Retrofit Case Study: Midwest Fiber Recycling
Midwest Fiber Recycling upgrades throughput, recover and purity
BHS customer Midwest Fiber Recycling in Normal, Illinois was looking for ways to modernize their system to match changing recycling demands while improving overall system efficiency. To meet new market requirements for fiber quality, they were slowing the system down, adding sorters and adding shifts to make up for the lower throughput.
Midwest Fiber Recycling challenged BHS for a creative solution to reduce labor and increase recovery while working within the existing and limited space. At BHS, we strongly believe that the best solution is not achieved with a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. We analyze the application and then dive deep into the process to develop a unique design that maximizes value.
Working together, the Midwest Fiber Recycling and BHS teams settled on a plan to meet project goals by modifying the system with new equipment, new material routing, and upgrading existing equipment.
The work began at the front-end of the system. BHS Tri-Disc™ screens are imperative to creating high quality products at the lowest cost possible, as effective screening makes downstream separation more productive. To address the influx of smaller cardboard in the recycling mix, we tightened the screen openings (IFOs) on their existing BHS OCC Separator®.
Next, we added a 4-inch bypass screen after the customer’s Debris Roll Screen® to increase the efficiency of the downstream equipment. The 4”(-) fraction is sent to a new NRT SpydIR® optical sorter, equipped with a MetalDirector™ and a divided accelerator belt. One segment of the optical sorter recovers plastics and metals from this 4”(-) fraction, while the other segment takes the 2-D fiber from the BHS Polishing Screen and purifies the mixed paper by removing any non-fiber, leaving it free of prohibitives.
According to Midwest Fiber Recycling’s COO Mike Shumaker, PET and Aluminum recovery are both up. PET recovery has increased 200 lbs-per-hour and Aluminum is up 110 lbs-per-hour. Throughput increased from 14-tph to more than 18, which also decreased runtime by 10 hours per week. To top it off, Midwest Fiber Recycling was able to decrease its sort staff by four while significantly improving fiber quality. Shumaker let us know that they are currently producing low prohibitive #56 News and #54 Mixed Paper.
By adding one screen, one optical sorter and making some changes to existing equipment, the customer has a cost-effective solution that has increased throughput, recovery and purity while lowering operating hours and costs.