The Microgel Temperature Control Unit is a super-compact mould cooling unit specifically designed for “cycle-cooling time reduction” from Frigel, supplied and installed by Summit Systems to the UK plastics market.
The Microgel is suitable for multiple plastic processes such as injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion. They are used in various industrial sectors such as automotive, pharmaceutical, chemical, and packaging, with over 35,000 units currently installed globally.
The Microgel is water cooled from a central air-blast, adiabatic or cooling tower system or in some cases it can even be used with an existing central chilled system. *Air cooled versions are available too although these take a more basic form, they can be ideal where central system water supplies are unavailable.
Why would you use a Microgel Temperature Control Unit?
Pressure, flow, and temperature control of each individual process
Precision in process temperature control
Stable and controlled cooling conditions
High cooling efficiency and minimal temperature differential on the mould
Maximum flexibility to eliminate common process cooling problems
Maximum integration between unit, machine, and the operator
Perfect repeatability and high productivity
Searching and storing the best cooling conditions
Complete independence in setting work parameters
This veteran industry proven product combines a water-cooled chiller with one or two high flow booster pump temperature controllers with heating elements and a free-cooling valve, the Microgel will optimise your production processes with minimal cycle cooling times (up to 50% reductions when compared to other models) and reduced operation costs. Thanks to improvements in technology on the major components and constant development by Frigel, the Microgel is now even better than ever!
What latest updates have been made to the Microgel?
The following developments, put the already leading Microgel, far ahead of alternative solutions when it comes to mould tool temperature control.
Improved colour HMI layout creates a better UX and enables intuitive interaction to the extensive range of standard features
Monitoring of points such as pressure and flows with graphical analysis in real-time.
Improved environmental footprint as the refrigeration circuits now contain (model dependant) up to 72% less refrigerant and moved onto R410a.
Solid-state relays and mould drain kits are incorporated into each model.
Dual circuit model options are available enabling different flows and temperatures to be set on each zone.
Improved temperature control precision, with 50% improvement against setpoint on certain models.
Rob Pritchard, Sales Manager for Summit Process Cooling “Our partners, Frigel, have invested an enormous amount of design time and detailed analysis into improving this already market-leading range of innovative equipment.”
What are the differences between Microgel and Turbogel Temperature Control Units?
Both are standalone temperature control units which are easily installed next to your existing machinery, suitable for single or dual zone applications. Both deliver constant high pressure and flow to process resulting in optimal heat transfer and a drastic cut to cycle times. However, the Turbogel unit does not use a Chiller Circuit unlike the Microgel. The Turbogel is recommended for medium to high temperature applications, whereas the Microgel can bring down temperatures down to as low as 8°C.
Why should I choose the Microgel for my plastics processing?
Drastically reduce cycle time by up to 50%
Intelligent use of energy consumption
High energy savings with automatic free cooling
Automatic mould draining
Temperature, flow, and pressure digital readings
Fast start up times, reducing production hours
Super compact mould cooling unit
Minimum environmental impact – up to 80% less refrigerant
Rob Pritchard, “Once proven through Summit’s no commitment trials, the quality and cycle-time reduction benefits of turbulent flow, all deliverable via the latest in control, monitoring, and communication technology, are changing the mindset of even the most traditionalist processors across many industry categories.”
Long-standing customer, Prysmian Cables, have 3 Microgels installed on their site and have reported a 50% increase in production output, improved product quality with reduced scrap levels, alongside a drastic reduction in energy consumption, recording as high as a 60% reduction in cycle time.
Summit Systems has all the in-house knowledge and tools available within the ‘Frigel System’ to help our clients optimise for tomorrow’s production and energy efficiency expectations.
The Microgel is only one component of the ‘Frigel System’ which is revolutionising the plastics processing industry and is changing the way processors think about cooling, being adequate is no longer enough. Reduced energy and water consumption, with improved product quality and reduced cycle times in a complete system which can be fully centrally monitored in-house or remotely – what’s not to like.
For more information on the Microgel range from Summit Systems click here or call the Summit Process Cooling team to discuss the new generation temperature control units on 01827 213 401.
The Frigel Microgel unit has once again proven itself to be the market leader in aiding injection moulding manufacturers to reduce their cycle time and optimise their process, resulting in maximum efficiency.
In a partnership spanning over 10 years, Summit Systems have supplied Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd with various ancillary machines for their UK based production, from Maguire blenders to temperature control units.
Prysmian Cables and Systems Ltd manufactures a wide range of building wires and specialist fire rated cables, which are available through a first-class network of wholesalers. They also offer a comprehensive range of accessories designed with the cables in mind. Prysmian is a brand of the Prysmian Group, the world leader in high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, with sales of over €11 billion in 2019. The Prysmian Group is a truly global company with subsidiaries in more than 50 countries, 106 plants, 25 research and development centres with approximately 29,000 employees.
The Summit Systems and Prysmian relationship began with the supplying of the Maguire Blenders which helped them to make huge materials savings. Following this, Summit recommended the Loss-in-Weight blenders which saw further material savings and a drastic improvement to product quality.
Technical Sales Engineer, Jason Culleton approached Prysmian to assist in the concept of further product quality improvement and cycle time reduction, after witnessing staff operating moulding machines, handling hot parts which posed as a health and safety risk to the machine operator. Summit Systems knew that within their portfolio of plastic ancillary machinery, there was the appropriate equipment to help eliminate these issues.
