Regeneration of Liquid RIM Components from Solid RIM Waste 931033
RIM polyurethanes are used extensively by the Automotive Industry for fascia and body trim applications. As with all manufacturing processes, some quantity of waste product is generated. In the case of RIM, it is mostly gates, runners, and imperfect parts. As the environmental and economic demands to recycle continue to increase, it will become more important that all options for recycling be exploited.
In Europe, for example, the pressures to recycle are already great. Major European RIM molders are currently recycling in-house or supplying RIM waste materials to add value to other products. This will most certainly also be the situation in the United States in the not too distant future.
There are several technically viable methods to recycle RIM. These include adhesive molding, compression molding, chemolysis, pyrolysis, and 3 stream technology, One of the most recent methods of recycling RIM is just being put into production at European RIM molders. That is, chemical regeneration of liquid RIM components from solid RIM scrap; one of the chemolysis methods. Since this process uses glycols to regenerate the RIM components, the process is referred to more specifically as glycolysis.
This paper explains the process of regenerating RIM components via a new glycolysis process. This process of preparing the RIM scrap, performing the glycolysis, and making of “new again” RIM parts will be explained. Physical property data for RIM parts made from regenerated RIM components are presented. Other applications of the regenerated RIM components for door panels and interior trim are also discussed.