While Design for Recycling guidelines emphasise the need to reduce the amount of printing ink used directly on packaging films, it is often impossible to eliminate its use completely. Yet that same use of printing ink poses a problem when it comes to the safe recycling of these films.
Since 2014, a Spanish company called Cadel Deinking has been working on the development of an innovative ink removal process, which is now patented in over 20 countries. The company has amply demonstrated the viability and value - especially for recyclers - of the process at its pilot plant in San Vicente de Raspeig (Alicante), and its suitability for real-life applications involving the recycling of printed inhouse and post-industrial film waste.
Cadel Deinking has now joined forces with Erema subsidiary Keycycle, to drive this development forward technologically and form a product that meets industrial standards. From January 2021 on, Keycircle will become Cadel’s exclusive and worldwide sales partner - and will operate the pilot system in Sant Vicente del Raspeig in Alicante, Spain, together with Cadel Deinking.
The aim is to make ink removal technology a process step that can be integrated into the plastics recycling chain, according to Michal Prochazka, managing director of Keycycle and Pablo Cartagena, business development manager at Cadel Deinking.
Erema partnered with Cadel Deinking in June 2020 with the aim of stablishing a process to remove printing inks during the recycling process. The companies has developed technology that removes the ink from the shredded film before the material is fed into the recycling extruder. When paired with an Erema Intarema extruder, the ink removal process worked worked so well that already, during test runs at the pilot plant, some five Deinking systems have been ordered..
"We see great potential in developing this new technology for recycling solutions to process in-house and post-industrial waste film ecologically and cost-effectively,” said Manfred Hackl, CEO of the Erema Group.
He added that the possibility of further developing the technology so it can be integrated into washing systems made by different manufacturers is being considered.
Both Erema and Cadel Deinking companies aim to establish their ink removal technology as a key component in the recycling process for printed film production waste and to integrate it into new and existing recycling solutions for customers around the world.