We all strive to be environmentally responsible throughout our lives. We recycle. We compost. We conserve energy.
AMTek Microwaves, located in southwest Cedar Rapids, helps clients be more environmentally responsible on a larger scale. As a leading manufacturer of industrial microwave equipment and systems, the company offers environmentally sustainable alternatives for their clients’ processing needs.
“In the food industry, we’re looking at companies that are using a process to boost heat and reduce moisture,” says Ryan Velvick, director of finance and human resources for the company. “A lot of those companies are using gas or coal ovens that use natural resources and release CO2 emissions. AMTek’s microwaves are only using electricity so nothing is being released into the atmosphere.”
While the food industry is AMTek’s primary market, they are making forays into other markets. One example is drying starch for biodegradable packing peanuts. In their traditional polystyrene form, these commonly used packaging materials usually end up in the land fill and can take up to 500 years to break down. Biodegradable packing peanuts, which AMTek’s microwave technology processes, are made from naturally derived starches like wheat and cornstarch. Because they are entirely plant-based, biodegradable packing peanuts will dissolve in water.
“We’ve done a lot of testing with startup companies and universities that are trying to reduce the amount of waste people produce, including packaging materials or cardboard substitutes of plant based materials like starch. We’re working with another company that makes lubricants for the railroad industry using soy beans which are biodegradable. We’ve also been doing some testing with pavement and asphalt companies. They can reuse materials after it’s microwaved with an additive, eliminating the need to produce new asphalt. Asphalt plants emit a lot of smog so our microwave technology is an environmentally sound alternative.”
Customers who are going into non-food applications have to pass rigid EPA standards for emissions. AMTek’ microwave technology passes with flying colors because it produces zero emissions. “Any customer that comes to us with an idea of what they can do using microwaves, we have a lab where we can do testing as well as avenues partnering with universities that are doing their own research.”
You might say that the clear skies are the limit!