What we do

At Healix we help breaking the plastic wave by creating a circular future for plastic fiber waste. We transform used ropes and nets from fishing and farming to virgin-like polymers for the global manufacturing supply chain. By keeping plastic in the economy, we keep it out of the environment.

We are convinced it is possible to change our industry for the sake of a more sustainable future and are determined to make significant a positive impact and sparkle change.

PREPARATION

From the storage location, the material enters the recycling process. To allow for space-efficient transport most waste materials are pressed into bales or transported in bulk packaging. As the process requires a continuous and homogeneous feed of loose material with a limited thickness the dense bales and bulk packages are first broken apart. This also allows for inspection of the individual contents of the incoming bulk packages. The bulk material is loaded into a loader-feeder platform that takes care of dumping the material into the feed hopper. In the feed hopper, the bales are broken up and fed to the conveyer belt that transports the material to the chopper/cutting equipment. Loading the incoming material onto the conveyer belt can also be done manually, yet this takes a considerable amount of human handling.

Since post-consumer waste can be heavily contaminated with organic waste as example marine fouling, soil/sand, grass, and other non-plastic waste, a first pre-cleaning and sorting step is conducted prior to feeding the material to the shredder and subsequently to the washing process. Pre-cleaning and sorting at an early stage in the process have advantages. Firstly it removes contamination that could otherwise lead to increased wear and abrasion of the cutter/chopper knives and components. Secondly it reduces to amount of contamination that is released to the water in the washing step of the process. This reduces the efforts for water purification and reduces the ‘wet’ waste streams, called sludge.

After the pre-sorting/cleaning the product has to be reduced in size. Especially relevant for long fibrous materials like twines, yarns, and ropes as these can cause problems further downstream in the process when not sufficiently shredded. In addition, reduced particle size often results in a better surface/volume ratio, hence easier to clean.

CLEANING

Once the material has been sorted and chopped into smaller particles it can be transferred to the cleaning segment of the recycling line. There are many different techniques and methods of cleaning, each having its own unique features and benefits. Overall the goal is to remove and extract all contamination, (organic and non-organic) that is attached to the plastic particles and entrapped within the fibrous plastic waste.

The use of resources during the process is equally important, minimizing water consumption can be achieved by means of purifying water. By doing so the water cleaning process can be made a closed loop. This is a crucial feature as it pertains to the mission of contributing to the environment.

For materials that are consisting out of an assembly of different low-diameter fibers, like e.g. ropes, nets, and textiles, there is a high likelihood that contamination is entrapped between the individual filaments or in the remaining construction of the assembly. After mechanically washing the product structure and adherence are further destroyed, this allows entrapped particles to be released. To remove these released particles from the product stream, separation is required. With different separation methods, the main material can be isolated from the rest. The post-cleaned material is then transferred, via a buffer storage, to the compounding section of the production line where it will be further processed

PLASTIC EXTRUSION

Plastic extrusion is a high-volume manufacturing process in which raw plastic is melted and formed into a continuous profile. This process starts by feeding the cleaned and dried fiber from the buffer storage to a hopper into the barrel of the extruder (1,2). The material is gradually melted by the mechanical energy generated by extruder screws (3) and by heaters arranged along the barrel. In this process, the melt passes the melt filter and is then degassed (6) in order to extract unwanted gasses that are formed during the melting process. The molten polymer is then forced into a die and pelletizer unit (8), which shapes the polymer into a shape that hardens during cooling.

For optimal transport and processing of the recycled material by the customers, small-sized plastic pellets are preferred over long, semi-continuous, polymer extrusions. Therefore pelletizing plays an important role in the recycling process. For pelletizing the extruded polymer melt emerging from the holes in the heated pelletizer die face is cut off by rotating knives (2). The pellets are flung outward by the centrifugal force into a rotating water ring (3). This cools the pellets and transports them via a flexible discharge channel to the pellet water removal screen (4). The pellets pass through the oversize particle separator to the drying centrifuge.

The produced pellets are then conveyed in a stream of air through a transport duct/conveyer to the silo or bagging station. Here bags are filled accordingly. From there the bags are labeled, stacked on pallets, and transferred to a temporary storage location (preferably on-side) prior to shipment. 

Transforming linear economies into circular economies

The world's population is growing and therefor the demand for plastic rises. Extracting and using raw materials like crude oil has a major impact on the environment. It also increases energy consumption and CO2 emissions. However, a smarter use of raw materials can lower CO2 emissions.

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its life, its materials are kept within the economy wherever possible. These can be productively used again and again, thereby creating further value.

This is a departure from the traditional, linear economic model, which is based on a take-make-consume-throw away pattern. This model relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy
Moving towards a more circular economy delivers benefits such as reducing pressure on the environment, improving the security of the supply of raw materials, increasing competitiveness, stimulating innovation, boosting economic growth (an additional 0.5% of gross domestic product), creating jobs (700,000 jobs in the EU alone by 2030).

Healix is determined to transform the linear fiber economy into a circular economy!

to top