Recycled Polyoxymethylene (R-POM)

Meet the stiff, non-frictional, stable thermoplastic: R-POM

Polyoxymethylene (acetal plastic, polyacetal, POM) is typically a highlycrystalline, engineering thermoplastic. It is used in production of precision parts, such as small gear wheels, ball bearings, fasteners, lock systems, etc. POM is a recyclable material.

Recycled Polyoxymethylene (Recycled POM) used to produce new POM gear wheels

Recent POM recyclates

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Recycled POM applications

What products can be made of recycled POM?

R-POM (recycled POM) applications: fuel gauge produced from R-POM with increased recycled content

Recycled POM (R-POM) can be used for different articles produced by injection molding, practically for all types of products made from virgin POM.

Typical applications of POM in the general are mechanics, automotive, home appliances including gear wheels and other transmission components, fuel gauge and carburetor components, pump components, kitchen taps, showerheads, valves, and other various accessories. Other applications are hooks, screws, film hinges, spray bottles. Also, due to its valuable material properties as well as a good chemical resistance and low water absorption POM is used in such industries requiring a special approvals like drinking water and water treatment, food processing, medical engineering, and orthopedics. Such objects as ski bindings, ball bearings, fasteners, gun parts, knife handles, eyeglass frames, and lock systems can be manufactured with POM and R-POM.

R-POM copolymer is particularly quite well suited for snap fasteners and fixing clips for tubes, cables, or pipes. R-POM is broadly used in the automotive and consumer electronics industries for high-performance engineering components. R-POM-based articles are used as a substitution for some precision metal parts.

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R-POM material properties

What are the benefits and drawbacks of recycled POM?

R-POM (recycled POM) as POM regrind and POM regranules (POM recyclates) in the form of POM reprocessed pellets (repro POM or POM granules)

POM (polyoxymethylene, also known as polyacetal or acetal) is generally a highlycrystalline thermoplastic. It has good mechanical properties, high dimensional stability, and wear behavior. Also, high strength and low coefficient of friction are significant and advantageous characteristics of POM plastics. The POM is recyclable, and the main properties are maintained in the recycled POM (R-POM), if properly treated.

Generally, there are two types of POM: POM homopolymers (POM-H) and POM copolymers (POM-C). POM-H has a slightly higher density, hardness and strength, while POM-C has better chemical resistance, impact strength and a higher abrasion resistance, but lower melting point. Disadvantages are that POM is highly flammable without a flame retardant due to its high oxygen content, has poor UV stability without a suitable stabilizer system. And, if processing temperatures are too high or heated above 220° C, thermal decomposition sets in with the release of formaldehyde, however, this can be counteracted to some extent by using suitable stabilizer systems.

Comparing with other thermoplastics, POM has benefits, such as good creep resistance, high strength and stiffness, excellent dimensional stability. Also, comparing with metals, POM is more flexible in design formation, has high strength-to-weight ratio, and lower production cost.

Due to all these properties, POM and R-POM plastics are used in a wide range of applications with a high-demanding operating conditions.

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POM waste feedstock

Which sources can be used for POM recycling?

R-POM (recycled POM) as POM scrap or POM waste material as shredded POM and POM flakes for POM recycling

The POM feedstock materials are non-food grade waste. The post-industrial feedstock are leftovers and pre-sorted residues processed during the manufacture of POM-based plastic articles by injection molding. They can be available in bales, lumps or agglomerates. The POM recyclates are present in regrinds, granules.

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The content of this page has been created in collaboration with independent experts:
Dr. Madina Shamsuyeva (Head of Department Plastics recycling and Technology, Plastics analytics at the IKK - Institute for Plastics and Circular Economy of the Leibniz University Hanover)
Dr. Uwe Zander (Co-owner of Voelpker Wax Academy GmbH with more than 30 years experience in the plastic processing industry, with a focus on compounding engineering plastics)