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MEI Online: Magnetic/Electrical Separation: Latest News: October 11th 2004


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:: De-inking Technology Improves

Novel high-power ultrasound processing and magnetic separation technologies now enable printed inks to be separated from fibres using reduced volumes of chemicals, when compared to current de-inking technologies, thanks to research carried out at the Valmistustekniikka Turvallisuustekniikka, (VTT), the Technical Research Centre in Finland.

During collection of waste paper feedstock for recycling, digitally printed office wastepaper paper is mixed with household wastepaper When conventional de-inking technologies such as flotation and washing are used this admixture leads to poorer de-inking results, and a proportion of so-called 91zero fibres92 or unexploitable fibres remains.

The proportion of digitally printed wastepaper is rising, and while washing and flotation is acceptable for household wastepaper, it is less suitable for digitally printed paper, as digitally printed ink detaches from the fibres in large particles. In this new technique high-power ultrasound is used to split the ink particles into a suitable size for further processing by floatation and to encourage their detachment from the fibres. This results in reduced use of chemicals and energy, and minimises zero fibres, reducing the burden on the environment.

The use of this new technology will bring distinct quality improvements in end-products, particularly in the manufacture of soft tissues. The research group at the VTT are developing pilot-scale equipment, and aim to apply magnetic separation and ultrasound treatment techniques to office wastepaper.



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