Thermal Compaction Group secures £426k in funding

Thermal Compaction Group (TCG) has been awarded £426,000 by Innovate UK to develop its pioneering work in the recycling of medical waste material, which can generate income for the NHS.

The award was made through Innovate UK Open Call competition and the £426,000 is 70% funded by Innovate UK, with 30% invested by TCG.

Cardiff based TCG has already won numerous awards for its work to divert polypropylene patient transfer sheets and single use sterilisation wraps, used for surgical instruments in millions of operations in the UK each year, from landfill. The company then uses the materials to create new products with a commercial value.

Business News Wales reports this latest grant will be used to build a prototype machine to handle contaminated and uncontaminated ward, bed and cubicle curtains made of single use disposable polypropylene plastic, all heavily used in the NHS and UK healthcare sector. The new “Curtain Melt” machine will be able to volumetrically densify these heavy curtains into manageable blocks that can be sold back into the UK plastic reprocessing supply chain.

TCG Director Thomas Davison-Sebry said “We’ve had great success so far in recycling patient transfer sheets and wrapping for surgical instruments, now with this latest support we can prevent even more single use NHS plastics from entering landfills or incineration, in line with Welsh Government’s Well-being of Future Generations Act, and actually generate income for the UK healthcare sector.”

The newly designed machine will reengineer the manufacturing process of the plastic curtains using heat to turn them into blocks, saving the NHS on landfill fees and transport costs for uncontaminated plastic, and from the clinical incineration of contaminated curtains. TCG are introducing spore strip testing using biological test indicators to demonstrate sterility, and show that contaminated material has been rendered safe for operators and their environments through the thermal process. It is hoped the technology will be rolled out worldwide once it has been successfully trialled in the UK.

TCG’s Sterimelt technology is currently being used across the UK to create inert, sterilised, briquettes which can be sold on to make products such as garden furniture, fences, buckets, plant pots, ropes and chairs.

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