According to Rampf Ecosystems, the loss of valuable raw materials and high disposal costs resulting from PU flexible foam waste materials in production processes are now a thing of the past. Thanks to the acidolysis process, developed by the company in 1999, it has even been possible since April 2012 to recover polyols industrially from flexible slabstock foams and flexible moulded foams. [image_0] Since the start of 2012, Rampf Ecosystems has been recycling large quantities from renowned Memmingen-based slabstock foam manufacturer Metzeler Schaum. Using the new process and innovative plant technology, Rampf says it is expanding the potential of chemical recycling. The industrial plant was designed and completed as part of a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to develop industrial-scale acidolysis for flexible slabstock foams. In the course of the project, Rampf Ecosystems, Metzeler Schaum and Keil Anlagenbau in Hunteburg have worked closely with Fraunhofer ICT in Pfinztal. The result is a plant that offers a capacity of around 3,500 tonnes per year.These types of plants can also be used on a decentralised basis to recycle raw materials directly at and by foam manufacturing companies. In these cases, Rampf Ecosystems provides the chemical know-how and coordinates the plant engineering. Slabstock foam producers can therefore ensure cost-effective, sustainable production locally that helps deliver active environmental protection.The acidolysis process was researched intensively in the years 1994 - 1997 in collaboration with Aalen University and developed further by Rampf Ecosystems in the years that followed. The initial positive findings from a joint research project on recycling TDI- and MDI-moulded foams were published in 1999. Applying the process to recycling flexible slabstock foams and processing secondary polyols on a technical service center scale represented a further milestone in 2009. In addition to further development of process engineering aspects, the process and plant technology for the acidolysis process was also optimised and implemented with technical innovations. Rampf says it has succeeded in scaling up the process from technical service center scale (10 kg, 100 kg) to semi-industrial scale (1,000 kg) and up to industrial scale (7 t/batch).In the face of rising raw material prices, the company says it has been designing recycling solutions to recover raw materials from polyurethanes for all kinds of requirements for the last twenty years. And the aim throughout is to enable recycling of all polyurethane waste in terms of process engineering while also factoring in economic considerations.