PR: Is this a new machine?
DI: It’s a machine that Lindner has made for around 20 years but it has had a total redesign. Basically, the company has made the high-performance drives available on the Micromat - it’s redesigned the entire chassis, which improves the maintenance access and cuts the downtime of the machinery. And it’s used a new quick-fix system for holding the chassis together, which we believe is a first in the industry.
PR: Why were those things altered?
DI: For a variety of reasons. One is to try to reduce the cost of the machine; another is health and safety with operator ergonomics - that is basically why the chassis got the redesign - to make the machine safer to work on for maintenance procedures. The different drive systems allow for a much broader range of material to be shredded in the same basic chassis of machine.
PR: Are there three types of drive system?
DI: Yes. The first two are the ‘basic’, which is for plastic, and ‘performance’, for small grained shredding of clean production waste.
PR: What’s that for?
DI: The plastic production sector, which makes plastic products, can recycle its polymers. But first of all it has got to get them down to a small size. The machine can run at quite a high speed and get the material to a small size, allowing companies to reintroduce it to their core plastic granules at the beginning of the production process.
Micromats can be used as universal shredders, but we aim it towards the plastic market - that’s the market we’re interested in above all others at the moment.
The third type of drive is for a ‘contaminated’ plastic stream, where it is not as clean as it should be. Perhaps there is a chance of stone aggregates or metal getting in, and this drive allows the machine to perform better while protecting itself.
PR: Was the original designed for plastics?
DI: It was, yes.
PR: Where did the redesign come from?
DI: What the R&D team at Lindner has learned in the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) market, with the Power Komet and Jupiter machines, it has brought into a smaller range of kit, and this is mainly the access to the working parts of the shredding machine.
PR: How does this vary from other Lindner machines?
DI: It’s a totally different knife system. This is more a standard single-shaft shredder - it operates with a hydraulic ram device, which is now fully internal, which stops the dust escaping and bits of material falling down the side of the machine into the drives. This is a patented Lindner technology.
We have different knife systems: the Komet knife system is almost like a ‘flat bar’ system across the rotor in five to six knife rows and it cuts against another knife system, almost like a scissor. On the Micromat, we have the choice of pointed or square knives, which cut into or against a dead knife, which is a fixed knife plate in the chassis of the machine.
PR: When would you choose each kind of knife system?
DI: Large bulky plastic waste, in the conventional single-shaft shredder with the single knives, can cut what we call a profile. So even if you’ve got a hydraulic ram device in there, it gets to a point where it is pushing the material against a profile of the knife and the dead knife, so it is not shredding as economically as it could be. It takes too much time and ends up shaving the materials instead of grinding it.
With the square knife, you can put two different sizes of square knife on and that allows the material to be agitated constantly within the cutting chamber, and that agitation means we can improve the throughput. On the pointed knife system we also have the opportunity to use two or three different sizes of knife, which again opens up the machine to a more varied range of applications.
PR: When did the redesign happen?
DI: It was at the planning stage 12 months ago, and we brought the first of these machines into the country on 21 December 2010, which went into a plastics recycling company in Nelson, near Burnley. It’s going to be active on a range of plastics, from nylon to films to HDPE, LDPE at different times. Test units have been out at customers local to our colleagues in Austria, so the R&D team has had access to them for the past 12 months to make sure everything is operating as expected.
PR: Who would buy these? If you had an original, would you buy the upgrade?
DI: If a company was looking at running a second machine then, yes, we would expect them to move towards the new one. We are aiming these machines at the plastics industry, but we also have the old machine working on wood and leather. The original has been sold a lot for RDF in former Eastern Bloc countries.
But on RDF they are a quite a low-volume machine: you can only get 2.5 tonnes an hour out of them, whereas from the Power Komet you can get 10-12 tonnes an hour. Basically, the old machine is available in the short term but it will be discontinued and the new one will take its place.
PR: Has it had a good reception?
