ABB – a Swedish-Swiss multinational robotics and automation company – has collaborated with Renewcell – a textile-textile recycling company based in Sweden – to deliver automation, electrification, quality control systems, motors and drives for latter’s new industrial textile recycling production line in Sundsvall.
A former SCA paper mill will be transformed with ABB technology into the world’s first commercial-scale recycling plant for cellulosic textiles – created by dissolving natural materials such as cellulose which is then regenerated to create a wide range of fabrics.
Amongst the ABB technologies that will be installed in the new plant is the process control system ABB Ability™ System 800xA…The process control system will provide operators with wide visibility and precise control from a central command centre to ensure that production is as resource efficient as possible, with less material consumption and reduced waste.
In addition, ABB’s PMC800 drive systems will reduce the cost of ownership over the automation lifecycle and improve energy efficiency during production. ABB will also supply ACS880 variable speed drives (VSDs) and IE4 super premium efficient motors, an efficiency level above the IE3 standard mandated by EU Ecodesign regulations.
Combining high-efficiency motors with VSDs can typically reduce energy consumption in flow-controlled pulp and paper applications by 30 per cent or more.
The collaboration between ABB and Renewcell aims at impacting the environment in a more sustainable way. According to Renewcell’s preliminary calculations, textile fibres made from its recycled raw material use approximately 50 litres of fresh water per kg in production, compared to around 1,600 litres for cotton and 90 litres for non-cotton cellulosic material viscose.
ABB brings its domain expertise from the pulp and paper industry to clothing recycling industry which is similar to pulp drying – breaking down cellulose in cotton and viscose textiles to recycle into new raw materials.
This similarity enables Renewcell to use the existing infrastructure, including buildings and the supply and processing of raw water, waste water, compressed air and electricity at the SCA mill. This will be coupled with ABB’s paper and automation expertise, to manufacture recycled textiles that might otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration, as reported by the company.
“The ABB team proved their unique ability to deliver a complete automation and electrification solution based on their products and services,” commented Patrik Lundström, CEO, Renewcell.
Patrik further added that ABB has the knowledge, presence and experience that Renewcell aims to leveraging to keep this project on track, both in terms of budget and schedule.
Theodor Swedjemark, Chief Communications and Sustainability Officer, ABB, “We are honoured to support Renewcell in their exciting journey towards increased circularity of the fashion industry – an ambition that is fully aligned with our own efforts to systematically improve circularity across ABB’s supply chain as part of our 2030 sustainability strategy.”
Joachim Braun, Division President, Process Industries, ABB, asserted, “This contract allows us to apply our deep pulp and paper expertise and project experience to help Renewcell reduce its emissions and preserve resources, and ultimately change fashion for the better. Until now, less than 1 per cent of textiles were recycled because the technology to recycle and create new textiles did not exist. This is a significant development for the industry and we’re proud to apply our quality control processes to the sustainable fashion movement.”