When you’re in the business of making goods made from recycled plastic scrap, the quality of your base material is paramount. The purity of the plastic resin that you’re using is a direct product of the quality control measures your plastics supplier is implementing in their workflow. So, how do you know that your plastics supplier is providing you with a clean plastic resin? What kind of equipment should they have to aid in production of clean resins?

At KW Plastics, our lab and testing facilities are ISO-IEC 17025:2005 accredited and we take quality control very seriously in order to provide superior resins. Today we’ll talk about some of the equipment necessary to ensure quality standards are met during the resin production process. The following equipment and technology can aid in testing the mechanical, physical, and chemical properties of polymers to ensure quality resins.

Melt Flow and Moisture Meters

Knowing the melt flow rate and moisture content of broken down plastic scrap is integral in determining the material’s molecular weight and performance abilities. Having the melt flow index dialed in appropriately will ensure the polymer flows properly once melted, which is key for the extrusion process. Commonly used in the plastic scrap sorting process, excess moisture may stick around once the plastic scrap is melted down. In instances where there is excessive moisture amounts in recycled plastics, coloration, impact-resistance, and tensile strength can be negatively impacted. Because the melt flow and moisture content are so critical to producing a quality resin, melt indexers and tools to analyze moisture are vital in testing the physical and mechanical properties of recycled plastics.

Material Compliance Technology

In the plastics recycling industry, there are certain materials that can render a polymer contaminated for certain applications. Some of these may include lead, chromium, mercury, chlorine, and certain flame retardants. With the assistance of an x-ray fluorescence analyzer, plastic scrap recyclers have the ability to determine the chemical makeup of a material in a non-destructive manner, ensuring there are no undesirable components in the plastic. Likewise, plastic recyclers should perform testing to determine molecular overtones and density of an item to determine how clean a polymer is. When a plastics recycler has completed this testing method and others, it will typically include the results rendered in compliance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Controlled Heat Source and Tensile Testing Machine

An oven or other controlled heat source is another very important part of the polymer quality control process so that filler content of the resin can be determined. Certain applications will allow for more filler than others, and there is typically a maximum level of filler tolerated in samples. In this testing procedure, the polymer is burned off through a very specific process which results in ash residue remaining. Any remaining residue is considered filler and is generally reported in terms of a percentage. If your manufacturing application requires a specific amount of filler, you’ll want to review the spec sheet for the chosen polymer or resin to make sure it has been tested and reported on properly. In addition to ash content, it is important to review a recycled plastic sample’s strength while under tension. When completed in accordance with ASTM D638, this is a common and reliable means of determining the strength, durability, and load cell capacities of plastics. This is a very important factor to report for buyers who require a specific amount of tensile strength in their manufactured recycled plastic good.

At KW Plastics, we take plastic scrap and transform it into clean plastic resins that our buyers can rely on. We provide technical data sheets on all of our postconsumer recycled plastics so that you always know what you’re purchasing. To view our lab certificate of accreditation, click here and then contact our sales team today to get started.

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