Europe’s Largest PET Recycler
Wellman International is Europe’s largest PET recycler, processing 2.2 billion post-consumer PET bottles annually. It is also Europe’s leading producer of high quality polyester staple fibres.
The development of new novel PET based formulations for Wellman International, which will (i) Reduce cost; (ii) Add functionally and (iii) Utilise sustainable materials. Melt processing trials on the recyclate materials utilising a number of different additives will be carried out to improve fibre properties. Formulation and development trials will include the incorporation of various viscosity modifiers, novel fillers, reinforcing agents and other sustainable materials
European leader across multiple polymer and fibre types
1. The lab scale melt spinning line in AIT played a very important role in Wellman R&D. It allowed Wellman International to greatly enhance its R&D capabilities, and trial large numbers of new formulations.
1. Lab scale melt spinning line allowed the research team to hit the ground running and begin immediately to trial new formulations for Wellman International.
2. Various processing parameters (melt temperature, screw speed, residence time, mixing efficiency, pressure, extent of shear mixing and shear heating, etc.) were investigated and optimised during this melt processing study.
1. Trial runs at the Irish plant were often carried out on the manufacturing scale lines which is very costly because of (1) the volume of materials that are required and (2) production on the manufacturing line had to be halted to allow the R&D run.
2. AIT’s lab scale processing equipment allowed new novel formulations to be developed, trialled and tested at lab scale prior to undergoing full scale manufacture. This reduced lead-times and costs.
3. Provided Wellman with innovative polymer materials solutions that will make the company more internationally competitive
1. Wellman will be able to tailor the performance of its PET fibre for a very wide variety of new end-user applications.
2. The research provided Wellman International a competitive edge by supporting the development of new low cost, high-performance and eco-friendly sustainable product ranges.
Europe’s Largest PET recycler
Years in Business
APT Technology Gateway and Wellman International Ltd partnership:
Wellman were provided with innovative polymer materials solutions that will make the company more internationally competitive. Various processing parameters (melt temperature, screw speed, residence time, mixing efficiency, pressure) were investigated and optimised during this melt processing study. It allowed Wellman International to greatly enhance its R&D capabilities, and trial large numbers of new formulations. The company are currently in a position where lab scale processing can be performed using developed novel formulations. AIT’s lab scale processing equipment allowed new novel formulations to be developed, trialled and tested prior to undergoing full scale manufacture. New knowledge and know-how was generated allowing Wellman International to greatly enhance its R&D capabilities, and trial large numbers of new formulations.
“The expertise, knowledge and facilities available to Wellman International through the Applied Polymer Technologies gateway, and in particular through this recent IPP, has allowed us to optimise and refine our research concepts and has enabled Wellman to pursue and produce new innovative products”
James Campbell , Head of Product Development, Wellman International Ltd.
The Technology Gateway Network delivers innovation expertise to industry across Ireland. It is run by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Institutes of Technology.
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