Starlinger: Two new recycling lines for US-Multifilament producer

Recycling of plastic bottles, fiber waste and polyester fabrics

Unifi, the US-based producer of multifilament polyester and nylon textured yarns has two Starlinger recycling lines in operation at the REPREVE Recycling Center in Yadkinville, North Carolina. The Starlinger recycling lines have been designed to recycle PET flakes from plastic bottles, fiber waste and polyester fabrics. The REPREVE post-consumer product is produced on the recoSTAR PET machine while a recoSTAR universal machine is used for the REPREVE hybrid product.

"Unifi chose Starlinger's recycling technology because it would allow Unifi to produce the entire family of REPREVE polyester chip products with the desired performance needed to grow Unifi's REPREVE brand,” said Mark McNeill, corporate product development manager for Unifi. "With the opening of the REPREVE Recycling Center, Unifi wanted to set a new benchmark for the production of recycled polyester filament fibers. Starlinger helped us achieve this by custom designing recycling equipment, enhancing the overall color, IV and POY spinning and texturing performance of our REPREVE product. Our goal is to provide our customers with the highest quality and most competitive recycled product in the market today and we are now able to achieve this,” said McNeill.

REPREVE is widely used by many brands and retailers, including Polartec, Patagonia, The North Face, Hon and Steelcase. Most recently, Ford Motor Company chose the REPREVE product for the new Focus Electric.

recoSTAR PET recycling
The recoSTAR PET recycling line converts 100 % PCR flakes into chip which is then processed on a special spinning line. It ensures constant IV (intrinsic viscosity) in the recycled chip, but also allows easy viscosity setting if an IV change is needed. The state-of-the-art technology features an integrated energy recovery kit that reuses the heat from the granulation process for preheating the PCR flakes.

recoSTAR universal line
In-house waste, combined with a share of PCR-flakes for better quality of the output (higher IV), is recycled on a Starlinger recoSTAR universal line. The controlled in-feed system ensures a constant mixing ratio of in-house waste and PCR flakes, and also adjusts automatically to changes in the mixing ratio (i.e. higher/lower share of flakes).

Both lines use a specially designed cascade filtration system that enables a very fine filtration down to 25 ìm to meet the high requirements in the fiber industry.

REPREVE® is a registered trademark of UNIFI, Inc. Introduced in 2006, REPREVE is a family of 100% recycled polyester and nylon fibers that can be used in a wide range of applications, including apparel, automotive, seating and panelling fabrics.