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Plastic recycling process to reduce CO2 emissions and save costs

Injection molding processes for recycled materials

The use of recyclates improves the CO2 balance. At the same time, contamination causes odor pollution and fluctuations in quality.
With our innovative recycling processes for plastics, we are responding specifically to these challenges. ENGEL enables its customers to build a Circular Economy.

Advantages of plastic recycling processes
30% CO2 savings through direct processing of flakes
Picture shows plastic flakes

Regranulation of used plastics requires a large amount of energy in recycling. With our two-stage plastic recycling process, this step can be skipped. Depending on the recyclate used, you save more than 400 Wh of energy per kilogram of plastic. This is a CO2 reduction of 30%.

Solutions to increase the recycled content in the component by up to 100%
Picture shows component made from recyclate

With our injection molding processes for a circular economy, you can increase the recyclate content in the component. A recycling rate of 50% is reached with the skinmelt process. The foilmelt process achieves an even higher percentage. In the two-stage process, no virgin material is used at all. Therefore, the part consists of 100% recyclate.

No odors, streaks or moisture residues in the component thanks to degassing
Picture shows bumper of a car

Volatile components of the material, such as gases or moisture, are eliminated with our integrated degassing process. Degassing enables a wider range of recyclate applications, delivers component quality without streaks, and decreases residue buildup in the mold. Odor is reduced enormously. Especially with painted components, beautiful surfaces are achieved thanks to degassing.

More safety thanks to filtration of the melt
Image shows possible contamination such as paper, metal or wood

Filter systems reliably remove contaminants from the recyclate. Depending on the design, they protect the plasticizing unit, hot runner and mold. Suitable filter systems are offered for different degrees of contamination. This prevents clogging of the mold, hot runner and sprue channels by unwanted particles. In addition, the component quality increases.

Realization of “design for recycling” with ENGEL technologies
Picture shows box made of recycled plastic

“Design for recycling” can be implemented with a visible high-quality skin and recyclate in the core. Our plastic recycling processes in multi-component injection molding are particularly suitable, if the molded part has the same polymer base. Manufactured components can simply be recycled again.

Picture shows Vice President for Process and Application Technology at ENGEL Austria
Do you want to process used plastics reliably?

Take advantage of our expertise, plant engineering and technologies for processing plastic flakes or regranulate. We will support you in finding the right plastic recycling process.

Overview of our plastic recycling processes

Procedure Product name Industry Applications Process
Two-stage process Automotive & Mobility, Technical Injection Molding, Packaging, Electronics Bumpers, engine covers, logistics, pails, flower pots, drainage pipe fittings Direct processing of recyclates with degassing and filtration of the melt
Sandwich injection moulding skinmelt, co-injection Automotive & Mobility, Technical Injection Molding, Packaging, Electronics Furniture/furnishing, logistics (boxes), pails Multi-component injection molding with high-quality material on the surface and recyclate in the core
Foil/film back molding foilmelt Automotive & Mobility, Technical Injection Molding, Packaging, Electronics Interior/exterior trims, trims for white goods, electronic products Create functional, haptic and decorative surfaces with films - the film is back-injected with recycled material
PET / rPET processing Packaging Thin-wall packaging PET processing with powerful machines

Details about our plastic recycling processes

Picture shows two-stage process with filter from ENGEL
Two-stage process

The two-stage injection molding process enables a circular economy with minimal use of resources. Contaminated regrind is processed directly in the injection molding machine. The material gets degassed and filtered. This eliminates an entire work step: regranulation. This significantly reduces costs and energy consumption.

Your advantages with the two-stage process
Consistently high product quality despite recycled material

Integrating degassing, filtration and additives into the injection molding process makes it reliable - even with contaminated recyclates.

Reducing CO2, saving energy and costs

Direct processing of regrind in injection molding requires more than 30% less energy for processing the recyclate, as regranulation is no longer necessary.

No odors, streaks or residual moisture in the component

Thanks to the integrated degassing process, volatile accompanying substances are eliminated and better component quality is achieved. Less fogging forms in the mold, and the mold service life is increased.

Gentle fiber additives and cleaning of the recyclate

In addition to filtration of the material, the process enables gentle fiber processing. With the help of high fiber lengths, you can manufacture components that meet high mechanical requirements.

  • Wide range of applications for recycled materials

  • Component meets high quality requirements

  • Part of the manufacturing process (regranulation) is skipped - you save valuable energy

Plastic recycling processes in practice
Image shows injection molding cell for two-stage process
Increased efficiency through ENGEL's two-stage process

Post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic flakes are processed directly with ENGEL's two-stage process. The company AVK Plastics BV uses this technology to produce new pallets from shredded polyolefins. The customer saves costs and valuable energy with the plastic recycling process.

technical molding
Direct processing of contaminated regrind

Thanks to the two-stage plastic recycling process, the material cycle can be closed with very little use of resources.

Flow behavior of core material in detail | ENGEL
Sandwich injection molding
co-injection, skinmelt

Sandwich components are a great solution in a circular economy. Recycled plastic such as post-consumer waste can be hidden inside the product. The recyclate is not visible on the surface.

Your advantages with sandwich injection molding
Reduce CO2 footprint

By using recycled material, valuable resources such as raw materials can be saved

Cost savings due to recycled material in the core

With high-quality material on the skin, you inject a lower-cost material into the component’s core.

Weight reduction due to foamed core

Reduce the shot weight of the component with foamed core material. There are no sink marks on the surface

Increase mechanical properties

The fiber reinforcement in the core increases the strength of the component.

