Innovating a Sustainable Future with Polydeck's Landmark Advancement
In the continued evolution of the mining industry, the call for sustainable solutions and technological advancements have never been more urgent. Today, we are proud to announce an exciting achievement in our sustainability efforts —our foray into developing our first-ever 100% recycled modular synthetic screen panel.
Navigating Regulatory and Environmental Imperatives
As the march towards sustainability gains pace, industries worldwide find themselves grappling with increasingly strict mandates regarding recycling and waste reduction. While these mandates certainly present challenges, they also present opportunities to break new ground in the pursuit of new technologies to propel the mining industry into the future.
Operationalizing Innovation: The Journey and Partnership
Turning this vision into reality was no small feat and involved a collaborative effort across multiple operations and departments within Polydeck. One of the keys to success was the partnership with a strategic customer who is also focused on being a sustainability leader within the industry. This collaboration involved the collection of the customer’s previously used Polydeck panels, which were then sent to Polydeck for initial processing and to lay the groundwork for being recycled.
Ryan Johnson, VP of Product and Customer Solutions, and Matthew Freissle, Regional Business Development Manager, have been working closely together to head the initiative and expands upon the R&D process:
- Material Reclamation: The first hurdle was developing a specialized cleaning procedure aimed at returning the used panels to a state ready for reprocessing.
- Material Segregation: The second hurdle was figuring out a process to separate the polyurethane from the steel insert. Cleaned panels had to be shredded, necessitating an advanced, high-precision sorting process to separate usable ground materials from extraneous debris.
- Molded Nylon Insert: To be considered truly 100% recycled, a molded insert made from recycled nylon was used.
- Subsequent Debris Filtration: As a final checkpoint, additional filtration and cleaning techniques were utilized to guarantee the utmost purity of the recycled material.
The Thermoplastic Differentiator
The feasibility of this initiative hinged on one vital component—our use of thermoplastic polymers in our screen media. Many screen media manufacturers use cast urethane, a thermosetting polymer that cannot be re-melted and re-formed.
Holistic Sustainability: From Surface to Core
Our focus on sustainability extends beyond the reuse of polyurethane. The support insert in this innovative recycled panel is also sourced entirely from recycled materials, making the panel truly 100% recycled.
Validation of Durability
Preliminary laboratory testing data show that the recycled panel demonstrates durability levels similar to panels constructed from virgin materials. These findings suggest there is potential for the screen media (and potentially other products) to perform in certain wear applications without sacrificing performance.
Conclusion: An Unwavering Commitment to Sustainable Innovation
The development of this process has proven that Polydeck can manufacture molded products from recycled material and opens the door for additional products made from recycled material in the future.
This groundbreaking initiative represents more than an instance of innovation; it is a testament to Polydeck’s dedication to developing technologies that shape the future of mining.
Disclaimer: it is important to remember this is an undertaking in technology development. While we are extremely proud of this technological leap, it should be noted that these recycled panels are not currently ready for commercial distribution.