Summit specified the Microgel – a temperature control unit from Frigel.
The Microgel is a super-compact mould cooling unit specifically designed for process temperature control with the ability to reduce the cooling time of the injection moulding process. The Microgel consists of a water-cooled chiller with one or two high flow booster pumps, temperature controllers with heating elements, and a free-cooling valve. The Microgel allows the user to optimise their process by looking at historical data from the unit and being able to maintain temperatures to 0.1°C.
Users of the Microgel Temperature Control units can benefit from lower energy consumption and faster start up times. The units require minimal maintenance, saving additional time and money. They have minimum environmental impact, having up to 80% less refrigerant than a centralised system, and offer advanced energy savings with the individual free cooling function. Preheating and downtime are also reduced during the mould changeover period.
Summit Systems offered Prysmian Cables a free trial of the Microgel, to prove the concept of operation before purchase, and being so confident in the quality of the machine were positive the unit would be able to make drastic changes to their production quality and cycle times.
A short and simple installation with no modifications needed to their process meant the unit was in operation quickly. Summit Systems’ technical engineers were on site throughout the day to provide equipment training and familiarise the staff with the operation of the machine.
The purpose of the trial was to demonstrate to Prysmian how the Microgel could improve product quality, drastically reduce cycle time, and ensure a safer working environment for the mould machine operators.
The trial demonstrated to Prysmian a 150% productivity increase as a result of the 60% reduction in cycle time (originally 90 seconds, down to 36 seconds).
At a time when energy prices are so high, it is crucial to also consider the energy savings delivered from the machine. With cycle times 60% lower than their existing machinery, they would be saving copious amounts of energy to produce better quality products from their moulding machine.
Additionally, due to the function of the Microgels there is no longer the need for a central chiller, which will be replaced by a Summit Systems adiabatic cooler, saving further energy costs.
Based on the above improvements and the successful completion of the Microgel trial, Summit Systems are thrilled that Prysmian Cables have opted to purchase a further 5 units to aid in the reduction of cycle cooling times, energy savings and health and safety throughout their UK based processes.
Luiz Ferizolla, Production and Logistics Manager at Prysmian,“The savings from the 1 off Microgel unit we have has paid for the 5 additional units we are ordering, and that is just on production hours saved, we have not yet considered the energy savings. The Microgel has doubled our production output, improved our product quality, and reduced our scrap levels. We’d highly recommend the Microgel and Summit Systems!”
Matt Ross, Sales Director at Summit Systems, “The Frigel Microgel unit has once again proven itself to be the market leader in aiding injection moulding manufacturers to reduce their cycle time and optimise their process, resulting in maximum efficiency. We are delighted to work in conjunction with Prysmian Group and with the strong partnership and work input from both sides, the results were exceptional.”
For more information on the Microgel range from Summit Systems click here or call us on 01827 265 800.
Plastics Live is attracting many high-profile exhibitors at what is being described as the most innovative event for forward-looking plastics manufacturers.
Located on Stand B30, Summit Systems will be profiling its blending and dosing units allowing regrind to be reintroduced back into the manufacturing process, helping companies to meet or exceed the 30% recycled content threshold set by the Plastic Packaging Tax. To accompany these, the granulator and shredder ranges — for in-house regrind production — will also be an area of focus. With the concerning rise of energy prices, Summit Systems also supply numerous energy-saving products for plastic process manufacturers, such as the Maguire ULTRA dryers, which are driving cost savings, and will also be on display at the exhibition.
Kelsey Taylor, Marketing Manager, “Summit Systems has chosen to exhibit at Plastics Live due to the ever-increasing need for our ancillary equipment. The plastics industry is the 3rd largest employer in the manufacturing sector, and we’re looking forward to meeting new contacts and businesses who are excited to see fresh ideas, and who we can help enhance their plastic processes.”
“As more and more undesirable emphasis is put onto our industry, Summit Systems are keen to showcase the best equipment on the market to promote sustainable plastics manufacturing. Our equipment provides the best solutions for all plastic manufacturing processes, whether that’s increasing your recycled content, lowering your energy usage, or reducing manual labour time. Within our portfolio, we’re confident that we’ve got the ancillary equipment you didn’t know you were looking for.”
“Plastic manufacturers currently have huge opportunities to change people’s ideas about plastics. Always being portrayed in a negative light, now is the time when manufacturers need to educate the public, increase awareness of the benefits of plastics versus other materials, and demonstrate how we’re promoting sustainability within the industry.”
Access to Plastic Live will ensure you have access to over 150 industry-leading suppliers live via the exhibition hall and will give you access to the co-located events running alongside. The events conference programme will cover talks from the best in today’s manufacturing, how to future-proof business, how to use technology to improve output, save energy and the environment and create the factories of the future.
We look forward to seeing you there, you can register for free tickets using the link below.
In February 2022, following the application process in connection with the WMG, the University of Warwick, Zain Mahmood joined the Research and Development Department at Summit Systems in Tamworth, for a 12-week Automation Engineer Internship.
Zain has a glowing academic career, with a Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from City University of London and he is also working towards a Master of Engineering in Mechatronics and Robotics from the University of Leeds. As a result of the selection process, Zain was deemed the perfect fit for the company.
