Greater paper recycling efficiency

A newly set up pulper (dissolver) now enables Erfurt & Sohn to truly work in parallel, so that raw materials and nonwoven waste can be simultaneously dissolved and fed back into production.

Recycled paper is one of the most important raw materials in paper production. The Erfurt Group is now returning the paper waste generated in wallpaper production back to production in a closed cycle. Raw materials, such as waste paper, cellulose and nonwoven waste material can all be recycled. Up to now, this could only be done in an alternating fashion. A newly set up pulper (dissolver) now enables Erfurt & Sohn to truly work in parallel, so that raw materials and nonwoven waste can be simultaneously dissolved and fed back into production. 

Erfurt has been supplying nonwoven wallcoverings since 1995. They are extremely popular and their share of production is constantly growing. This is not surprising, as the innovative wallcovering is extremely hard-wearing, abrasion-resistant, dimensionally stable, and also covers cracks. Nonwoven wallcoverings can also be hung by do-it-yourself enthusiasts using the paste-the-wall technique, where the wall is pasted instead of the wallcovering. Their excellent wet strength is one of the outstanding features of nonwoven materials – a property that makes it difficult to recycle the material. 

Higher output, lower energy consumption
Erfurt & Sohn uses its own system to produce recycled material – in which waste paper, cellulose and even nonwoven waste material can be dissolved. The crux of the matter: up to now, it was possible to process either paper or nonwoven materials, but not both simultaneously. Erfurt therefore decided to build a high-efficiency new plant to return all its nonwoven waste to the production cycle. The new operational solution essentially shares the workload: while a new pulper takes care of the cellulose and waste paper, a separate line dissolves the nonwoven waste. The material is then prepared by the fast and intensive mixing of the suspension. The clever part? The new plant impressively consumes 20% less energy than its predecessor. This saving is further increased by the restructuring of the external transport lines – the feed conveyor is now located directly adjacent to the recycled paper and raw material storage areas so that materials enter the pulper along the shortest possible route.

Commitment to the environment and employees
Erfurt & Sohn is sending a clear signal in terms of environmental protection, sustainability and social responsibility in economically turbulent times with a seven-digit euro investment in a highly efficient, modern system for dissolving raw materials. The environmentally friendly recycled paper and cellulose processing plant now in operation on the Wupper River, will save considerable amounts of energy while conserving valuable resources. Just as impressive is the bold commitment by the traditional company to its German location and its willingness to safeguard existing jobs: with its new high-efficiency plant, the management of the company is explicitly stressing its need to maintain all the jobs associated with the old, decommissioned plant.

The new pulper at Erfurt’s company premises: the feed conveyor, which resembles a conveyor belt, is located adjacent to the raw material storage area, so that the materials can be conveyed to the recycling plant along the shortest possible route. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

Celebrating the initial commissioning of the new Erfurt pulper by the management. From left to right: Henrik Erfurt, Felicitas Erfurt-Gordon and Martin Erfurt. (Photo: Erfurt wallcoverings)

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