STADLER: innovating on the path to a circular economy

The recycling sector is growing and evolving fast, as the world moves towards a circular economy model to address the environmental challenges of this century. STADLER is supporting the sector, anticipating the changes, and providing solutions as new requirements arise.

The pursuit of a circular economy to address the global issues of waste and resource scarcity is driving the evolution of the recycling industry, which is translating into new requirements from waste sorting plants. STADLER is quick to identify new demands and provide a solution, either by developing a new machine or optimizing existing ones. It conducts extensive testing on the proposed solution at its Test Centers or at the customer’s plant until the desired result is achieved.

Anticipating new requirements with innovative solutions

A significant change in recycling industry is the increasingly high purity level of the sorted fractions it requires of waste sorting plants. They need this to meet their customers’ demand for high-quality recycled end-products that can compete with virgin materials on the market. Another important change is the growing demand for specialization in the sorting processes and for the ability to sort multiple materials flexibly.

STADLER has anticipated these changes and has already completed various projects that meet the new demands. The company designed and built one of the world’s first sorting plants specializing in film, the Integra Plastics plant in Sofia, Bulgaria, with a capacity of 4 tonnes/hour, sorts the fractions into HDPE, PP and LDPE and by color (transparent, blue, and green).

STADLER is also breaking new ground in achieving a textile circular economy, where current manual sorting processes are unable to meet the high-purity requirements of the recycling companies and the fashion industry. It has designed, in collaboration with TOMRA, the world’s first fully automated textile sorting plant with a capacity of 4.5 tonnes/hour in Malmö for Sysav Industri AB. The plant is part the Swedish Innovation Platform for Textile Sorting (SIPTex) government-funded project, which aims to develop a sorting solution tailored to the purity demands of textile recyclers and the garment industry.

Tailored solutions to match the customer’s specific requirements with a complete solution

STADLER takes a holistic approach to every project, analyzing the individual customer’s operational and business requirements, and developing a tailored solution that perfectly matches their needs. This is what Lars Krejberg Petersen, Dansk Retursystem CEO, found when STADLER designed and built their beverage sorting plant in Taastrup, Denmark: it is “a dedicated professional integrator capable of providing an end-to-end solution for material streams.” He was also very satisfied with the support received throughout the project: “STADLER also performed very well on the soft parameters.”

STADLER has demonstrated its ability to develop tailored solutions in numerous projects, such as the one for French waste management and recycling company Schroll. They needed to increase the capacity for sorting more fractions and their operating flexibility. STADLER designed a new sorting plant to process 80,000 tonnes of waste per year, allowing for future expansion and the addition of further fractions. It features two independent plants – one for multi-materials and one for hollow material – to provide more flexibility.

In Mexico, it joined forces with Operadora de Ferrocarril y Manejo de Rellenos (OFMRS), which specializes in final disposal for MSW, to develop a plant capable of managing comprehensive waste treatment for 16 municipalities. The project introduces a new operating model with the aim of recovering different types of recyclable packaging and materials and re-distribute them back into various production chains, as many times as possible. Crisóforo Arroyo, General Manager of the La Perseverancia landfill involved in the project: “Our decision to invest in the project with STADLER was also based on the fact that this comprehensive project was sustainable and took domestic market conditions into account. This new plant fulfils our objectives on many levels: generating a purer biogas; reducing the carbon footprint; strategic alliances with firms that recycle and transform recycled input materials into green packaging; re-distribution of recycled input materials within a circular economy.”

Building long-standing collaborations based on professional advice

In developing solutions for its customers, STADLER takes the long view. It considers their long-term needs and remains at their side, providing solutions as required when they evolve over the years. The relationship with German recycling management specialist RCS is a case in point, as explained by the company’s joint CEO Gerd Francke: “We had already purchased a ballistic separator from STADLER in 2005. Based on the good experience with their technology, we decided again to choose STADLER for a new ballistic separator in 2014.”

In 2017, they turned to STADLER again for a complete modernization of the plant: “STADLER offered us the complete package, from project planning to the construction of the modernization of the entire plant, managed and implemented by their staff,” explains Alexander Rimmer, joint CEO of the company. “We particularly appreciated their technical know-how and the support during the entire project. Their advice was flawless, and they offered us great technical experts who advised not only on the technology and processes, but also on the implementation possibilities specifically adapted to our technical requirements with good solutions to problems.”

In 2019, STADLER helped them again with a new Label Remover when they required a further upgrade to meet new requirements arising from PET bottles being increasingly packed in “full-body” sleeves. Alexander Rimmer was fully satisfied: “with the STADLER Label Remover the labels are stripped off and the PET bottles are less damaged than with other manufacturers. As a result, we can register less fine abrasion.”

All these examples highlight STADLER’ focus on anticipating the recycling sector’s evolution, detecting new requirements as they arise, and maintaining the operational flexibility to develop solutions to address them in a short timeframe. This makes it the perfect partner for recycling and waste management companies as the sector strives to achieve a circular economy. 

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