Due to the increased opportunities and the expansion of the R&D department at Summit Systems, 2022 was the perfect year to take on an intern. Working alongside Wade Grindley, R&D Manager, and Daniel Jefferies, Automation Engineer, Zain was assigned a project where he was able to use the knowledge from his degrees to create and develop new technologies and software for Summit Systems.
The scope of this 12-week project was to create a cloud-based user interface for Summit Vision. This was achieved in the early stages of his internship, which led to him developing additional aspects of Summit Vision.
Created a cloud-based user interface for Summit Vision.
Updated the Summit Vision user interface.
Enhanced the interface for the Maguire products within Summit Vision.
Presented the newly developed features of Summit Vision, to secure an order from a new customer.
Start the development on a new product interface for the Maguire blender.
Wade Grindley, “Having Zain with us for the last 12-weeks has been great, during this time he has been a valued member of the R&D Team. He has been able to complete all projects assigned to him in a fraction of the time set. His ambition to learn and grow in this role has been fundamental to the development of the Summit Systems Supervisory System. He has a great work ethic, and it has been a pleasure having him in our team and we wish him success in his future endeavours.”
Zain, “I cannot thank Summit Systems enough for this opportunity. Wade and Daniel have been excellent at helping me to develop my skills and knowledge of the products and systems. I would recommend Summit Systems to anyone considering an internship in Research and Development.”
Following the success of his internship with Summit Systems, Zain has pursued roles closer to his hometown of Manchester which will further allow him to develop his skills and knowledge.
Summit Systems are proud to have been able to support Zain in his skills and career development and wish him all the luck for his new role and have no doubt that he will succeed in all that his does in the future.
How have the ULTRA Dryers been helping customers save huge costs on drying polymers, improving product quality, and reducing machine downtime? We spoke with Moulded Packaging Solutions to find out…
Being an independent business in a sector dominated by large corporates, Moulded Packaging Solutions (MPS), has built its packaging business on process efficiencies and cost savings to maintain competitiveness. This focus has never been greater with the impact shock that the current energy crisis has placed on their manufacturing plant.
With industrial power costs doubling and more, MPS are striving to negate these costs through investment. By switching to Maguire ULTRA dryers, they have proven energy savings of 58% on their PET drying costs. Their drive to reduce cost is impressive in itself but there is a pride and commitment in constantly reducing their carbon footprint which this investment satisfies.
MPS founded in 2006 by Alan Charlton and Iain McLeod, provides diverse plastic packaging solutions for Food, Pharma VMS, and Confectionary producers. Charlton and McLeod both previously worked in the plastics packaging and moulding industry, gaining over 60 years of knowledge and experience in plastic packaging manufacturing between them.
In line with MPS’s continuous investment and improvement philosophy, MPS has continually invested in energy efficient drying systems for PET. Previously MPS invested in state-of-the-art Desiccant Wheel energy efficient dryers, and most recently has invested in Maguire ULTRA dryers, where the company has seen 3 major benefits for their ISBM production compared to prior drying systems:
Greater Energy Savings & Efficiency
Previously MPS had invested in leading desiccant wheel dryers which when compared to the classic twin tower desiccant dryer, offered considerable energy savings. However, when drying PET with the Maguire ULTRA dryer, using the unique vacuum drying process, MPS were able to realise further savings that averaged close to 60% over the desiccant wheel systems.
“By investing in the Maguire ULTRA’s we’ve been able to achieve very real savings in energy costs, especially in view of energy costs rocketing in the last 12 months,” said Iain McLeod. “This helps in every sense in running our independent business in keeping our costs under control”.
Dramatically reduced drying times resulting in considerable production gains
With conventional dryers typical drying time for PET is 4 hours, but with the ULTRA dryer, which doesn’t rely on desiccant dried hot air slowly releasing moisture from the material but instead uses the science of vacuum, moisture is released more rapidly, at a mere 1 hour. This reduction allows for a significant boost in productivity and machine up time, plus greater flexibility for ISBM machine start-ups and job changes.
McLeod, “We offer a range of packaging solutions from food, vitamins to confectionary and the flexibility we can achieve in drying is greatly enhancing our production capabilities for short runs, which is ideal for our custom orders, whilst keeping costs to a minimum.”
Reduced maintenance requirements allowing maximum production times
MPS has a strong focus on investment and flexibility in their production process, and a key issue to maintaining this edge in production is maximum up time, avoiding the unplanned stoppages and minimising scheduled maintenance.
With the Maguire ULTRA Dryer maintenance is significantly reduced compared to conventional dryers, due to no process filters, no chilled water requirements and no desiccant wheels or towers to monitor and replace periodically. This saves huge amounts of time and ensures a consistent and stable drying process, versus having to monitor and check dew points and downtime for cleaning of the filters and replacing desiccant.
What does this mean?
These benefits have led to a fast return on investment and the ULTRA dryers have continued to perform really well in their process. When compared to their other dryer onsite, the ULTRA dryers performed using 58% less energy, with further energy still to be saved with the use of the energy saver limit.
