moulds from 0,5 to 3 litres can be used, many moulds are available in the Application Centre. Leakage test of bottles are done in-line on the machine.
The advantages with the All-Electric technology are 50%+ less energy consumption than the older technologies, 70% less maintenance costs and less time spent on required machine maintenance.
Bottle Testing at Norner
A drop test is used to measure the impact strength of the bottle by dropping bottles from different heights to find the drop height causing breakage. Bottles are filled completely with water, sealed with a cap, and dropped from various heights. If the bottle breaks the hight is reduced and if it doesn’t the height is increased to find the hight where 50% of the bottle statistically breaks.
This compression test measures the stiffness of a bottle but can be used on other products as well. A bottle is placed in a tensile testing machine between two plates which are pressed slowly towards each other until the bottle collapses. We record the force which can be applied before the bottle collapses and how far down it can be compressed until it collapses.
Environmental Stress Crack Resistance (ESCR) testing is used to determinate how well plastic materials can resist specific liquids. For HDPE bottles we test how they withstand surface active substances such as detergents. Bottles are then filled with a surfactant solution, like Igepal® and stored with a slight internal pressure at elevated temperature. The main criteria is the time it takes before bottles are cracking and starts to leak.