The Ferrara plant is designed for products with an average PVC concentration of 85%. However, to produce optimal yields, a Tricare process developed by Solvay pretreats cable scraps with 50 to 60% PVC content, converting them to an intermediary material with 85 to 90% PVC. Intermediary material goes through selective dissolution in a mixture of solvents and then a centrifuge to remove insoluble residues. Dissolved PVC is then precipitated out of solution and dried, forming regenerated PVC.
The technique was developed and patented five years ago by Solvay S.A.'s Research and Development Center in Brussels. It exploits PVC's total solubility in specific solvents which separates it from other materials. PVC composites containing polyester fiber, glass fiber, natural textiles, polyurethane foam, metals, and other materials impossible to separate using traditional recycling methods are well suited for Vinyloop.
The facility handles five major categories of materials (cables, automobile, flooring, tarpaulins, and rigid product). Of these, PVC insulation from electric cables is the most common.
Waste insulation from cables is often a mix of PVC, rubber, and polyethylene. Technically, Vinyloop (described at www.vinyloop.com) can recycle PVC composites with any PVC concentration. But local conditions and the value of the secondary materials determines the economic viability.