A radical new programme for saving energy and associated cost in plastics processing is now underway in
Thousands of European plastics processors will be invited to take part in a benchmarking survey this year. The plastics processing industry will also be invited to assist in the development of an ‘energy manager’s toolkit’ and in developing a cost-of-ownership model for plastics processing equipment. The RECIPE initiative was established by the Faraday Plastics and Polymers Partnership and will be administered by Rapra Technology, a European polymer research and test house.
Rebecca Dolbey, project leader, says ‘the overall objective of the proposed action is to provide the European plastics processing industry with the knowledge, justification and tools required to reduce energy consumption, through the implementation of best practice, and the adoption of new technology.’
Dolbey adds that ‘there are more than 27,000 companies in the EU that specialise in plastics processing, employing around one million people, many in small and medium sized enterprises. Every one of these enterprises has the potential to save energy, and thus reduce or contain their energy bill.’
Plastics processing is a well documented consumer of electricity for motors and drives, heating, cooling, and lighting. However, there is currently a tendency to view energy costs as fixed overheads. A key aim of the proposed new RECIPE programme will be to alter this perception, and to demonstrate that energy purchase should be considered as a variable materials cost, with substantial potential for reductions to be made.
Many of RECIPE’s target companies are processing substantial volumes of commodity materials, for applications in highly cost-driven markets such as packaging, domestic goods, and construction. They are currently facing intense competition from lower wage economies, as well as significant increases in the prices they pay for energy.
RECIPE research has shown that if it were possible to reduce energy consumption across plastics processing in
Rapra and Faraday Plastics’ partners in the project include the BPF, who bring to the consortium their experience in providing best practice guidance to