AWS Eco Plastics’ Recycling Plant, Hemswell Cliff

AWS Eco Plastics’ Recycling Plant, Hemswell Cliff

Project: AWS Eco Plastics’ Recycling Plant, Hemswell Cliff
Product: Purlins
Scale: A £10m facility, covering 9,000m2 and including 40 tons of Metsec purlins.
Engineer: Peter Eaton & Associates
Fabricator: Robinson Steel Structures
Installer: Robinson Steel Structures

Metsec has supplied approximately 40 tons of lightweight cold-roll formed steel purlins to help create the largest and most technologically advanced plastic bottle recycling facility in Europe.

The new £10m facility, at Hemswell Cliff in Lincolnshire, replaces AWS Eco Plastics’ bottle-sorting and storage facilities, which were destroyed by fire shortly after opening in August 2009.

At 9000m2, with an eaves height of over 16m, the new structure is around twice the size of the original, allowing for future capacity expansion.

Hemswell is the largest plastic bottle sorting plant in the UK. The new recycling sort line and facility has the capacity to process upwards of 140,000 tonnes per annum. The creation of this new facility is being seen as a further positive step towards driving UK recycling rates towards levels comparable with other European countries.

The majority of the plastic bottles processed by AWS Eco Plastics end up being granulated into a flake at the plant, prior to sale to plastic companies in the UK and overseas. Over 70% of it is food-grade PET or HDPE. The remainder can be used to create a wide variety of new plastic products, including fleece jackets, pipes, packaging and toys.

Fire is a persistent hazard as plastic bottles sent for recycling can retain residues of unknown highly flammable liquids previously stored in them. The new building is therefore split into three distinct fire zones, each with their own fire protection. Both the Environment Agency and Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service had an input into the planning for the new facility.

Robinson Steel Structures was appointed to construct the new building. With their extensive experience in the fabrication and erection of steel framed buildings, and having erected the original facility which was destroyed by fire, it was only natural for the company to undertake the project. Robinson Steel Structures Project Manager, Adrian Slack says: “Metsec is one of our preferred suppliers. It was an obvious choice for them to supply the cold-rolled elements of the structure. We know that we can rely on the quality of their products, efficient service and design support through their MetSPEC design software.”

The UK’s largest supplier of cold-rolled steel, Metsec re-launched its purlin range in June 2008 with more efficient profiles, to save weight and cost on construction projects whilst maintaining maximum performance. Made from cold-rolled galvanised steel, with a minimum yield strength of 450 N/mm², Metsec’s purlin range includes fully compatible Z- and C-section profiles in depths ranging from 142mm to 342mm.

The latest version of Metsec’s building shell design software, MetSPEC 12, has enhanced functionality over previous versions and includes design analysis to Structural Eurocode EC: Part 1.3.

Commenting on the Hemswell project, Kevin Jones, Sales Director for Metsec’s Purlin Division says: “We are pleased to be associated with the creation of this state-of-the-art facility, which will contribute towards the UK’s environmental targets. As a company we are concerned for the environment and do our best to reduce not only our own impact, but that of the structures for which we supply steel.”