Innovation from Dresden: Injection molding systems for recycling old plastics

Dipl.-Ing Franziska Seidel, Managing Director of CKT-Ökoplast GmbH, and Volker Reichert, Managing Director of A&E Produktionstechnik GmbH, jointly develop innovative products and processes | / picture: Guido Werner

At the 18th Central German Innovation Prize, three second places went to companies from Saxony. A&E Produktionstechnik GmbH from Dresden was there. With its development of injection molding systems for the recycling of old plastic, the company, in cooperation with CTK-Ökoplast, is bucking the throwaway trend.

With the competition, the European metropolitan region of Central Germany is promoting innovative products, services and processes to increase competitiveness and innovation in Central Germany. “IQ” stands for innovation quotient. Accordingly, the joy at A&E Production Technology was great about the 2nd place at the 18th Innovation Prize Central Germany. “We are delighted with the success, as the award shows us that we are on the right track with our products and processes,” says Managing Director Volker Reichert. “Many everyday plastic parts, but also in medicine and industry, are manufactured using the injection molding process. For this purpose, plastic melts are injected into a shaping tool and removed after cooling. So far, hardly any old plastic has been used in this process because disposal was more economical than recycling. With our development of injection molding systems for the recycling of old plastic, we are countering the throwaway trend in cooperation with CKT-Ökoplast,” explains Reichert.

Process reduces the carbon footprint of plastic molded parts

With the process, two different melts are injected one after the other in one cycle – first new plastic, then old plastic – through a nozzle into the mold. This results in molded parts with a skin-core structure, in which the old plastic is completely surrounded by the new plastic. The proportion of waste plastics in these molded parts can be up to 60%. By using old instead of new plastic, the CO2 footprint of the plastic molded parts is greatly reduced.

In the cooperation between the two companies, which submitted the innovation together, the process will be further optimized and new applications will be developed for it. In times of scarce resources, they are in great demand and, with every product produced, ensure that waste plastics from packaging, electrical and other applications are recycled economically.