Date of Submission
Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering
Dr. Adeel Khalid
Mohawk Industries requested a senior design project for a feasibility study of a compactor/baler program. The compactor/baler program has the potential to reduce Mohawk Industries’ polyethylene terephthalate (PET) recycling center costs, thereby increasing the company’s profits. Mohawk Industries uses PET from recycled plastic bottles as a raw material to extrude carpet yarn fibers. Currently, Mohawk Industries has two methods to obtain the PET required to extrude the carpet yarn fibers: purchase recycled bottles from landfills/recycling centers and extrude into PET pellets, or purchase PET pellets from an outside source at a much higher cost. The compactor/baler program would introduce a third option for Mohawk Industries to obtain polyethylene. This program would source the recycled bottles directly from consumers at major sporting facilities such as LakePoint Sports Community located in Cartersville, GA. Compactor/baler recycling bins would be placed throughout the major sporting facility. These compactor/balers would compact recycled plastic bottles into bales containing the polyethylene that Mohawk Industries uses to extrude carpet yarn fibers. These bales of recycled plastic bottles would be transported to Mohawk Industries Recycling Center located in Summerville, GA. Mohawk Industries’ recycling center would sort, filter, wash, and extrude the recycled plastic into PET pellets that can be extruded into carpet yarn fibers.
This senior design project was an evaluation of the feasibility of a compactor/baler program at LakePoint Sports Community. Technical and non-technical requirements for the compactor/baler program were determined including safety and aesthetic aspects of the compactor, size and binding materials used for the bales, and compacting and weight requirements for the ejected bales. Material handling requirements for the compactor/baler programs were identified as collection, storage, and transportation conditions. Current state processes were directly compared to a future state process implementing the compactor/baler program. The process flow models of the compactor/baler program show a streamline and simplified system for collecting, recycling, and transporting plastic bottles containing PET. Logistical analysis proved Mohawk’s tractor-trailers could transport the compacted bales at the lowest possible cost from LakePoint Sports Community in Cartersville, GA to Mohawk Industries Recycling Center in Summerville, GA. However, the cost justification showed LakePoint Sports Community’s insufficient amount of PET bottles sold. Therefore, the senior design team deemed it not feasible to implement the compactor/baler program at LakePoint Sports Community, based on the facility’s current size. LakePoint could be reevaluated in the future, after a significant expected growth over the next 5 years.
A lot was learned from the process, such as the calculations for shipping costs. The senior design team had difficulty finding material on this topic and required a significant amount of time in order to find the correct information. The team also learned how painstaking it can be to obtain information from management. There were long wait times for crucial information. Kennesaw State University’s senior industrial and systems engineering students took on Mohawk Industries’ request for a feasibility study of implementing a compactor/baler program eager to become the next generation of engineers.