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New RECIPE for energy-saving in plastics launched by Faraday Plastics and Rapra Technology

Rapra Technology Limited : 08 April, 2005  (Company News)
A radical new programme for saving energy and associated cost in plastics
processing is now underway in Europe.
A radical new programme for saving energy and associated cost in plastics
processing is now underway in Europe. Launched at Rapra Technology last
month, and entitled RECIPE (standing for Reduced Energy Consumption in
Plastics Engineering), the multi European venture involves partner
organisations from six European countries that are now set to establish and
promote best energy-saving practice in plastics processing across Europe.
The initiative is part of the European Commission’s Intelligent Energy –
Europe programme.

Thousands of European plastics processors will be invited to take part in a
benchmarking survey this year. The plastics processing industry will also be
invited to assist in the development of an ‘energy manager’s toolkit’ and in
developing a cost-of-ownership model for plastics processing equipment. The
RECIPE initiative was established by the Faraday Plastics and Polymers
Partnership and will be administered by Rapra Technology, Europe’s leading
polymer research and test house.

Rebecca Dolbey, project leader, says that ‘the overall objective of the
proposed action is to provide the European plastics processing industry with
the knowledge, justification and tools required to reduce energy
consumption, through the implementation of best practice, and the adoption
of new technology.’

Dolbey adds that ‘there are more than 27,000 companies in the EU that
specialise in plastics processing, employing around 1 million people, many
in small and medium sized enterprises. Every one of these enterprises has
the potential to save energy, and thus reduce or contain their energy bill.’

Plastics processing is a well-documented consumer of electricity for motors
and drives, heating, cooling, and lighting. However, there is currently a
tendency to view energy costs as fixed overheads. A key aim of the proposed
new RECIPE programme will therefore be to alter this perception, and to
demonstrate that energy purchase should be considered as a variable
materials cost, with substantial potential for reductions to be made.

Many of RECIPE’s target companies are processing substantial volumes of
commodity materials, for applications in highly cost-driven markets such as
packaging, domestic goods, and construction. They are currently facing
intense competition from lower wage economies, as well as significant
increases in the prices they pay for energy. Thus many will be receptive to
a cost-driven message, which will ultimately lead to reduced energy
consumption across plastics processing.

RECIPE research has shown that if it were possible to reduce energy
consumption across plastics processing in Europe by 10%, this would then
result in an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 3 million
tonnes. In the UK, Action Energy estimated that savings of 15% could be made
in the sector by undertaking simple measures of the type prescribed in best
practice. In addition, various currently available ‘energy saving’
technologies claim savings of between 5 and 45% on component processes.
RECIPE therefore considers that an average saving of 10% is achievable
within all companies that can be encouraged to engage with the proposed

In the UK, the new RECIPE work will interface with the pioneering work from
Faraday Plastics on energy and energy management. Faraday is set to do
further work on its Technology Road Map for low energy polymer processing
–published last year. An initial consultation with industry experts resulted
in a 15-year strategy, which will be developed and refined over time.

Rapra and Faraday Plastics’ partners in the project include the BPF, who
bring to the consortium their experience in providing best practice guidance
to UK industry.

Rebecca Dolbey
Rapra Technology
+44 1939 250383

Faraday Plastics was established by the UK's DTI in 2000 - as one of a
number of manufacturing industry Faradays.

The Faraday Plastics mission is stated as 'enabling research to meet the
critical technological challenges of the plastics sector. '

Faraday Plastics will provide the framework for:

· Core strategic research to underpin business opportunities
· Effective technology translation
· Analyses of the technological issues/driving forces that shape the industry
· A technically educated, market oriented, skills base

The Faraday Plastics partnership is led by Rapra Technology, Europe's
leading polymer research and testing house. Supporting Faraday Plastics
partners include; Strathclyde University, Warwick Manufacturing Group,
Bradford University, MERL, Institute of Materials, British Plastics
Federation, and GTMA. Part of the Faraday Plastics mission is to ensure that
the industry and the research community are fully engaged with each other

· Front-end industrial involvement in defining and shaping research priorities
· Continuous access from both sides into Faraday's network of skills and
· resources
· Exploiting plastics research for tangible business benefit
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