The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

The magazine of Friedhelm Loh Group

Plastics in the procurement crisis
Experience – Platics

Bioplastics et al.

Which bioplastics are really bio? What is meant by “true” recycling and what is regranulating? What advantages does paper injection moulding have over conventional plastic injection moulding? Questions upon questions. We will give you a little overview.

Text Text: Meinolf Droege ––– Photography


Cellulose and natural admixes such as chalk, starch and biological dye pigments are the ingredients for an emerging new variant of injection moulding, commonly just called paper injection moulding. It can be used to manufacture products that look and feel as if they are made of plastic, but can nonetheless be disposed of in the household composting bin after use. Other benefits include its antistatic properties and particularly low weight. LKH has already taken initial packaging technology projects quite far. Experts anticipate paper injection moulding will achieve a carbon footprint around 85 per cent smaller than that of standard plastics.


“True” recycling means that used plastic is reused in products to the same or at least a similarly high level as the first use.

Biobased plastics are made of renewable raw materials unlike conventional plastics, which are made of mineral oil.



LKH has wide-ranging experience with using various recycled materials and qualifying them for existing and new products. An efficient waste management system also constantly monitors the proportion of recycled material and thus delivers data to help calculate the carbon footprint. An average of around 30 per cent of the material used at LKH is recycled, and that number is rising. Here are two examples:

Corner bracket (top): The corner fastening element for enclosure bases has to take a lot of strain. In collaboration with Rittal, it has been developed using 100% recycled granulate. This has reduced the need for new plastic by the same amount.

End plate (bottom)::The complex, intricate design keeps the weight low despite a high level of rigidity. The product was developed in conjunction with a film manufacturing customer, and consists to 100 per cent of reclaimed and ground material. Its carbon footprint is around 70 per cent lower than when using new material.


LKH grinds the start-up parts or sprues directly in its production facility and this ground material is then generally fed back into the production process immediately in a custom-defined proportion. It replaces new material to a high percentage. This cuts costs in production and makes the new materials that are so hard to acquire in the current crisis go further.


Regranulation is often a suitable option for other production waste, used plastic parts or even plastics from household recycling schemes. Specialist service providers melt down these plastics and use additives to bring them back up to the quality of new material. It is also possible to give plastics created in this way new characteristics. Regranulated material is traded in the same way as new plastic or produced for a specific customer.

More interesting reads

— Engineering
VX25 enclosure

The VX25 put to the test

— Information technology
Computer centres for smart cities

Smart City Songdo – the city that thinks

— Energy
Software for wind farms

Successful experiment in the wire harness