As an illustration in what that means in running costs of a dryer – if for example on one ISBM machine energy usage at an average price of £0.12/kWh – with Desiccant dryers running costs over a 5-year period could amount to over £30,100 just for energy – with the ULTRA dryer costs are more around £12,600. With energy costs increasing this is only greater, meaning the ULTRA pays for itself more rapidly and is simpler for start-ups and maintenance.
In a trial performed internally by MPS, the ULTRA Dryer recorded a rate of 0.108 kWh per kg versus 0.258 kWh per kg from an alternative model. Over an 8-hour time frame, on near consecutive days, they noted noticeable variations in energy usage with the Maguire ULTRA dryer (shown in red) drastically outperforming the other model (shown in grey). Between 16:00 and 00:00, the ULTRA dryer used a total of 20.42 kWh costing a mere £1.96 versus the alternate model using over 50 kWh, costing over £5.05.
Iain McLeod, “The service and guidance provided by Summit Systems and their recommendation of the Maguire ULTRA dryers has made great savings and we’re happy to report such positive energy reductions since introducing the vacuum dryer to our processes. We would highly recommend Summit Systems and the Maguire ULTRA dryer to anyone in the industry looking to invest in energy-efficient plastics drying equipment”.
Call 01827 265 800 or email us on email@example.com to discover how the ULTRA Dryers can help you save huge costs on drying your polymers, improve product quality and reduce machine downtime.
David Gray, “Hello and welcome to another episode of Interplas Insights Podcast. I’m your host, Dave Gray, head of content at British Plastics and Rubber and InterplasInsights.com.
In this episode, I speak to Dan Jordan and also Kieran Kelly. Dan Jordan, first of all, many of you may know from Summit Systems, a big player in the UK plastics industry. Kieran Kelly may be less familiar in the UK plastics industry; he is a former fisherman, turned plastics recycler, come environmental activist. The story of how he and Dan got their heads together is quite an interesting one, so we talk about that, we talk about Kieran’s life and his experience, and we talk about a project he is working on now which is called RIO Oceans Integrity. It’s an interesting new viewpoint in ocean clean up, addressing the plastic waste problem and recycling. I think it’s a really interesting interview and I hope you enjoy.
First of all, Dan, this kind of came about when I had a conversation with Mike Jordan (Managing Director) at Summit Systems a couple of weeks ago, and he was talking about a project that you have gotten involved in, called RIO Oceans Integrity. Do you want to kick off by telling us how you came to be involved with the project?”
Dan Jordan, “It was an interesting conversation on a Saturday night on LinkedIn, and it was about 1 o’clock in the morning, I’d messaged Kieran probably about six months prior. He was looking for somebody to help recycle a load of aprons. There were 70 containers of aprons that had come over that hadn’t managed to go to their final destination within the NHS and they were looking for a recycling solution, so I messaged him. Within a few messages we had exchanged numbers and I’d called him at about 1 o’clock in the morning, suddenly two hours had gone by, and we’d been chatting away and it was just really good to be chatting with an environmentalist that was talking on the same level, and we had the same opinions on a lot of things about plastics and their role in society. It was good to hear an environmentalist that wanted to work with plastics and figure out a solution, so we were pretty much on the same page since the moment we initially spoke.
We kept in touch and ended up recycling over 1200 tonnes of aprons together, which got the ball rolling, and the proceeds from that have funded one of the nets which Kieran has commissioned which we’ll speak about later, and then we just decided we were going to work together because we can both help each other along and I really like Kieran’s vision, the company he has established and his passion for the environment, the passion to do something massive because the scale of the problem is humungous and a lot of the programmes out there don’t really scratch the surface, this is the only program I can see that’s actually shifting large volumes. And that’s how we got involved, and we’re chatting all the time…”
David, “And the rest is history? I really want to talk about what sets this program apart from other initiatives that are out there, but Kieran, thank you for joining us today as well, can you tell us a little bit about your background because, I am right that your background is in fishing?”
Kieran, “Well my background, I grew up on the Southeast Coast of Ireland, my family were in the fishing industry for multiple generations. I grew up in a little fishing village called Hellwig, so at a very early age we were introduced into the industry by my father and my grandfather. In the 90’s, I could see that there were all kinds of problems within the fishing industry in Europe, and I’d always wanted to go to the US and look at the fishing industry again and open a fishing company in the United States. So, I emigrated to the United States and shortly after arriving there I bought my first vessel and I operated out of Port Gloucester in Massachusetts. Shortly after that I had purchased several vessels and I was working all around the US, central south America and also Alaska in the Bavarian Sea.
One thing that always concerned me was the amount of plastics that we would see on the ocean floor. No matter where we went, we’d come across plastic. I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back for me, the fisheries in the US are well managed, they’re sustainable fisheries and they were not the problem, the big problem was their plastic waste. One winter, up in the icecap, way north in the arctic circle, further north than we’d even fished before because of the melting polar caps. We took the net back one night, middle of winter, storm force conditions, and I was in the wheelhouse looking out the window at the crew, it was a horrendous night, and the first thing that these troll doors (auto doors that come out of the water) they were covered in plastic. This was virgin ground that we’d never fished before, nobody had ever been that far north before, and the place was full of plastic.
