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SORTING | INNOVATION


bottles versus trays. Pellenc ST includes a series of sensors as


standard. These collect data to log equipment incidents, avoid breakages and analyse stream distribution. Major UK waste management company Biffa says it will use Pellenc ST optical sorters at its expanded plastics recycling facility in Aldridge, England. Biffa says it wants to recycle more plastics, with the aim of quadrupling capacity by 2030. The current upgrade will double capacity to 80,000 tonnes per year. Sorted PET from the Aldridge facility will be used by Biffa to produce rPET granules for use by, among others, Nestlé Waters UK. Sesotec’s Flake Scan plastic flake analysis system makes it possible to determine the precise quality of plastic flakes and regrind within minutes. The company says that, compared to traditional sampling methods for plastic flakes and regrind, Flake Scan offers significant improvements in terms of analysis accuracy and time and resources spent. It incorporates up to three sensor types, detecting colour, NIR, and metals. “The Flake Scan analysis system delivers data that can be quickly leveraged to make decisions about whether plastic flakes and regrind are pure enough for profitable use,” it says. “It can also provide insights into the effectiveness of an entire recycling process and helps to ensure individual plant components are functioning as they should be.” German turnkey waste sorting plant specialist


Stadler highlights its involvement in the EU- financed Life4Film project, which has the objective of preventing the disposal of plastic film in landfill sites. The process consists in a pilot of four stages: separation, washing, extrusion and production of the final product. Stadler designed and built the integrated sorting plant. The Life4Film plant has an intake capacity of 10,000 tonnes per year of plastic bales from municipal solid waste (MSW) and an output of approximately 4,000 tonnes per year of recycled PE regranulates. Of these, some 700 tonnes per year will be dedicated to the production of recycled plastic refuse bags, which will be used by FCC Medio Ambiente in Spain and various munici- palities for gardening and street cleaning work. Film bales from MSW streams are introduced in the feeder and go through a trommel, where they are opened, the content is separated, and fines (dry organic material sticking to the surface of the plastic) are eliminated. The overflow of the trommel drops into a shred-


der that reduces the particles’ size to less than 200 mm, in readiness for optical sorting. This shredded


www.plasticsrecyclingworld.com


material is conveyed to a ballistic separator that sorts the materials according to density, shape and size. On the way, a magnetic separator removes all ferrous residues from the material stream. In the ballistic separator, the material is divided into two streams: flats (2D material, which accounts for 90% of the infeed) and rolling (3D material that is considered as reject). The fines remaining in the stream below 65 mm in size are screened and rejected together with the fines from the trommel. The higher-density rolling materials are conveyed to an automatic reject storage bunker for later pressing. The flats then cascade through three optical


sorters for recovery, as 95% purity is required in the output stream. The stream feeds the first optical separator, where an air flow ejects the selected film which passes into the second optical separator. The rejected film is sent to an automatic reject bunker. The second optical separator repeats the opera- tion. Finally, the selected film passes through a quality control optical separator, where any unwanted material that may be left in the stream is ejected and sent to rejects. The material left after this last optical separation is the clean film, which is sent to an automatic storage bunker, where it is baled in readiness for further processing. While many developments in sorting relate to equipment for use at recycling facilities, sorting can also be facilitated by making plastics materials and/ or finished parts inherently easier to sort. One notable initiative is HolyGrail 2.0 (see Plastics Recycling World’s September-October 2019 issue for a feature on the results of the first phase of the Holy Grail initiative). The new project will evaluate and develop the viability of digital watermark technologies for more accurate sorting of packag- ing. The principal technology involved in the HolyGrail 2.0 initiative comes from Digimarc. The US company has developed a platform that enables digital watermarks to be imperceptibly


September 2021 | PLASTICS RECYCLING WORLD 23


Above: Bühler’s Sortex A GlowVision at its launch in London, UK, earlier this year


IMAGE: BÜHLER


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