Ecostar’s Hexact 4000 screener at work in Isotex: a full circular economy story

 

Plant details

Plant detailes Isotex - Ecostar

Rooted in the 1970s as a response to the growing concerns about resource scarcity and environmental degradation, circular economy started being advocated in the 2000s, with The Ellen MacArthur Foundation as one of its promoters. During the 2010s the idea gained significant traction globally, with businesses, governments, and organizations adopting its principles and later on became central to many companies that started to see the economic benefits of reducing waste, improving resource efficiency, and creating new business-models based on circularity.

Isotex, the point of reference for eco-sustainable buildings and homes, is one of the companies that has adopted the concept early on. And now, with a little help from Ecostar, the company recycles waste wood with the Ecostar screening solution, thus contributing to the circular economy.

An innovative formwork block in wood cement, made of 100% recycled wood, cleaned and calibrated with Ecostar’s stationary screening machine.

The leading European company in the production of wood cement blocks is equipped with Ecostar stationary screen Hexact 4000, which enables the customer to calibrate and screen the waste wood from impurities. The production is carried out entirely in the Italian factory in Poviglio, with a fully automated, state-of-the-art plant that allows for high-quality precise products.

Here’s a brief interview with our customer Isotex Srl, about the wood’s properties in making the final product and the benefits of the DDS (Dynamic Disc Screening) technology within the recycling process.

Il vaglio Ecostar per Isotex

Ecostar: Can you guide our readers into the backstory of the company, its unique products and production process?

Isotex: We started our journey in Germany in 1946 where we acquired the Patent and have been operating in Italy since 1985, creating around 400,000 eco-sustainable homes globally.

Thanks to our drive for innovation and constant research, we have become a top player in formwork blocks and wood-cement floor production. We are certified in producing materials for green constructions through our Certificate of conformity – Eco building material – ANAB/ICEA and the EPD certification for the entire range of products. We have been a point of reference for years for those who want to build eco-sustainable buildings and houses according to the new construction regulations.

At the core of our wood cement blocks is a blend of 100% recycled wood and cement, free of adhesives or chemicals, which are  made entirely in our plant. For the production of the Isotex block, we needed a clean, calibrated, and homogenous wood, thus we have decided to include in our process an Ecostar screening machine to enable the production.

Hexact stationary screen for screening recycled wood for Isotex

Ecostar: How do you treat waste wood for the production of the wood-cement block?

Isotex: In our Italian plant, where we craft our full range of products, the treatment of waste wood from the wood (fir) packaging recovery chain is meticulously curated.

The waste wood goes through a special treatment to prepare it for the next production steps. Initially, it is fed through a shredder before entering the Hexact 4000 disc screen—a machine that succeeds in calibrating the wood into two fractions, while simultaneously removing contaminants such as inerts, metals, and any other unwanted materials that could compromise the quality of the final products.

For our wood-cement blocks, we need a steady supply of clean and consistent material to keep our production running smoothly and at a level of excellence. That’s why the screening phase is crucial for us.

Following the separation phase, the wood undergoes a mineralization process using a natural mineral. This mineralization renders the wood inert, imparting to the final product high fire resistance (REI120-REI240), dimensional stability in contact with water, and immunity to insects or mold.

Ecostar: Your entire production is in Italy, and you export to global customers. How do you make sure to deliver the right product to meet their needs?

Isotex:  From our headquarters in Italy, we export our products to over 14/15 countries globally, with customers increasingly interested in a product that is not only resistant, secure, easy to handle, financially sustainable, and highly qualitative, but also environmentally friendly.

That is why we have a low environmental production process from using 100% recycled wood and other materials as insulation inserts made from a biomass derivative (organic waste) up to 100% recycled. We have fully automated our production plant and included the Hexact stationary screen which is 100% electrically driven, featuring only 2 engines of 7.5 kW, and we make sure that products that don’t pass the quality test are ground and reintroduced into the production process, resulting in: no waste discharged into the environment.

Our customers can count on high-quality products made from certified materials and put through rigorous quality checks. We handle 15 tons per hour of waste wood every day to keep our production running. For our wood-cement blocks, we need a fine fraction of 0-10mm and 10-50mm medium-sized chips from the Hexact screening system, with any oversize wood going back in loop to the shredder. Having clean, properly sized wood is key for top-quality blocks, and our partnership with Ecostar ensures just that.

La sede produttiva di Isotex

Ecostar: What are the benefits that you have seen so far regarding the separation and calibration process with Hexact?

Isotex: In 2021, we decided to revamp and fully automate the plant, which has brought us advantages in terms of productivity, while the collaboration with Ecostar started in early 2022, to maximize our production.

In our quest for the screening machine to handle our waste wood, we had specific criteria in mind. It needed to feed us the right product, be easy to maintain, be as compact as possible to fit into our existing plant layout, and last but not least, be energy efficient to align with our sustainability goals.

We are glad to have found in Ecostar a partner who was able to fully understand our process and objectives by providing us with a customized solution to treat our waste wood. We’ve found the Hexact 4000 screener to be not only durable and reliable but also incredibly accessible with its easily reachable main components. In the past 6 months, thanks to the low electrical consumption of the screen which runs 24h / 7 days a week, we were able to maintain our production cost very low as the screen is equipped with just 2 small motors of 7.5 kW each, driven by inverters.

One feature we particularly appreciate is its flexibility – we can adjust fractions size  in a matter of seconds thanks to speed regulation by setting the inverters, allowing us to adapt quickly to production needs.

Ecostar: You are succeeding in producing a circular product. Was it challenging?

Isotex:  We are working every day towards this goal by implementing a new business model, a system that envisions a circular approach where products are reused for as long as possible until the end of their lifecycle. This way, waste is minimized, and resources are efficiently reused. There are already virtuous examples in the construction field; more and more products are made from organic materials, waste, wood, recycled plastics, and are routinely used to create new products. Even construction debris and rubble are used for new productions. Isotex’s construction philosophy aligns with this context.

Isotex’s commitment to environmental preservation is also evident in our production process: thanks to the low temperatures of our drying chambers (maximum 50°C), we are able to significantly reduce emissions into the atmosphere.

Our photovoltaic system reduces our electricity demand by approximately 40%. To showcase all our efforts, we have obtained various certifications: we are accredited by ANAB/ICEA (National Association of Bio-construction), we have obtained the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), and we have certified our entire range of products.

This “green” approach demonstrates our commitment to promoting a circular economy in the construction industry with greater momentum. Because only through a circular economy we can address – and overcome – global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss, while at the same time creating new economic, commercial, and social opportunities, growing the construction sector, and producing environmental benefits. It is a great opportunity for our country, its businesses, and the future of the planet.