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V4 Styrofoam Workspace [Cutting + Shredding]

Carolina caroespinozaj

V4 Styrofoam Workspace [Cutting + Shredding]

12/02/2019 at 15:20

Hi everyone! My name is Carolina i’m currently in Eindhoven and the next few months i’ll be working on designing a Styrofoam Workspace for Version 4, in order to make more efficient this process, because, as everybody may know, Styrofoam it’s hardly ever recycled, because of the high costs involved in transportation due to the amount of air it has inside (98%).

Maybe if you ever tried to recycle this material with the Precious Plastic machines, you might have noticed that they are not designed for this kind of waste, so, for example, when I first tried with the shredder, the first thing I realised was that the eps tends to jump a lot while shredding because of its low weight. This also meant that the shredding process was really slow compared to other types of plastics. After a while, it started to accumulate a lot of styrofoam in the shredder because it couldn’t easily go through the mesh, also because of the low weight and it diameter was only 4 mm.  After a while, the material started melting in the shredder because of the friction (image 1).

After this experience I realized 3 things:

1) There’s no need to use solvents to transform de EPS into PS

2) The material definitely needs a particular technique for recycling it (priority: find ways to grab/shred more material in less time).

3) It needs a vacuum system in order to make the shredding process as clean as possible (static issue)

So the main goal is to make this whole process: 

– Cheap

– Efficient

– Clean

– Hopefully with the least amount of steps as possible

First idea of the line production for the Styrofoam Workspace:1) Storage:

Thinking about ways to storage the material before recycling it, I was thinking that is always a big issue, because even though you have a really large bag to storage it, the irregular and big shapes of this type of material doesn’t allows to optimize the space in the bag. So considering this and the fact that a low-tech shredder will not be able to shred such big pieces of Styrofoam and anyway you’ll need to “pre-cut” it, I was looking for ways to optimize the storage and at the same time, have a reasonable size for the shredder, but, the aim was to do it without leaving eps everywhere, so, instead of using a hand saw (for example), an idea was to use the most common way to cut this material easily: hot wires, but in a different presentation than we all know (Image 2), to make it work faster only with the action of heat and gravity.

2) Shredding:

As I already mentioned, shredding styrofoam with the PP shredder doesn’t work very well, or not as we would like. So, looking for ways to recycle this waste easily, I came up with some interesting videos that made me realize that we really don’t need a sophisticated machine and too much force to shred styrofoam. Go to these links:



3) Pelletize

4) Inject

So in this topic I invite you to discuss of Cutting + Shredding processes for Styrofoam you know/ have experienced!


To talk about melting processes (extrusion/ pelletizing/ Injection, etc for styrofoam) go to:http://onearmy.world/community/forums/topic/v4-styrofoam-workspace-melting/#post-138920

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