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Launching The Proper Capsules

Launching The Proper Capsules
23 Apr 2020  |
An Eriez Service Center eddy current separator retrofit helps a Nespresso capsule recycling effort reach its potential.

Magnetic equipment made by Eriez can serve its original or succeeding owners for decades. That is thanks in part to its design and durability, but also because of the knowledge and effort of Eriez Service Center associates.

Andover, New Jersey-based recycling and composting firm Ag Choice LLC is a recent beneficiary of the Eriez Service know-how. When the company acquired a preowned Eriez eddy current separator (ECS), it turned to the Service Center to help it retrofit and upgrade the unit for a unique application.

According to Ag Choice Founder and President Jay Fischer, the company’s involvement in a Nespresso coffee capsule recycling program confronted it with a growing sorting task: separating the aluminum-content Nespresso capsules from other pods that contained no aluminum. Also needing to be sorted out was a variety of contaminants.

“People put all kinds of items in the [program return] bags that should not be in there, such as corks, bottle caps, batteries, kitchen utensils, non-Nespresso coffee pods, and even a kitchen faucet,” says Fischer. “When we first started, we would remove all these items manually off the sort line. This was slow, required additional manpower, and was not very efficient. I needed to find a better solution to resolve these contamination issues.”

The pre-owned Eriez ECS was a significant part of the solution, in addition to a bag-ripping machine and a crossbelt magnet to remove ferrous content. The Nespresso aluminum capsules “jump the gap” on the ECS splitter, “and all the other non-Nespresso capsule items fall down into the gap onto another conveyor for further processing,” states Fischer. Another machine separates the coffee grounds from the aluminum, and the recovered aluminum is sold to a scrap buyer while the coffee grounds go to Ag Choice’s compost site.

Fischer purchased his preowned ECS from a third party. Shortly after, he forwarded it to the Eriez Service Center, and then visited the Erie, Pennsylvania, Service Center and company headquarters. “When I was there, I had them go through the machine to be sure everything was operating as it should, and install new bearings and a new conveyor belt,” he comments.

Also while in Erie, says Fischer, “I was able to see the facility, see what makes these machines unique, and meet some amazing people at Eriez.”

He singles out Shannon Onderko, manager of the Eriez Aftermarket Service & Spare Parts Team, as his “point person,” saying, “She was able to direct me to all the appropriate staff members to help me on the install. Everyone was courteous, professional, and knowledgeable. For me, having access to people who know the product and are willing to offer assistance—and not charge you for each second of their time—is extremely valuable.”

Says Fischer of the installation, “After I brought the ECS to the plant to have them go through it, I was confident that it would run trouble-free for many years to come.” He doesn’t hesitate to add, “I would highly recommend Eriez Magnetics and will be using them on future installations.”

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Eriez is recognized as the world authority in separation technologies. The company’s magnetic separation, metal detection, material handling, fluid recycling and advanced flotation technologies have application in the mining, processing, packaging, food, recycling, aggregate, plastics...

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