I remember calling home later that night, and I said to my family, “We’re selling the fishing company”, and they told me to go home as I’d been a sea for 4-5 months and needed to take a break and rest, and think about it, and I said, “No, I’m all done, we have to do something about trying to protect our oceans. We have to figure out a way to collect this plastic” and that was the start of it. Shortly after that, I got rid of the company, got rid of all the boats, and initially I put the [new] company together with some coastguard officers in the US and we were going to target plastic only in the Caribbean on the backside of hurricanes. We’d tuck in behind the hurricane and collect the plastic when it’s easy to collect from the backwash off the islands, and that was the idea behind it.
Within a short few months, we found ourselves in India, and I remember waking up in a hotel in Mumbai thinking how had I got here, the company had only been put together a few months earlier and the rest was history. We ended up in Vietnam, then Indonesia.
We’re all about solutions, we’re about collecting plastic on an industrial scale. Collecting plastic like it’s never been collected before. And that’s what we do, we look at where the big concentrations of plastic are and how we can collect that. The plastic that is the problem on the ocean floors and floating on the surface, is multi-layer plastic, single-use plastic and there are massive volumes of it. There is 6 to 7 meters of plastics on the ocean floor in the Java Sea and that’s the plastic we target. We target that with local indigenous Indonesian fishermen. It took a long time for us to get them to come along and trust us, trust that we’re an environmental company who are only interested in the solutions and targeting plastic. We weren’t there to get involved with the politics, we weren’t trying to shut them down, we were going to try and work with them and strengthen these indigenous communities, and of course put some money back into the pockets of these guys.”
David, “It’s amazing that that one vision you saw during your fishing career changed the course of your life completely. It changed not only your career but your priorities I guess, in a personal way as well, and I think that’s why it’s really important that people check out your website, and some of the video that you have online as well because they help you to visualise the scale and the scope of the problem. I have seen videos of a literal river of plastic, and I think people need to go and take a look at that.
I want to move onto that now, you’re out in Jakarta at the moment, the United Nations Environment program is meeting with 50 member states of the UN this week in Kenya, and one of the things that they’re talking about is the potential of a global plastics pact. One of the stats that they’ve released is that 2.7millions tons out of a total of 11millions tons of plastics which go into the ocean come down from rivers, so that’s something that you have been involved with and I think that’s partly where some of Dan and Mike Jordan’s involvement comes in as well. How do we get to the point where that much plastic is entering rivers and waterways?”
Kieran, “Well if you look at the bigger picture, nearly all the plastics that you see going in the ocean are coming from rivers. Looking around here in Indonesia, which is the second worst polluted country in the world, regarding their plastic waste. Over 90% of the plastic that ends up in the ocean here comes from the rivers. The sheer volume of plastic you see coming in at times is horrific. We collect plastics here that I’ve have seen come from the UK, Norway, Iceland, countries that you would never imagine. I post up photographs and videos of boxes and packaging from all over the world.
One of the big things that happened here for years, western countries ship their plastics overseas and our governments knowingly (or unknowingly) thought their plastics were going to end up in a recycling facility in the developed world, but of course that never happened. What happened was the plastic initially ended up inside the landfills. The landfills here are mountains, they are no longer what you would consider a landfill; there’s strobe light on top of the landfill so aircrafts don’t fly into them. The highest pieces of land here within the cities are the landfills. You cannot fit any more plastic waste within these landfills. So, what happens after that, of course they have to get rid of it. The vast majority passing through is being burnt here at the moment.”
Dan, “From the UK audience, when you say it’s being burned or incinerated, you typically think it goes into a proper Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) incinerator but that’s not the case. He means set fire too with no regulations in an open burn pit, and that is what happens on a regular basis which then directly links to a lot of deaths and lung disease.”
Kieran, “In 2020, 5.5million people ended up in hospital in Jakarta alone because of breathing problems due to air quality. 5.5million. Not because of COVID, just because of pollution. The burning of plastic here is a brutal problem and people are dying from the pollution in the cities on a massive scale, and nobody ever talks about that.”
Dan, “You see that at the coalface and part of the reason I have been so involved with Kieran is just the shocking stories and the want to be able to make a difference.
Kieran is involved with a shoe program where they donated thousands of pairs of schools a month to the local orphanages and schools where many of the children don’t have their own footwear. Many of them are also experiencing chemical burns on their legs from playing and washing in the rivers, and that’s the result of these big corporations dumping and polluted not just plastics but chemicals into the rivers. Kieran’s pretty much on the rivers most weeks if he’s not travelling, getting this information and data, and our goal is to end up changing that over the shortest period of time we can.
It’s not the bottles, it’s not the trays, they’ve all got their own commodity value in it, it has its own ability to fund itself. It’s the unrecyclable plastics that we’re targeting at RIO and the way we’re tackling that is collecting it on massive scale.”
Kieran, “We can collect 5000-6000 tons of that plastic in a week, that’s if we can move it. Looking at it where we are right now, 600-800 tons a week for recycling we’re collecting, is an easy task. But we’re opening a new factory here in Tangerang right now where we’re turning plastic into aggregate, and we’re then making blocks from that. We can make enough blocks here in a day to build 35 houses in a day. It’s a big volume of plastic that we can get rid of but again it’s only the tip of the iceberg, we must scale up from there, but of course that’s what we need to be able to look at, can we find customers in Europe and the UK where we can start bagging up thousands of tons of this aggregate and put it into building projects around the world? Corporations can actually take part and truly help clean our oceans.”
