1998-02-23

Reclamation of Urethane Foam from Automotive Seats 980095

As part of projects conducted for the PolyUrethanes Recycle & Recovery Council (PURRC), various equipment and processes have been utilized to isolate the useable polyurethane foam in post consumer automobile seats. The overall purpose of the project was to design a “turn key” process to isolate the components of seats removed from autos into polyurethane foam, steel, and fabric and other coverings.The projects were conducted in two phases:The objective of Phase I - (Primary Size Reduction) was to compare the capital cost, throughput, and product quality (particle size and coverings/metal liberation) associated with the primary size reduction of whole auto seats. Three types of size reduction equipment were considered: shear shredders, rotary grinders, and ring mills. Based on these comparisons it was concluded that a ring mill was the best option.The objectives of Phase II - (Process and Logistics) were to: 1. Determine any foam quality issues that might affect the design of the separation process. 2. Determine an effective process that can be used to separate the foam from pre-ground auto seats. 3. Estimate capital cost for the process. 4. Investigate designing the process for portable installation. 5. Determine any logistical issues involved in locating the process at a shredder or dismantler. The conclusions of Phase II were: 1. Covering contamination in the foam should be less then 5 %. 2. Air aspiration equipment can effectively separate foam from pre-ground auto seats. 3. Estimated costs for the major pieces of equipment was estimated to be about $840,000. 4. The portable plant option is not logistically or economically viable. 5. The process should be located at a large dismantler. The results of this project reveal that technologies exist to recycle post consumer automotive auto seats to produce scrap urethane foam for use in carpet under-layment, or as a feed stock for the glycolosis or powder recycling processes. Additional work needs to be undertaken to understand the business viability of the process.

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