Unifi expands capacity to turn PET bottles into recycled fibers

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  • New bottle processing plant will produce 75 million pounds of recycled PET materials
  • Company slects AMUT for PET washing plant
  • Patented dry de-labeling system to remove shrink sleeve wraps

Unifi Inc. selected equipment makers AMUT SpA and Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) to provide the technology for a $25 million expansion that will increase its capacity to turn PET bottles into recycled fibers for apparel and automotive products.
The investment is being made at Unifi’s facility in Reidsville, N.C.

AMUT PET processing plant

Patented dry de-labeling system to remove shrink sleeve wraps

AMUT will design, build and assemble a new PET washing plant. Unifi will use AMUT’s patented dry de-labeling system to remove the shrink sleeve wraps from the post-consumer bottles. “This is to give them total vertical integration of the process,” says Anthony Georges, President of AMUT North America, also noting that label removal is an important step in the processing of bales of municipal waste.

Front-end PET purification system with nine optical sorters

BHS will design, manufacture and install a front-end PET purification system with nine optical sorters by National Recovery Technologies, which is part of the BHS Group. The system also will feature the latest in screens and air-sorting technology. BHS says the system will process 22,000 pounds of baled materials per hour by removing the non-PET content and preparing the PET for the conversion from bottles to flake. The flake is used to make Unifi’s Repreve line of polyester yarns and fibers, which go into product brands like Haggar, Ford and Quicksilver.

Since 2009, Unifi has recycled more than 4 billion plastic bottles into Repreve-based products. The new bottle processing plant will produce about 75 million pounds of recycled PET materials when it begins operation in June 2016.

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