POLYMER PROCESSORS’ JOHN WILSON EXPLAINS WHY THE LATEST WEIMA POWERLINE SHREDDER IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT.
Melbourne’s Polymer Processors is one of Australia’s largest plastic recycling facilities – proudly Australian owned and operated since 1987.
According to Managing Director John Wilson Snr, the Polymer Processors story starts with plastic planter pots. “Due to a constant shortage, my father Len Wilson started making plastic pots for his nursery,” John says. “And really, it was just integrated growth that led us from the nursery, to making flower pots, and then to recycling.”
John’s father took his planter pot manufacturing to the next level when he founded Garden City Plastics (GCP) in 1975. Then, in 1987, John started Polymer Processors as a complementary business to supply GCP with recycled plastic feedstock – which it still does to this day.
In the years since, Polymer Processors has expanded its product line and customer base. Succession planning has also been established with John’s son John Jnr running day-to-day operations at the company’s headquarters in Japaddy Street, Mordialloc. It’s here that Polymer Processors is working on the next stage of a major expansion, for which it has partnered with CEMAC Technologies, the Australian distributor for European recycling equipment brands including EREMA, SOREMA, WESTERIA, and WEIMA.
EQUIPPED FOR SUCCESS
With Australia’s ban on the export of plastic waste, Polymer Processors – with the support of the Federal Government’s Circular Economy – Recycling Modernisation Fund – has invested in new recycling machinery to further enhance its reprocessing capacity and divert waste from landfill. John says that with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, Polymer Processors has learned that buying equipment from cheaper, lesser known brands is a “false economy”. “CEMAC knows this, and they only supply high-quality European equipment,” he says. “And due to their quality and reliability, the premium for these trusted brands will be offset by savings in the long run, with less downtime and maintenance issues.”
This focus on reliability was key for the first stage of Polymer Processors’ latest expansion project – commissioned in September last year - which included SOREMA, EREMA, WESTERIA, and WEIMA technology. A German-made WEIMA Powerline 2000 shredder was a crucial part of this set-up, and Polymer Processors will soon add a larger Powerline 2500 as part of the second stage of its expansion. The new WEIMA shredder will be a key piece of a new purpose-built factory, which will also house a new WESTERIA conveyor system and an EREMA extruder – all supplied by CEMAC.
The Powerline 2500 is a single-shaft shredder powered by a 250-kilowatt hydraulic drive train. It features an 800-millimetre rotor diameter, and is controllable via a Siemens S7 PLC control system for maximum ease of use. With a high solid dead weight, the PowerLine Rotor requires less torque for shredding, and an external swing ram allows for a more aggressive material feed, as well as easier maintenance.
Angled counter knives are easily adjustable from the outside, and designed for quick and easy replacement when worn. John says the WEIMA shredders’ hydraulic drive is a big part of their appeal.
“Hydraulic is more expensive, but much more powerful,” he says. “If overfilled, they automatically reverse without the maintenance issues caused from belts slipping. If blockages do occur, WEIMA shredders are set up to make unblocking them quick and easy.
“You can unblock the machine in 15 minutes – something that might otherwise have taken days. And if that shredder is hooked up to a whole line, that sort of downtime is very expensive.”
John expects the higher-capacity Powerline 2500 to help optimise operations even further, by essentially doing the work of two machines
“We’re not pairing the 2500 with a granulator,” he says. “By using a larger shredder with smaller screens, it’s doing the work of both. This means less energy consumed, and less labour required as larger quantities of material can be thrown in, freeing up operators for other duties, like housekeeping.” John says the Polymer Processors team has been impressed by CEMAC’s professional approach.
“They identify your needs and supply the right equipment,” he says. “Their hands-on assistance from start to finish has been commendable.”
This article featured in the March 2023 edition of Waste Management Review