Working with Hiroshima-based Satake Corporation, Mazda Motor Corporation has developed a new type of high-efficiency recycling technology for auto bumpers. This highly automated procedure eliminates much of the labor-intensive handwork like visual inspection, sorting and removal of attachment hardware that has traditionally added time and cost to the undertaking. Mazda already is a leader in the bumper recycling area when it comes to remanufacturing its own soft fascias. However, this breakthrough process is the first to allow bumpers from all manufacturers to be turned back into raw materials as part of a single batch, regardless of their original composition. Until now, fascias from each automaker and from vehicles of different model years had to be individually treated because the variations in the specific formulations of their polypropylene plastic and paint adhesives.
This new Mazda process starts by crushing the bumpers into small pellets and then subjecting that mixture to a shake-and-blow cycle that removes all of the unwanted metal bits. Next, a special "kneading machine" applies powerful shear forces to the ground-up bumper pellets that completely removes all traces of paint without having to apply any heat to the plastic. At that point, these pellets are automatically sorted and prepared for transformation into raw materials that will be used to make new fascias.
Mazda says that it will continue to advance development of an entire range of 21st century recycling technologies with the ultimate goal of achieving a 100-percent bumper-to-bumper capability.