Dan, “Because they’re going to create this demand for this product, because we’ve moved on now from a few years ago where the status quo was if it’s not perfect, we don’t want it. Perfection in packaging is not required for a green future, I quite like that saying because it really pushes it back to the consumer wanting to have a little blemish in the packaging, or not having a perfectly clean surface. Recycling isn’t pretty and it needs to show it in the product, and we need that to be able to drive these businesses and brands to want to have that recycled content. It may look a little bit unsightly or have a little colour or pattern in the finishes and that’s going to come from using recycled product. In non-food applications of course, because getting into food applications is very tricky so we’re looking to take really difficult-to-recycle plastics, process it, shred it, get it into aggregate to be used in massive volume, so those sorts of companies we wanted to get onboard with us and work as a partnership. The massive CSR value in that is going to be great and actually just being able to realistically show the full audit trail of material from the cradle to grave, and then also we’ll be able to prove the carbon footprint of it. We do plastics offsets, carbon offsets for it as well.”
David, “Dan, you’ve touched on the involvement you and Summit Systems have had so far with RIO Oceans Integrity, but talk to us a little bit more about the net you have funded?”
Dan, “I went over to Denmark with Kieran a couple of weeks back now, and we met one of Kieran’s old contacts who’d been in the fishing industries for years, who make nets. Kieran’s come up with this design, we’ve [Summit Systems] just helped fund it through the recycling programs we’ve been doing with the aprons. Kieran invited me over to take a look and we were also getting local fishing businesses onboard to help with the net recycling program we’re doing with RIO.
With the net itself I’ll let Kieran explain, but essentially it is in transit at the moment, on its way over to Indonesia where Kieran will be receiving it. It’s 120m long by 20m deep and it’s going to be a static fixed line net in one of the main polluting rivers over there. There is a myriads of different pollutants coming down, a lot of them are microplastics as well, which aren’t your traditional microplastics or nurdles as some people call them, this is waste from a wash plants and the plastics washing plant takes in dirty plastic, shreds it up, washes it and when they go through the centrifuges the holes are typically 2mm screen sizes and anything sub 2mm comes out and is dumped into the river, as it’s the quickest and easiest way to get rid of it. A lot of these wash plants are situated on the river because of the ease of disposal. And that’s already a microplastics, it’s not already degraded due to the microplastics breaking down, it’s been dumped in that form. So, this net RIOs put in will be going down to around, when stretched out about 500 microns, so ½mm, and that will start to take out a lot of these microplastics.
A lot of companies do the ocean clean up and it’s all about show and showing the big pieces but that’s not necessarily the biggest issue, it’s the smaller issues we can’t see, the stuff underneath the surface. This isn’t a surface skimming net, it drops to 20m down. Also, we’re not dragging it, we’re not using two huge tugboats burning 30,000 litres a day of fuel, to pull this around, this is a static fixed line net at source. So that’s the idea, it gets collected and the material will then be going through a sorting facility at Kieran’s plant, and we will then take any of the unrecyclable material and then that gets blended into the concrete mix for the aggregate bricks which will then be used to build houses for local people, empowering local people doing the collections and manning the nets. Essentially there is going to be no carbon footprint with operating that net, apart from maybe the winching in and winching out, which is minimal.”
Kieran, “The MPED, Microplastic Elimination Device, when we started working on the device to target microplastics, one thing that everyone said to us was how’re we going to figure out waterflow. The flow of water that you’re talking about running through this is absolutely mindboggling. Once you start reducing the mesh size, you’re going to have to filter 4.2billion litres of water per hour, so you’re filtering that water from first side of the bag down to 500 microns and on to the backside where the meshes are closed, you’re down to about 50 microns. Every time we tried it, the problem we had was the waterflow, but we then started working with a company in Denmark, who were a net making company I’d known for years.
Previously we could never figure it out, I started working on it about 5/6 years ago when I was a sea, just before I sold the companies. I was in Alaska and had just started taking the nets back on a miserable night with storm force conditions, and I watched the waters from the cavitate inside the net, and when it did you could see the meshes opening up and you could see water and fish escaping because the nets get slack, and I remember saying “That’s it!” and my first mate says “Are you ok, Captain?”, and I said, “That’s it, forget about it, that’s it, I know it!” So, we went back to the flume tank, and we put separate chambers on the back side of the net, we reduced the size of the mesh, and we created all these independent pockets and then the water would deadhead, it would go in the chamber and create a cavitation, but a water cavitating and actually the water itself even though this tiny mesh, the water itself would escape a true cavitation of plastic stays inside the net, going from chamber to chamber all the way to the very back section. Once in the back section, every few hours, we’d lift the back section up and empty it and keep going from there.
What makes the MPED very different, if you look at the few companies that have river collection devices, they have aluminium barges with conveyor belts and skimmer devices that stop for the most part, PET bottles on the surface, something that has a value. So, they collect those bottles, but over 90% of the plastics they caught goes underneath these skim devices. If you look at the environmental space as a whole, companies need to look at where their money is going and how much plastic is being collected with the money they are contributing by sponsoring these companies. Right now, it’s anywhere from thousands of dollars per kilo to hundreds of dollars per kilo. On the very low side, it’s $4 to $5 but most companies are in the thousands, and of course they are never going to move the volume of plastic out of our ocean unless you can cut down the collection price. Companies need to get something in return for that, and with companies like ourselves onboard we collect a great big tonnage of plastic, and we can offset any companies’ plastic footprint through the kilos of plastic which we collect.
