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Use of recycled material planned

Use of recycled material planned

The Schmersal Group plans to use recycled material in the manufacture of safety switchgear with plastic housings in the future. "Our goal is to use 20 percent regranulate in the switches manufactured using the injection molding process," says Matthias Banaszek, Head of Value Management / Innovation Manager at Schmersal. Initial independent analyses now show that Schmersal is well on the way to achieving this goal. The project is part of Schmersal's sustainability strategy with the aim of reducing the carbon footprint.

To ensure that the recycled material used has no influence on the quality of the safety functions, Schmersal commissioned comparative tests from the Lüdenscheid Plastics Institute. Switches made of pure new material were examined in comparison with switches consisting of 80 percent new material and 20 percent regranulate. Three different plastic materials were tested: Ultramid, Hostaform and Frianyl. The results from the Lüdenscheid Plastics Institute are now available: Regranulates made from Ultramid and Hostaform could be used immediately, but further product-related tests are required for Frianyl.

As part of the comparison tests, the Lüdenscheid Plastics Institute examined a number of parameters using standard test methods, such as the Charpy impact strength test according to DIN EN ISO 179-1, which is used to determine the ductility (or toughness) of a plastic. Or the density measurement according to DIN EN ISO 1183-1 and the volume resistance test according to IEC 60093 to describe the electrical insulation behavior. Here it was necessary to prove that switches made from mixed materials withstand adverse environmental influences just as well as those made from pure new material. This was proven for two materials.

The next step is the certification of the safety switches by TÜV. Then the way is clear for series production of the switches with regranulate content. Schmersal would thus be the first manufacturer to use recycled material in safety switches.

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