Prestigious Ringier Technology Innovation Award for TOMRA.

TOMRA Sorting Recycling’ AUTOSORT FLAKE Optical Sorter Wins Award in China

Tomra optical sorting plastics recycling ifat 2016 ringer innovation award

TOMRA Sorting Recycling has been declared a winner in the newly created category for ‘Recycling Machinery’ at this year’s Ringier Technology Innovation Awards – Plastics Industry.

Launched in 2006, the Ringier Technology Innovation Awards have become one of the most influential and prestigious industrial Awards in China, primarily because of its neutral judging process.

Only new products and solutions launched during 2015-2016 in the China market were eligible to enter the 2016 Awards selection process. Entries for each innovation Awards category were shortlisted by the panel of judges – all of whom are industry experts.

The general public then voted for the winners via the official website of the Awards, and the final winners list was selected by the panel of judges based on entry review, evaluation and the public voting results.

TOMRA won for its “highly innovative” AUTOSORT FLAKE sorting system that had been launched and introduced to the Chinese market in 2015.

TOMRA explained that although the AUTOSORT FLAKE’s immediate application is the sorting of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes prior to recycling, it is a versatile machine.

The Power of Three

The AUTOSORT FLAKE is capable of sorting three waste streams, as well as being able to sort both metals and coloured materials, including non-transparent coloured materials. This means that, today its main application is the sorting of recycled polyester (rPET) flakes, but additional applications include the sorting of PE/PP, E-scrap, and PVC flakes.

Using an EM3 sensor, the metals are separated based upon their electromagnetic properties. RGB illumination can also be used to sort non-transparent metals. At the same time, the AUTOSORT FLAKE is capable of processing polymers through the implementation of near-infrared (NIR) sensors.

Finally, RGB LED illumination is used to detect non-transparent coloured materials, including stones, metals, ceramics and glass. The RGB transmission technology used for coloured sorting is considered state-of-the art technology in the PET sorting industry.

TOMRA added that at the same time, the AUTOSORT FLAKE can process polymers, where separation is enabled by near-infrared (NIR) sensors. Coloured items are the third category, where RGB LED illumination allows detection of non-transparent coloured materials, including stones, metals, ceramics and glass.

According to the manufacturer coloured sorting based on RGB transmission is considered state-of-the art technology in PET sorting today.

The NIR sensor detection of PET flakes is made possible through the use of a FOURLINE optic module.

The technology is capable of simultaneously scanning four-lines of individual pixels that have dimensions greater than 2mm; a resolution which TOMRA said reflects the fact that the technology used in its NIR sensor is at the forefront of the latest automated sorting.

The FOURLINE optic module also enables the continuous calibration of the AUTOSORT FLAKE, by means of a white reference installed inside the scanner.

"Continuous calibration ensures our customers can eliminate errors that would normally result in costly downtime, providing a stability of output TOMRA Sorting's rivals cannot match," explained Valerio Sama, Product Manager Recycling.

"This groundbreaking feature contributes to low maintenance requirements and low energy consumption, as well as proving that it is indeed possible to protect environmental resources while reducing operating costs. All of this means a quicker ROI for our customers," added Sama.

The award was presented at a ceremony in Shanghai and the technology will be in show at the company’s booth at IFAT 2016: C2.339/438

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