For instance, say a companies plastic footprint is 1000 tons, by us collecting 1000 tons of plastic from the ocean, not just collecting it but recycling it also, and then using it in the social program to build homes. We can offer that to any company. We eliminate their plastic footprint firstly by collecting plastic, their recycling initiatives that they have to have due to the new laws that are coming through, we can give them the recycling credits. We recycle 100% of this so called non-recyclable plastic, and of course we build homes, which is a massive problem here [in Jakarta]. We pass all of that on to any company who wants to take part in it for a fraction of the cost. These are real programs, there’s no greenwashing attached to these, you can sponsor a family to get into a house, we can give you the names of the families and you can keep in touch with them. Children will be able to go to school and learn, rather than begging on the sides of the streets, looking to make 20 or 30 cents an hour to try and help feed their family.
If you don’t connect the dots, we’re never going to fix the problem here. Poverty and pollution go hand in hand. Unless you can fix the problem of poverty, you’re never going to fix the problem of pollution. The beauty of this program, we can actually get people in homes as there is currently a shortage of 3 million homes at the moment, the Indonesia government tells us. We have a great relationship here with the government, meeting them on a weekly basis. There are currently situations where they have 15-20 people living inside a building that’s not much bigger than the average UK sized living room.”
David, “It’s shocking. To round this off, I’m really getting the impression that this is not an anti-plastics movement. Our listeners will be from the plastics industry, what you would say to them Kieran, what would you want from them and how can they engage with you and get involved? The way that you work with Dan and his colleagues is unique and you’ve worked collaboratively with them, but I know you want to work with other stakeholders from the plastics industry, so what would your key takeaway be for them?”
Kieran, “We want to be real about everything we do. One thing I want to say first before I answer that, plastic is not really the problem, we cannot turn around and point fingers at companies and say they’re polluting our oceans because that’s just not the case. They never threw a plastic bottle into the ocean. The problem is it is coming from individuals and with that it’s a case of educating people and showing people how we can use plastic for the better good to enhance communities. We need help from corporations as we can constantly scale this up. We want to be able to build tens of thousands of houses a year. Our goal is to be able to handle 50,000-60,000 tons of plastic a month, and that is a figure that we will meet, and we will collect. And we can do that with any companies, we’re real programs, instead of these “feel-good” programs. We can connect the dots from start to finish, from the collection of the plastic to the recycling and then the social program.
If you look at any large corporations, like with stakeholders in the industry, the question you must ask yourself, what are you getting at the moment for these programs that you’re pumping money into? Companies are trying to do the right thing, they’re looking for proper programs, but they need a program there that actually works, that they can be involved with and truly save our oceans. They shouldn’t be looking at a program where something says, ‘ocean bound plastic’, that’s plastic that will probably never make its way into the ocean but ‘true problem plastic’, plastic that is in the rivers, on the riverbeds, plastics that’s already in the ocean and on the ocean floor, plastics that’s creating a massive problem, they can be involved with collecting that which will eliminate your plastic footprint by doing so. At the same time, we’ll recycle 100% of that plastic, every single scrap of plastic will be recycling and of course we can build the homes. We’d love anyone in the industry, any stakeholders in the industry to come onboard.
Let’s fix the problems that we have on this planet but let’s deal with them in a way that makes sense, that’s not going to break the bank doing it.”
David, “Dan, final word from you, you and Mike are well-known figures in the UK plastics industry, what would you say to friends and colleagues?
Dan, “This is a really unique program that can actually instruct real change. It’s not one of these ‘ocean bound plastic programs’, where there’s not enough tonnage so they have to use the ‘bound’ to collect material that 50km from the watercourse, this is genuine, out of river from the worst polluted areas, which is why we’re getting involved, so anybody else who wants to show support or offset their plastic, and really make a difference, this would be a great program to get involved with. It’s very easy to target plastics as a bad thing but we all know that the carbon footprint associated with say, moving back to glass is way bigger than plastics and that’s just going to be fuelling a bigger wave behind the plastics space, but as we know reduction of carbon footprint is hugely important for everybody on the planet. Those are my parting words for it, thanks so much for having us on.”
David, “My pleasure. Kieran, thanks for joining us and you as well Dan, it’s been great to talk to you both. “
Summit Systems have partnered with Oceans Integrity in a bid to drastically improve the ocean clean-up movement.
Did you know that in Indonesia there is up to 7.5m of plastic waste floating under the ocean surface? Summit Systems are proud to have partnered with RIO Oceans Integrity to help mitigate further plastic pollution and rid our oceans, beaches, and rivers of difficult-to-recycle waste plastic around the world, develop new recycling opportunities to prevent plastic materials from entering the waste stream, and educate communities internationally on the tragedy occurring with plastic deposits in our oceans.
Leading the way with this initiative from Summit Systems is Dan Jordan, alongside RIO’s CEO Kieran Kelly. The work Kieran is doing in Indonesia is nothing short of amazing and it is sickening to see the amount of plastic waste that is accumulating across our oceans and rivers.
