Polylactic Acid

Biodegradable plastics offer unique processing challenges. Bepex works with producers to make better products and expand the use of sustainable polymers.

Improving and Expanding Sustainable Plastics

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a versatile, biodegradable polymer made from renewable resources. Bepex works with PLA producers to extend the uses for PLA polymers through post-processing thermal treatment. Bepex equipment provides the precise control needed to crystallize the plastic pellets, making them easier to process, stronger, and less transparent. That makes them usable in more products, expanding markets for this sustainable solution.

Precise Control

PLAs are tricky to process. Exact timing is needed to control viscosity while processing. The Purge Vessel’s proprietary Mechanical Discharge proves true plug-flow operation and the tightest viscosity control in the industry. That eliminates clumping, bridging, and other common production problems, plus produces better product to tighter specifications.

Complete System

The Bepex TorusDisc disc dryer, Purge Vessel hopper dryer, and Fluid Bed stationary dryer provide a complete system for heating, modifying and cooling PLA particles with absolute control over residence times, material flow, and removal of volatiles.

Expert Engineering Help

With more than 20 years experience in PLA processing, our Process Development Center works with PLA producers to develop and commercialize new polymers. Our processing experts work closely with client material scientists and engineers to improve existing processes or create new polymer thermal treatment systems.

New Ways to Process PLAs


Bepex provides more than 100 years of experience in designing full-process heating and cooling systems. We offer the industry’s broadest selection of thermal processing equipment, plus the up- and downstream equipment needed to create a total PLA treatment solution. Our TorusDisc paddle dryer provides gentle agitation, preventing lumps, while continuously heating the PLA pellets.

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Continuous Devolatization

Bepex offers a wide range of solvent recovery and devolatilization equipment. Bepex’s proprietary designs, true plug flow operation and system adjustability packs high performance into a small footprint – resulting in reduced operating and cap ex costs. Time and temperature are critical when reducing to parts-per-billion volatile levels. Bepex delivers the exact control needed for your required specification.

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Bepex helped pioneer the equipment and technology needed to support continuous reaction processes, so we can provide the best reaction process solution plus the up- and down- stream equipment needed to complement reaction processes.

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Proven Products to Grow PLA Applications and Markets

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Turbulizer High Shear Industrial Paddle Mixer


The Turbulizer is built for near-instantaneous mixing or agglomeration of liquids and solids. Its high-speed rotor with adjustable paddles creates intense turbulence with short residence times to produce dust-free particles ranging in size from fine powders up to 2-3 mm.

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Fluid Bed Stationary Continuous Dryer

Fluid Bed Dryer

The Fluid Bed dryer uses process air to fluidize the bed of solids, providing highly controlled, gentle drying, reacting, cooling, or curing. Its stationary design eliminates moving parts, resulting in a small footprint, less maintenance, and more uptime.

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Purge Vessel Hot Air Hopper Dryer

Purge Vessel

The Purge Vessel is a long residence time hopper providing near-complete removal of volatile organic compounds from bulk solids. Its proprietary design offers superior material flow and a low-cost option for reducing volatiles from 1-2 percent to low PPM levels.

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Solidaire Paddle Dryer


The Solidaire thin layer paddle dryer offers the highest heat transfer coefficient available. Process dry or wet solids, liquids, slurries, cakes or pastes more efficiently, with more control, at lower cost. Solidaire applications include drying, devolatilizing, reacting, cooling, and crystallizing.

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TorusDisc Disc Bed Dryer


The TorusDisc dryer is designed for high heat loads and long residence times. The TorusDisc provides maximum heat transfer and complete processing control in a compact footprint, making it ideal for drying, reacting, crystallizing, and heating or cooling processes.

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Growing the Future of Sustainable Plastics

Helping Create New Products, New Markets and a Sustainable Advantage

At Bepex, we’re committed to helping our customers create new, more sustainable products.

PLA plastics are biodegradable and made from renewable resources. They are used in a wide range of innovative products, each application often requiring unique performance characteristics. We work with PLA producers to modify PLA performance attributes for new applications, improve processing efficiency, and expand the markets for this sustainable plastic.

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Process Development

Step 01


All new inquiries begin with a feasibility study. These studies aim to provide preliminary insights into the viability of a commercial process. Using as little as 100 grams of material, we can begin early process design, develop plans for pilot-testing and/or confirmation, and begin providing early economic estimates. Our experience across our wide range of technologies gives us a unique ability to provide quick feedback on the feasibility of your process.

Step 02


From our learnings, we’ll begin the process development work. The primary work in this phase takes place in the form of pilot-scale testing in our Process Development Center. Our pilot tests look a bit different than what you may have experienced in the past. Each test is designed to measure the system performance and feasibility rather than that of any single machine.

Each system is custom assembled for each test. Our goal is to provide as much of a pilot-scale simulation as possible while gathering scale-up data to deliver on commercial capacities. When a certain technology proves ineffective, we’ll draw from our range of options to determine if there is a better fit. The Process Development Center is our sandbox to build, test, and revise to ensure we get every detail right.

Step 03

Budget Evaluation

With a successful pilot simulation completed, we now have everything we need to scale up and provide proposals for capital equipment with included performance guarantees.

Step 04

System Design And Build

After receipt of the purchase order, we begin with both equipment and system engineering. Each proprietary technology we sell is custom-designed and built per application. We do not have any off-the-shelf units. At this stage, your exact system begins to take shape, including auxiliary equipment, process flow diagrams, process and instrumentation diagrams, safety provisions, and more.

Step 05


After delivery and installation of your new system, Bepex will provide a mechanical check to ensure everything is placed according to plan. This is followed shortly thereafter by system commissioning. This is where our pilot-scale simulations become invaluable, as our team of application engineers, controls technicians, and sales engineers begin working with your team to successfully bring your system online.

Step 06


At this point, you’re up and running at rate, producing a quality product, but our work doesn’t stop there. 

Following commissioning, Bepex remains a reliable partner, providing quality OEM parts, immediate field service, process optimization, training, system troubleshooting, and more. We have consistently had high customer retention rates, and we believe it is due in large part to our comprehensive approach to serving our customers long after the original sale.

Improve PLA Production with Bepex

We work with PLA producers to create new processes, products and markets for PLA polymers. Find out how from a Bepex processing expert.

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