Renewcell, an award-winning textile-to-textile recycling company based in Sweden, will receive automation, electrification, quality control systems, motors, and drives from the Swiss company, ABB.
A former SCA paper mill in Sundsvall, Sweden, will be transformed into the world's first commercial-scale recycling factory for cellulosic textiles – which are made by dissolving natural materials like cellulose and then regenerating them to make a variety of fabrics – thanks to ABB technology. Renewcell already collaborates with a number of fashion brands, and in 2020, it will begin multi-year cooperation with H&M.
Textile fibers created from Renewcell's recycled raw material consume about 50 liters of freshwater per kilogram in production, compared to 1,600 liters for cotton and 90 liters for viscose, according to Renewcell’s preliminary calculations. In addition, the process reduces waste, plastic pollution, and CO2 and chemical emissions. Furthermore, using recycled fabric can assist firms in following through on their pledges to lessen their negative impact.
Clothing recycling is similar to pulp drying in that it breaks down cellulose in cotton and viscose textiles so that they can be recycled into new raw materials. This similarity enables Renewcell to use the SCA mill's existing infrastructure, such as buildings, and the delivery and processing of raw water, wastewater, compressed air, and energy. This will be combined with ABB's experience in paper and robotics to produce recycled textiles that would otherwise end up in landfills or incinerated.
ABB brings domain expertise from the pulp and paper sector, such as specific techniques to regulate the pulp dryer – a piece of equipment previously used to dry raw wood pulp for paper and packaging – and process-specific quality control knowledge. Based on testing on a pilot machine, Renewcell sought weight and moisture measurements.
The market-leading process control system ABB Ability System 800xA is one of the ABB technologies that will be deployed in the new facility. From a central command center, operators will have extensive visibility and precise control, ensuring that production is as resource-efficient as possible, with less material consumption and waste. ABB's PMC800 drive systems will also lower the total cost of ownership across the automation lifespan and enhance energy efficiency in manufacturing. ABB will also provide ACS880 variable speed drives (VSDs) and IE4 ultra-premium efficient motors, which are more efficient than the EU Ecodesign-mandated IE3 standard. When high-efficiency motors are combined with VSDs, energy consumption in flow-controlled pulp and paper applications can be reduced by 30% or more.
Patrik Lundström, CEO of Renewcell, said that the ABB team demonstrated its unique ability to deliver a complete automation and electrification solution. It offers the knowledge, presence, and experience that they require to keep this project on schedule and within budget.
ABB's chief communications and sustainability officer, Theodor Swedjemark, said that as a technology firm, they think that electrification and automation technologies can play a vital role in modernizing industries and decreasing their environmental imprint. With this contract, they will be able to put our extensive pulp and paper expertise and project management experience to work with Renewcell to help them cut emissions, conserve resources, and eventually alter fashion for the better.
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