How do we... Sharpen our Crushing Blades?
First, let's explain what these Crushing Blades are and why they're so important to our operation.
As you might know, we buy plastic from the community. Then we sort it by colour and type (eg. PET, HDPE). Then, we need to crush it down into plastic flakes, which are small granules that are easy to recycle in new products, as they can be easily fed into moulds and extruder machines.
For example, some of the plastic we commonly recycle are plastic bottles, so this means we crush the bottles down into small flakes of plastic (pictured right - Andy sprinkles flakes into Regina's hands). From there, the flake can be easily recycled into Eco-Products (bricks, pavers, lumber) by feeding it into the appropriate mould/extruder machines.
And this is where the Crushing Blaes come in, as these are what turns typical plastic waste (eg. plastic bottles) into plastic flakes, ready for recycling.
These blades (pictured left) are made of steel and operate inside our industrial-sized Crushing Machine. Powered by a motor, they spin extremely quickly (like helicopter blades), chopping plastic waste into plastic flake.
Within the Crushing Machine, there will be multiple blades operating at once to shred even the toughest plastic waste! We refer to these groups of blades at our HQ as 'sets of blades'.
Like knives need to be sharpened periodically, so do the blades as they become dull due to the friction created by shredding tonne after tonne of plastic waste. We sharpen the blades at least every month, and sometimes more if we're especially busy recycling high quantities of plastic. This maintains our recycling efficiency.
We have at least two sets of blades on-site at any one time, so if one set is being sharpened, the other one can be used in the Crushing Machine. This ensures we're recycling continuously and there's no pause in our recycling (or impact creation!).
To sharpen the blades, we place them in a Grinding Machine. Once activated, the grinding mechanism moves up and down, gradually sharpening the blade so it is ready to turn more plastic into flake. The grinder moves to ensure the whole blade is sharpened from tip to tip. The machine can sharpen a whole set of blades in a few hours, ensuring the process is completed efficiently and safely.
You can watch the video of a blade being sharpened by the Grinding Machine at our HQ here, which helps us to maintain recycling efficiency, and in turn, green job creation.