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[Case Study: Martogg] NIR Plastic Flake Sorting Takes Quality Control To New Levels

[Case Study: Martogg] NIR Plastic Flake Sorting Takes Quality Control To New Levels

[Case Study: Martogg] NIR Plastic Flake Sorting Takes Quality Control To New Levels

TELFORD SMITH is helping to future-proof plastic manufacturers as they enter a new era of recycling.


Long before China banned the import of most plastics, and Australia’s 2025 National Packaging Targets were set, Martogg Group was adding value to waste.

The Melbourne-based company, established in 1975, has been recycling plastic waste into resin for remanufacture since the very early days. In 2016 Martogg introduced its first polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling line using Vacurema technology. 

 Since then, Martogg has continued to invest in increased capacity and new technologies to improve its product offering to the market, and support increased demand. The installation of a Telford Smith Bag to Bag flake purifying line incorporating Sesotec Flake Purifier+ is opening new opportunities to higher quality food-grade recycled PET. 

Austen Ramage, Martogg Group Manager for Sustainability, says the need for recycled PET will gain importance as Australia aims to reach 2025 National Packaging Targets. One of which is a 30 per cent recycled content target in plastic packaging items. 

 He says one of the biggest considerations for a brand moving to recycled products is maintaining the quality and integrity of their packaging. The Sesotec Flake Purifier+ plays a crucial role in ensuring consistency and quality of the recycled resin, allowing use at up to 100 per cent of recycled content back into fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) applications.

“A lot of brand owners are looking to incorporate recycled content for the first time, and for some it can be daunting. The use of pre-sorting enables the incorporation by brands of a higher quality and more consistent product,” he says.

“Moving forward, to ensure we are reaching these targets and consuming plastic in a circular manner, recycled content will become critical back into as many applications as possible. And using machinery, like our Telford Smith Bag to Bag flake purifying line, is not only important to us, but also our customers and ultimately the environment because it stops plastic from entering landfill.”

The Sesotec Flake Purifier+ is rated at 3000 kilograms per hour and can process granulated flakes of PET for Martogg’s marPET resin as well as other polymers such as HDPE (high density poly ethylene) and PP (polypropylene). 

The flakes are hung in bulk bags in an unloading station and pneumatically conveyed to a pre cleaner for separation of dust and labels. The majority of contamination is usually in the small/large fractions, and so a classifier then separates flakes that are larger than 14mm and smaller than 3mm from the material. 

The classified ‘good’ flakes are conveyed to the Sesotec Flake Purifier+ which is fitted with three sensors to detect colour, shape, polymer type and metallic objects.

If contamination is detected by a sensor, the purifier will use precise air valves positioned every 3.2mm to reject the contamination to off-specification. Sorted flake is then transported to a bagging station for loading into bulk bags. 

The bagging station has scales for inline weighing of the finished product and for precise bag changes and data recording. The full system is controlled by a programable logic controller with full colour HDMI touch screen.

plastic flake The results have been so impressive that Martogg is now using the line for multiple applications. 

Austen says that Telford Smith has a long history and decades of experience in the plastics industry, but it’s not just this Flake Purifying Line that attracted Martogg.

“It’s a massive plus that they’re based in Australia,” he says. “If you want to talk to them, you’re not just sending an email inquiry, you can meet with them, have a coffee and talk about your requirements.

“Telford Smith will work with you from the start, walking through machinery specifications to assist with what’s going to be required as far as placement and auxiliary services. With this project, Telford Smith identified what we needed all the way from ‘Bag to Bag’, tailoring the complete line to our requirements and then assisted with installation.”

Austen says the flake purifying system is “one of the best investments” that Martogg has made, in terms of improving the quality of its recycled raw materials.

“The next few years will be interesting as Australia works towards a more robust plastics recycling industry locally.”

He says educating consumers about their decisions is as important as changing how plastics are made.

“We are very visual consumers so if something doesn’t look right, we won’t pick it up off the shelf. That’s why this installation has been instrumental in maintaining the quality of our product. 

“We want to be the leading food-grade rPET resin supplier here in Australia. So, anything we can do to improve the quality of what we’re producing is good for us and great for our customers. Sesotec is globally recognised as one of the leading sorting machinery manufacturers and Telford Smith had a thorough understanding of the in-feed, separation and bagging off requirements to complete the process. Going with them was an easy decision.”  

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