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:
Determine any foam quality issues that might affect the design of the separation process.
Determine an effective process that can be used to separate the foam from pre-ground auto seats.
Estimate capital cost for the process.
Investigate designing the process for portable installation.
Determine any logistical issues involved in locating the process at a shredder or dismantler.
The conclusions of Phase II were:
Covering contamination in the foam should be less then 5 %.
Air aspiration equipment can effectively separate foam from pre-ground auto seats.
Estimated costs for the major pieces of equipment was estimated to be about $840,000.
The portable plant option is not logistically or economically viable.
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.