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Our Frequently Asked Questions

Waste is a fast-growing issue for companies, councils, manufacturers and society as a whole. We all know we need to reduce waste, but what about that which can’t be avoided?

For food waste, suitable solutions are to use anaerobic digestion plants to turn waste into energy, or repurpose for animal feed – but separation and depackaging is crucial in order for this to be viable.

Our FAQs consider the common questions our customers ask us (or should be asking us!) when considering their next steps.

What is a depackaging machine?
A depackaging machine is an industrial piece of equipment designed to separate the contents of packaging materials from the packaging itself. The primary purpose is to recover and process valuable materials whilst minimising waste. Depackaging machines are commonly used in waste management, recycling facilities, and various industries to extract and repurpose contents from packaged materials.
What are the different types of depackaging machine on the market, and how do they work?

There are three types of depackaging machines on the market – paddle, hammer and centrifugal.

Hammer mill depackaging machines use hammers or blades to crush and break apart packaging materials. They are often employed for the complete destruction of rigid packaging, such as glass or plastic containers, often require large amounts of water and can be expensive to buy and maintain. The packaging is also broken into very small pieces, giving greater potential for contamination.

The dominator depackaging machine is predominantly a paddle machine, but also uses centrifugal force later in the process. It uses rotating paddles to gently separate the contents from the packaging which makes it suitable for a wide range of materials, including organic waste. Packaging remains in large pieces, and bones, peelings and such like are processed gently enough that they do not go through the screens and contaminate the packaging.

Some depackaging machines use centrifugal force earlier in the process to separate liquids from solids in packaging, making them suitable for industries dealing with liquid waste – though these are less common.

What are the benefits of using depackaging machines for waste management?
Depackaging machines are an attractive alternative to traditional waste management companies who will process your waste for you, but at a cost and you will lose the value of the waste as a result. Alternatively, waste can be sent to landfill which is not only costly per tonne but prevents businesses achieving their net zero targets.
What type of waste can be processed?

Depackaging machines are typically used for:

  • Commercial or municipal food waste including supermarket waste and returns
  • Organic waste or source separated organics (SSO).
  • Beverages or other liquid wastes, from either plastic bottles, tin cans or tetra paks.
  • Cosmetics and personal care products
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plasterboard
  • Pet food

The Dominator Depackaging machine is fully adjustable in order to be able to handle all such applications, across a range of industries.

What materials can’t be processed through a depackaging machine?

Technology is advancing all the time as we continue to try and reduce and repurpose waste. However, typically depackaging machines struggle to process the following:

Hard or dense materials, such as hard metals
Large or bulky items
Highly contaminated materials
Very sticky or adhesive products
Materials containing textiles
Extremely fragile or brittle materials

We are able to trial your materials and test what results can be achieved.

Can depackaging machines handle both liquid and solid waste?

Yes, depending on the type of machine and technology they use. The dominator depackaging machine is predominantly a paddle machine, but also uses centrifugal force later in the process, making it suitable for both wet and dry waste.

Some depackaging machines use centrifugal force earlier in the process to separate liquids from solids in packaging, making them suitable for industries specifically dealing with liquid waste, but these are less common.

Can depackaging machines handle hazardous materials?

Sometimes! This depends on the nature of the hazard. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

What is the processing capacity of typical depackaging machines?

The throughput of machines varies depending on how it is designed. We have 5 models, varying from 4m3/hr to 30m3/hr

What level of purity can be achieved from my recovered waste?

The purity of your recovered contents matters from both an environmental and commercial perspective. When waste is contaminated with packaging, microplastics can get into our food chain or lead to unnecessary landfill which is not just costly for your business, but bad for the planet. Where depackaged food is used for onward supply, a lack of purity also reduces the commercial value of your product.

The dominator depackaging machine achieves up to 99.7% purity in independent customer trials and is fully customisable to achieve the best results for your bespoke needs. We are happy to run trials of your product, to see what we can achieve.

I have unusually shaped, sized or density material. Can a depackaging machine be customised for specific materials or industries?

We’ve never met a customer with the exact same requirements and have no two sites globally that are using exactly the same machine set ups! Your chosen depackaging machine can be fully customised to meet specific industry or material requirements. This includes adjusting the speed of the rotating paddles, incorporating additional screening mechanisms, or modifying other features based on the needs of the application.

Are depackaging machines easy to operate and control?

Yes – in our experience they are easy to run and generally operated by the existing workforce . We supply control panels that meet your needs, leverage automation, and build the machine into your existing plant for ease of transition. We are also able to offer remote monitoring via a mobile device, as well as on-site training.

How much space do I need for installation?

A standard model would typically have a footprint of around 3 metres wide and 8.5m long. However, we are also able to supply our compact LR model, which (including its platform) reduces the footprint to 3m x 4.7m.

What safety features should I expect from a depackaging machine?

All our machinery is fitted with a safety relay and a trapped key interlock system to prevent accidental start up. Full safety training is also provided.

Are there any regulations or industry standards associated with depackaging machines?

All machinery is CE certified and carries the UKCA mark for British standards.

What is the typical lifespan of a depackaging machine?

The lifespan of any depackaging machine will always vary depending on its use, maintenance and materials handled. However, we pride ourselves on the longevity or our machines and never compromise on quality and robustness. Our machines are built to last, driving great lifetime value – with some of our machines still performing well some 20 years on!

I have an existing waste management system – can the Dominator depackaging machine be integrated?

Yes! We can supply with just the machinery and are happy to install this within an existing system.

What degree of noise and heat generation do depackaging machines create?

Paddle depackaging machines such as the Dominator often produce less noise during operation than hammer mills. This can be advantageous in environments where noise levels need to be minimised, but depending on the type of product, ear defenders may be required. We recommend on-site testing.

Similarly, paddle machines tend to produce less heat which is particularly important when handling materials sensitive to temperature, such as certain types of food or pharmaceutical products. The heat generated is at a level in which PPE should be utilised.

What on-going costs can I expect?
On-going costs typically arise from both energy efficiency and maintenance requirements.

Depending on the specific design and technology, paddle depackaging machines are generally more energy-efficient, driving cost savings and environmental benefits over the long term.

Paddle depackaging machines also tend to have simpler designs with fewer moving parts compared to some other depackaging technologies. This simplicity can contribute to lower maintenance requirements and reduced downtime.

What is the cost and lead time of spare parts?
We keep most spare parts in stock, available for immediate dispatch. Costs are affordable, with paddles starting from £14 and screens from just £199.
Where is the Dominator made?
All items are fabricated and assembled in the UK, but we supply globally with the support of trusted worldwide agents.

The Dominator Depackaging System

Not sure if the Dominator is for you?

We have a trial machine on site at our Cheltenham headquarters, where you can run your waste through our machines to test the output. We can conduct this for you, evidencing the output, or you are welcome to visit on site.

Alternatively, we can loan our trial machine to your premises.

*All trials are subject to covering expenses, including a cleaning fee.