Jordan was first introduced to Kelly in September 2021 off the back of a LinkedIn post, where Kieran sought a UK recycling professional to help oversee the collection and recycling of 1200 tons of plastic film disposable aprons. These aprons were over-ordered and out-of-specification, initially purchased for the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic but were on route to landfill due to high storage costs.
50% of the profit from the NHS Apron Recycling was invested into RIO, making Summit Systems a key investor of this green initiative. The team at Summit Systems are keen to share this mission with the plastics industry to raise awareness and increase support for such a worthwhile cause.
With the money invested, RIO is removing substantial amounts of plastic from the
rivers and oceans in the Jakarta region of Indonesia, one of the most polluted nations on the planet. These plastics consist of food wraps and laminate packaging which have zero commercial value and are challenging to recycle using traditional methods. At RIO, they are repurposing this material and blending it into aggregate creating building bricks, used to build houses for local communities. The bricks boast huge carbon savings as opposed to traditional concrete. The process utilises waste materials, provides jobs in the local area and removes copious amounts of plastic from our rivers and oceans.
Dan Jordan, “Kieran’s infectious passion and drive to really clean up our oceans has motivated me to get involved with RIO, so we can tell the next generation that we really did try to fix this global problem. Actions speak louder than words, and that is what drew me into RIO. I am excited to be part of the change.”
The ocean plastics collected by RIO are predominantly low grade, challenging plastics. Typically, bottles are not the issue, but laminate films and flexible food packaging. These grades being collected cannot be recycled into everyday items due to the contamination and mixed polymer types, making it unsuitable for traditional moulding of products. Oceans Integrity have found the solution.
Kieran Kelly, CEO of Oceans Integrity, “Here at RIO we can collect significantly large volumes as opposed to other clean-up operations. We are focused on empowering fishermen and working with local Indigenous people to facilitate the collection of excessive amounts of material.”
Oceans Integrity are working meticulously to rectify this growing issue of ocean plastics, creating a better planet and a more sustainable future, and Summit Systems are proud and excited to be a part of it.
Robert Last has been appointed as the new Finance Director at Summit Systems Ltd, from February 2022, following the retirement of Colin Walters who stepped down from his position after 5 years with the business.
Mr. Last commented, “I am delighted to be joining the business at such a vital time in the industry and look forward to aiding in the growth of the company. One of the things that attracted me to Summit Systems is the culture, not only are they renowned within the industry but the people within the business made the decision easy for me. There has been impressive growth over the last couple of years and there is clearly an ambition to continue that upward trajectory.”
Robert is an experienced business professional who joins Summit Systems building on a successful career as Finance Director across a number of businesses, and with extensive experience in this position will be bringing fresh and innovative ideas to the business. He has 20 years’ experience in financial management, providing professional support and advice to senior decision makers throughout his career.
Mike Jordan, Managing Director at Summit Systems “It is a pleasure to welcome Robert to the business. I am confident his knowledge and experience will help transform the business as we continue to drive sustainable growth and deliver quality service and products to our customers, maintaining our position as leaders within the plastics industry.”
Robert joins Mike Jordan, Managing Director; Matthew Ross, Sales Director; and Ian Lowe, Operations Director on the Board of Directors at Summit Systems Ltd.
Sales Director Matthew Ross is next to face the PlastikMedia Hot Seat…
Summit Systems has been an industry-leading supplier of ancillary equipment and machinery to the UK plastics market for over 30 years now, meeting customers’ needs for more efficient and less wasteful production since 1989.
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Summit Systems respond?
Energy prices will have a massive effect on the cost of manufacturing. At Summit Systems, we have a range of products to help combat energy use, such as the Maguire ULTRA vacuum dryer, which can use up to 80% less energy compared to conventional desiccant dryers.
With the Plastics Packaging Tax coming into effect in April this year, forcing people to use lower grade materials that could potentially require better conditioning, Summit Systems are helping the industry to keep up to date with this confusing legislation, and we’re constantly looking to ensure all the systems are future-proofed in the plastic packaging sector. We’ve invested heavily in our electronic and software division to cater to the Industry 4.0 development.
With the current events in Eastern Europe, material shortages could occur, such as RPET which is heavily sourced from Russia.
How has Summit Systems developed during your tenure?
Since I’ve been at Summit Systems, we have had the addition of the Process Cooling division which contributes to 20% of our business and we foresee this being a big growth area of the business.
I have also enabled Mike Jordan to have 12 weeks holiday a year! 😂
What do you credit as the key to your success?
I started life as a Maintenance Engineer in injection moulding and have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people with huge amounts of experience, who I have been able to absorb a great amount of knowledge off.
You can’t learn experience in a classroom, so being able to call off more experienced people from within the industry for advice has been vital to my progression.
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
Working for Mike Jordan 😂
Becoming a Director during the COVID pandemic was challenging, it was a very turbulent time and trying to predict the marketplace was nearly impossible.
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining now?
I wish the advice I had received when I entered the industry had encompassed all aspects of the industry, rather than just my focussed area. For anyone entering the industry now, be very open-minded as this industry has many avenues you can go down.
What hidden talents do you have?
If you ask me at the PIAs, I’ll show you…
Matt is the second Director from Summit Systems to participate in the ‘Hot Seat’ with PlastikMedia, view Mike Jordans Q&A here.