  • Sandwich components have a visibly high-quality surface

  • Components with up to 50% recycled core possible

Plastic recycling process with different types of sandwich injection molding
Image shows animation of co-injection molding process

The animation shows the sequential flow of the co-injection process:

  1. Injection of skin material (green)

  2. Injection of core material (gray)

  3. Sealing with skin material (green)

Image shows animation of the skinmelt injection molding process

This animation shows the sequence of the dosing process:

  1. The upper unit contains the virgin (skin) material (green). The main unit contains the core material.

  2. Before injection, the skin material is transferred to the main unit.

  3. The filling process is identical to the conventional injection molding process.

  4. The skin material forms the outer layer. The core material remains inside.

Sandwich injection molding as an ideal application for recyclates in practice
    • technical molding
    Transport box made with the skinmelt plastic recycling process

    Recycled material hidden in the core - virgin material used as skin material.

    • packaging
    Pails made using the co-injection plastic recycling process

    Pail production on a duo speed with two injection units: PCR recyclate is injected in the core and virgin material in the outer skin.

Image shows plastic components manufactured by using ENGEL's injection molding process foil back molding
Foil/film back molding

In film back injection molding, the recycled material is attached to a film. This happens directly in the mold during the injection molding process. Only the film is visible on the surface. The product is significantly upgraded.

Your advantages with the foilmelt process
Facilitated “Design for Recycling”

With the outer film, you achieve an improved component surface. The recycled material remains hidden in the core.

Flexible Designs

You can implement different designs. Switching to a new design is quick and easy.

One-shot Process

Injection molding production of the surface design in a fully automated production cell. No reworking necessary.

Cost-efficient Production on a Large Scale

Reducing manufacturing and assembly tasks by producing a fully functional component in one production cell. Result: savings in weight, time, and costs.

  • The recyclate is hidden behind the film layer

  • Your plastic part is provided with a film layer through surface finishes and functionalizing

  • The component is visually upgraded

Plastic Surface Finishes with Different Types of Film Back Injection Molding
Film insert molding
Image shows film insert molding process
  1. Preforming the film

  2. Positioning of the insert by a robot

  3. Hot substrate is injected by standard back injection molding and merges with the film

  4. After cooling, the material and film are ejected as one piece

In-mold decoration
Image shows the principle of an in-mold decoration process
  1. Film is inserted into the mold

  2. Film is positioned in X and Y direction and clamped by a sealing frame

  3. Hot substrate is injected using the standard film back injection molding process and merges with the PUR coating layer

  4. After the material has cooled, the film is ejected as one piece

Roll-to-roll in-mold labeling
Image shows roll-to-roll in-mold labeling process
  1. Film is inserted into the mold

  2. Infrared heating and vacuum preforming pull the film into the mold

  3. Hot base material is injected in a standard film back injection molding process and merges with the film

  4. When closing the mold, the film is trimmed with cutting edges

  5. After cooling, the material and film are ejected as one piece

Film Back Injection Molding: Best-practices of Surface Finishes and Functionalizing Plastic Parts
    • technical molding
    • automotive and mobility
    • electronics
    Flexible Process for Fast Design Change

    Film back injection molding on a duo 350 with a roll-to-roll IML application. The film is fed via a roll, thermoformed on the machine, and remains on the component.

    • automotive and mobility
    Production of Aesthetic Vehicle Interior Parts

    Interior door panels for vehicles with different surface properties thanks to film back injection molding

    • automotive and mobility
    Automotive Front Panel with Decorative Film and Polyurethane Coating

    Production on one machine and in one cycle using film back injection molding and flooding. For an efficient and simple process.

Picture shows thin-wall container produced from PET
PET / rPET processing

Produce thin-wall containers made of PET in just one process step. The powerful injection unit of our e-speed injection molding machine makes it possible. This significantly expands the range of applications for PET and rPET.

Learn more

Your advantages with rPET in thin-wall injection molding
Use the closed recycling loop

PET can be recycled an infinite number of times and PET parts can contain up to 100% recycled content.

Direct processing of PET flakes

ENGEL is the first supplier to enable thin-wall injection molding for PET. Reach high recycling rates directly with the injection molding machine.

Compliance with the law

From 2025, all plastic packaging must have a recycled content of at least 30% and be 100% recyclable. With our plastic recycling process, you meet these requirements.

Upcycling PET bottles

With the plastic recycling process, PET bottles or other packaging products can be re- or upcycled.

  • Thin-walled containers made of PET or rPET

  • Bottle-to-cup recycling is possible

Discover More Injection Molding Processes for Your Plastic Production

Over 20 Proven Injection Molding Processes for Greater Cost-effectiveness and Different Applications

Image shows surface finishes of a plastic part by ENGEL

Surface Finishes and Part Functionalization

Injection molding process for sophisticated part designs with additional function integration

Picture shows plastic parts manufactured by precision injection molding

Precision Injection Molding

For more geometric accuracy, better surface quality, and low part weight

Image shows transparent part by ENGEL

Optical and Transparent Parts

Injection-molded parts made of transparent plastics for a perfect view

Picture shows lightweight plastic part by ENGEL

Weight and Warpage Reduction

Injection molding process for lightweight plastic components to reduce weight and warpage of your plastic parts

Picture shows plastic part made of special material

Elastomers and Thermosets

A wide range of non-thermoplastic materials such as silicone, rubber, BMC or HTV can be processed by injection molding.

Image shows plastic parts manufactured by ENGEL using injection molding processes

Overview of all injection moulding processes

Over 20 Proven Injection Molding Technologies for More Profitability

Markus Lettau

Molding Industry Business Advisor

+1 (717) 767 2016

Write us

The ENGEL team is happy to support you with extensive knowledge in the field of injection molding.

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