Quality standards for plastic granulate - because not all plastics are the same

The Eiffel Tower weighs around 10,100 tons. That's about the equivalent of 1,300 elephants. Can you imagine how much weight the mass of 822,000 Eiffel Towers can carry?

The material of infinite possibilities

Plastic and the plastic granulate used to manufacture it are the materials of the 21st century. Along with steel and cement, they are among the substances most commonly used and produced by humans. And demand is rising steadily. Whether packaging industry or construction industry, automotive industry or logistics industry, they all need plastic for their daily business. It is subjected to all kinds of stress tests, which can test its service life to the extreme. This makes it more important for manufacturers of plastic granulate to comply with corresponding quality standards.

With its infinite design possibilities and its high innovation potential, plastic granulate has developed considerably in recent years and made great strides towards resource-efficient production. And that is important because plastic granulate is made from crude oil, among other materials. As a finite resource, responsible handling of this material and the associated highest quality standards are particularly important. Particularly in view of the fact that the demand for plastics has risen steadily in recent years and that there is no sign of a decline in this area, it is absolutely essential for quality processors to use only high-quality plastic granulate.

Whether polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC or polycarbonate, the selection of plastics is huge. There are several different varieties of each species, which in turn are suitable for a wide variety of products. Because every type of plastic has its own unique application. Conversely, this means that not every plastic can be optimally processed into every product. For example, mobile phone cases require a very flexible plastic, industrial containers a particularly break-proof, robust and durable plastic. Drinking bottles and bread cans require the processing of plastic that has no negative effects on food and can be used without plasticizers. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is therefore particularly suitable for the latter. This type of plastic is not only virtually unbreakable and therefore very resilient, but also has very good barrier properties and is tasteless.

In the automotive industry, on the other hand, polycarbonate plays a major role. This is used in particular in the manufacture of bumpers. Its advantages are high strength and temperature resistance. Due to its high compressive strength, polycarbonate makes a decisive contribution to the safety of a vehicle. A great plastic - at least for the production of cars. For example, polycarbonate is not suitable for the manufacture of industrial containers that are used in large warehouses. Polypropylene is used instead. With its robust properties, this type of plastic is one of the most frequently used types. It offers both the stiffness required to prevent fragility and high impact strength. Polypropylene is the second most important plastic, accounting for around 20 % of total production. More than a third of all synthetic fibers are manufactured on the basis of polypropylene - this gives it a decisive value for industrial production, as its properties guarantee compliance with the highest quality standards.

Quality before quantity

Important with regard to the quality standards of plastic granulate is the compliance with tolerances, for example with regard to impact strength, stiffness, resistance, etc. Here it is recommended to rely on granulates that come from Europe and have already been produced under the best conditions. A good quality product also requires a good starting material. This applies above all to the logistics sector. Plastic containers in particular are often exposed to high loads here. Only high-quality products in which the plastic best suited for the application has been used can withstand this for a long time and generate a good price-performance ratio - an important factor for the profitability of a company.

Anyone who relies on products such as storage containers made of plastic that is optimally suited to them gets a product that offers maximum product safety and at the same time low material consumption in production. But not all plastics are the same. In addition to the production location of plastic granulate, the composition of the plastic also determines the quality of the subsequent product. It has a decisive effect on how ecological the plastic really is in the end. And that in the truest sense of the word. If a product made of plastic granulate reaches the end of its life cycle, the decision is made about its ecological footprint - keyword: recycling. Despite all the progress made in production and processing, not all plastics are suitable for recycling. For this reason, one should focus on particularly robust plastic products with a long product life cycle. This is not only more efficient for your company in the long term, but also more sustainable for the environment.

A life after life

Despite unlimited application possibilities, the life and service life of products made of plastic granulate does not last forever. A fact that even the highest quality standards cannot shake. Whether as insulation in buildings, as part of a car, as packaging or as containers in the warehouses of many companies - at some point the life of every plastic product will be over. What counts now is its potential for further processing, i.e. recycling. And the foundation stone for this has already been laid during production by the plastic granulate used.

As long as a product consists of only one type of plastic, it is easy to recycle. However, if additional plasticizers, coatings or the like are added, recycling becomes a difficult and usually costly business. In order to clarify this question, you can inquire directly with the manufacturers whether plastic products can be recycled and thus processed into regranulate. Make sure that the products are marked with a recycling symbol. For reasons of traceability, the production batch should also be identifiable, e.g. by an imprinted date clock. This in turn improves the ecological balance of the product and protects the environment.

The application determines the properties

Not all plastics are the same, that much is certain. This applies in particular to the requirements that a plastic product has to meet in the industrial sector, and especially in the logistics sector. Here, special properties are required that a product should have. If very high temperatures prevail in a warehouse or in a truck, the plastic storage containers must be able to withstand them. They must not deform or lose anything in terms of the safe storage of goods. The same applies to deep-freeze warehouses in which very low temperatures prevail. Here the containers made of plastic granulate must have no defects in their fracture stability.

Also important is the compatibility with the goods stored in them - for example food - as well as impact resistance, resilience and easy handling in all logistical work. In order for a product to meet these requirements at all, the processed plastic is decisive. These should be best adapted to the application. This is the only way to create a product that can meet all the requirements for working in the warehouse. And this is exactly where the circle closes: The basis for a high-quality product lies in the choice of the right plastic.

A product with a future

Despite all the advantages, there are still critics of the use of plastic. Plastics, such as polypropylene or polyethylene, are ideally suited to protect the environment through the use of reusable products. For example, reusable containers have a very long service life, replacing hundreds if not thousands of disposable cartons - an important factor in environmental protection and resource conservation.

Fotoquelle Titelbild: © diak/shutterstock.com

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