DI: So far, it’s had a fantastic reception. We are going to bring one over to the RWM show this year, and we are also going to have one in-house at our Littleborough premises, so anybody ho is interested can bring their material and put the machine through its paces. But it will be a few months before that’s going to be in the UK.
TRENDWATCH: THE VISION FROM MACHTECH
By Philip Reynolds
Machtech says the recession has had little effect, and it has been able to take on staff and move to new premises. Part of the
reason for this has been the high level of demand for the Lindner Komet shredder during the past 12-18 months, for which it is a UK agent.
PR: What type of customers have been buying the Komet?
Machtech: Waste management companies. We have started to see a shift in the past three months as to who we’re getting enquiries from. Originally we were looking at independent waste management companies, who were shredding down to 35mm RDF flock. It was going to export, to the cement kilns in Portugal and Spain, or to the Cemex cement kiln in the UK, but we’re seeing a slight shift in that now.
But they seem to be near capacity, and now we are getting quite a high volume of enquiries from Sita, Veolia, Viridor and Biffa, so the really big players are starting to show a lot more interest in producing RDF. Shanks was the first - it has been doing it for a number of years in east London, and has got Lindner machinery in there.
We’ve always struggled to get our name in front of the multinational waste companies, but that seems to be occurring now, which is obviously very exciting for us.
PR: Why did you struggle?
Machtech: Because of the nature of the business. Five years ago, we were three blokes working with a van, a tool set and basically just repairing second-hand machinery, doing service and maintenance work.
With the way the industry has changed in that time, with the amount of investment being made in this big capital equipment to produce RDF, we sort of rolled on the crest of a wave.
What we have put in place during that two to three years has really pushed us on to be recognised as one of the major players in shredding machinery in the UK. Having the Lindner brand as well has obviously not done us any harm at all.
PR: So is RDF the future?
Machtech: It is certainly going to be a big part of it, and we are seeing a bit of a change in the enquiries from smaller companies. For the past two years, everyone has looked at 30mm RDF for the cement kilns but now we are seeing a lot of enquiries for 10-15mm for gasification, pyrolysis and so on.
We’re also seeing a big increase in people looking for anywhere between 85-150mm for fluid bed incineration, although we have also heard of people baling that waste and exporting it to the Iberian peninsula for shredding down to produce 30mm RDF, so it changes on a daily basis.
TRENDWATCH: THE VIEW FROM MELTOG
By Andrea Lockerbie
Meltog managing director Julian Heyworth points to three key trends he has seen as a manufacturer of shredding equipment: the move of companies to maximise the amount of material they can reprocess and recycle, the growth of the organics processing market, and the move of the traditional waste management market from just waste reduction towards recycling materials.
He explains: “The overall markets we are selling into are changing, primarily because of the focus people are now taking, which is towards recycling rather than volume reduction. So, as a manufacturer, we are having to bring new technology into the system to work at getting more potential sizes from the material that the sorting systems can deal with.
“There is also a drive towards efficiency. So, whereas previously you would have one shredder for one task, now the market is looking for multi-tasking shredders. There is a shift and that is requiring us to bring more technology to what we do, and bring in smarter technology.
“We have also seen a tremendous amount of growth on biomass and bio-type applications, which have come to the fore in the past three to four years. Now this technology is starting to mature and people are starting to see the benefits of the systems. We have been working with a range of companies on this sort of technology, from single large farms to co-operatives and blue-chip companies.”
Heyworth explains that around half of Meltog’s client base covers those looking to gain more value from waste material and recover the constituent materials for recycling; around a quarter cover the security shredding market (paper, discs and uniforms); and a further quarter cover the more traditional market, of clients needing to reduce the volume of material
to cut their disposal costs.
Have his customers changed in profile? “There is still a cross-section, but our customers are now much more savvy in terms of what they need. I think that is to do with the fact that there is much more information out there now, so they are more discerning and have a better idea of what they want, compared with five years ago.”
Heyworth sees the use of more intelligent technology, such as equipment that will alter its speed and so cut the amount of power it uses depending on how much or what material it is processing as the way the industry is moving in the future.