Home | About us | News | A Sustainable Solution in the Vinyl Industry

A Sustainable Solution in the Vinyl Industry

Last year we were approached by Harm Theunisse to collaborate with him on a special project called ‘Green Vinyl Records’. Harm wanted to investigate whether it was possible to reduce waste and save energy in the production process of vinyl records and start a ground-breaking circular trend in the industry. In this blog you’ll read all about this project, the obstacles we encountered and how we, together with Green Vinyl Records, were able to build a customized dosing system that solved the problems faced.

About Green Vinyl Records

When vinyl records made a massive comeback in recent years, Harm realized that the ‘normal’ way of producing vinyl records with PVC through a pressing production process is very energy-intensive and leaves behind harmful residual waste.  

Harm was convinced that there was a way to make LP manufacturing more sustainable, and immediately started to hunt for companies that could help him in his mission. 

Several months later, in 2016, Green Vinyl Records was founded. Green Vinyl Records consists of eight companies that all contribute differently but have the same goal: finding a way to limit waste and reduce energy consumption in the production process of LP records.  

Curious about what a tailor-made dosing solution would look like in your factory?

Request a free consultation

Leave your contact information below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The journey of Green Vinyl Records

When Green Vinyl Records started their project, they concluded that there were three key points to address to make the LP manufacturing process more sustainable. These were the following: 

  • Reduce waste 
  • Reduce energy consumption 
  • Streamline the production process  

Use a different production machine

LP records are commonly manufactured using a pressing technique. This involves heating PVC pellets to a specific temperature until they become soft and malleable. A metal stamper is then positioned between two halves of a mold, and the heated vinyl is placed into the mold, followed by the closure of the press. After a few seconds the press opens up again, the operator takes out the LP records and then trims it to a finished product.  

While this pressing technique is effective for LP record production, it does result in a considerable amount of scrap material. This occurs because, in many instances, an excess amount of material is placed into the press, leading the press to push the surplus material beyond the boundaries of the mold. As a result, a significant amount of material is wasted during this process. 

In addition to material waste, these machines typically consume substantial amounts of energy and rely on gas as a power source.  

To address these concerns, Harm opted to use an electric injection molding machine. This decision has led to reduced energy consumption and decreased waste production, contributing to a more environmentally friendly approach to LP record production. 

Choice of material 

Diving deeper into the traditional way of LP production, Harm also found that PVC has several limitations regarding sustainability and circularity. 

Although PVC is a versatile material, it is associated with negative environmental effects due to the presence of toxic substances. Moreover, PVC is not highly conducive to recycling. Therefore, in an effort to address these concerns, Harm decided to find a more environmentally friendly alternative to PVC and eventually settled on virgin and recycled PET. 

PET, unlike PVC, offers certain advantages in terms of environmental impact and recyclability. PET is easier to handle and has a higher recycling rate. It is considered more environmentally friendly due to its recyclability and the availability of recycling infrastructure for PET products. By opting for virgin and recycled PET, Harm aims to reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of LP records. 

Auxiliary equipment 

In his journey to maximize the sustainability and efficiency of the production process, Harm also assessed the necessary auxiliary equipment. Following this evaluation, Harm reached out to us to ask whether we wanted to take the challenge of engineering a custom solution to aid in the accurate and sustainable dosing of materials. 

Although we may not be directly involved in the LP manufacturing industry, at Movacolor, we always welcome a challenge, especially when it has the potential to contribute to sustainability. 

Are you in the extrusion industry?

The initial problem

The problem Harm faced with his existing dosing unit was that the liquid color additives were not distributed evenly.  The root cause of this problem was the clustering of pigment particles within the color container, leading to clogged tubes and particles finding their way into the grooves of the records. Consequently, this issue had a negative impact on the quality of the music and led to significant material waste. 

Furthermore, Harm recognized the desire of vinyl enthusiasts to have LP records available in a wide range of colors. However, his current dosing unit lacked the capability to easily switch colors, which restricted his flexibility and limited his ability to offer diverse options to his customers. 

Engineering a custom dosing solution

After identifying the problem, it was time to develop a suitable solution. To tackle the issue of clustering in the liquid container, the development of a mixer became imperative. This mixer incorporates a rotating blade that can be inserted into the container to agitate the material and prevent clustering. 

Furthermore, in order to enhance the distribution of the colorant, we designed a specialized compact neckpiece equipped with an integrated mixer and liquid nozzle. This neckpiece facilitates the thorough mixing of the liquid colorant with the main material prior to its passage into the material inlet. Recognizing the high temperatures involved in the LP manufacturing process, we ensured that the dosing unit was engineered to withstand these conditions without compromising its performance. 

During the testing phase, we concluded that the addition of a sight glass would be advantageous. This feature enables visibility, allowing operators to check if the colorant has successfully reached the neckpiece following a color change. 

The result

When we completed the tailored MDS Balance Liquid and installed it, Harm was thrilled with the results.  

Green Vinyl Records is now able to perform prompt color changes while maintaining a high level of precision and minimal waste in their production process. 

Movacolor has a modular system, so you can configure your own solutions with multiple parts and also upgrade it. They can make everything custom and our dosing solution is now +/- 0.10% accurate, which is needed in our production.” Harm Theunisse. 

Request a free consultation

Leave your contact information below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

An example of modular dosing

Even though our involvement in the records industry may not be readily apparent, this project is a great example of our ability to deliver tailored solutions through our innovative modular dosing concept.  

Are you interested in delving deeper into our modular dosing concept and discovering the optimal configuration for your plastic production process? Book a free consultation with one of our application specialists today!