Sustainable solutions for the plastics industry

Expert handling of demanding materials

The requirements
  • Automation of difficult materials:
    • Plant-based with fluctuating properties,
    • Adherent, sticky, bridging
    • Solid and liquid
    • Sensitive for dust explosion
  • Tailor made production environment
  • Expandability for the future
  • Ideal material flow 
  • Low production cost
Handling of difficult raw materials with  special characteristics
BioLogiQ Inc.
The customer
BioLogiQ Inc., a bioplastic resin manufacturing company specializing in sustainable plastic products made from renewable resources, was founded in 2011. The company’s intent was to create a useful plastic from the excess starch generated during potato processing. This led to the invention of a new kind of Thermoplastic Starch (TPS) called NuPlastiQ® BioPolymers. Using its proprietary process, BioLogiQ makes a low moisture content plasticized starch resin. They make NuPlastiQ® in pellet form so plastic product manufacturers can use them like traditional plastic resin pellets on their standard production equip-ment. NuPlastiQ® pellets are designed to be blended with either conventional petroleum resins or newer bio-based resins to make BioBlends, which increase the sustainability of plastic products.

For example, bags made with 25% NuPlastiQ and 75% PE can be downgauged by 30% result in 50% less fossil fuel being used to make the bags. Use of NuPlastiQ also reduces greenhouse gas generation, usually between 20%-40%.
How it starts
BioLogiQ®, as a process owner and producer of bio-based material, together with AZO‘s German engineering and expertise, set us together to develop a production plant with the focus on quality, consistency and cost efficiency
The story started in 2016, through the first contact at a trade show in the US through the AZO Inc. sales team. The task was to design a processing solution for natural based starch materials like potato or corn.
“Together with technical expertise out of Germany, a short phase of brain storming and system design led to a highly functional solution.”
Justin Sanders, BioLogiQ Plant Manager
The AZO solution

Based on this design, BioLogiQ and AZO decided to do trials together in the AZO test centre in Osterburken. During these trials a few limitations were found, and the team had to overcome a few obstacles. During this phase, the important factor was interdisciplinary team-work to find fast solutions with direct testing and test results. 

After this test in Osterburken, Germany, BioLogiQ did the necessary test in the existing production in Blackfoot, Idaho and checked the quality of their compound. The quality of the compound exceeds the expectations of the AZO trials. 

The next step was to adapt and scale up the provisional test results to the layout of one production plant in the US and a second one in China. As far as necessary, AZO did additional test during project phase. 

The first layout was designed for existing brown field in Blackfoot. Through the result of AZO integrative engineering, the project was changed to a green field project because of: 
  • Tailor made production environment
  • Expandability for the future
  • Ideal material flow 
  • Lower production cost 
Modern and well-equipped AZO testing centre in Osterburken
Modern and well-equipped AZO testing centre in Osterburken
“The company structure of AZO, with more than 40-year experience in the US, and having an experienced team in China and other areas of the world, perfectly meet the requirements of BioLogiQ’s growth strategy.”
Bryce Esplin, BioLogiQ Vice President, Manufacturing Operations
Special challenges and good cooperation  

Core design from AZO includes the handling and processing of natural materials such as corn or potato starch. Special challenges are the fluctuating properties of these sticky natural starches, critical dust explosion data, and some specialties during the processing of the wet compound as pig cleaning design. The result is a tailor-made solution designed for the needs of BioLogiQ. 
During the project phase, the cooperation was driven by mutual trust and willingness to adapt changes and innovative modifications in a solution-oriented way! 

Key factors: 
Solution-oriented interdisciplinary discussion, fast solutions and realization with results. 
„Thanks to AZO’s collaborative style, we see them as a perfect partner for our growth strategy.
They offer: 
  • Fast decision making 
  • Innovative solutions 
  • Readiness to develop customer-specific solutions 
  • Technical expertise for several global standards 
  • Global support“
Steven Sherman, BioLogiQ COO
One of the core components of the system is the AZO®MIXOMAT, which combines four functions in one system:
  • Transporting, dosing, weighing and mixing in one compact, economical system
  • Simple supply of up to 30 components via mulitport valve
  • High repetition accuracy due to accurate weighing and recording of all components
  • Rapid product change and easy cleaning
  • Precise throughput registration for each processing machine
  • Compact, pre-assembled modules for rapid startup