Norway-based Tomra has launched a new flake sorting machine called Innosort Flake. It allows simultaneous flake sorting by colour, polymer, and transparency, and can handle highly contaminated inputs.
The new machine is equipped with a near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer which permits sorting of mixed waste, for example polyolefins such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), which are often mingled in the same waste stream. If these materials have been pre-washed and shredded, the Innosort can sort them into clean fractions of PET, PP, PE, and other materials, whilst meeting the quality requirements for extrusion and the creation of high-quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.
“Given brand and producer recycled content commitments, the market must address the demand,” said Eric Olsson, plastics segment manager, North America, for Tomra recycling sorting. “Recyclers require solutions to produce high-quality post-consumer recycled content in sufficient volumes, while demanding operational reliability and flexibility. The new Innosort Flake embodies Tomra’s half-century of R&D market leadership to specifically deliver on these needs.”
Although global demand for recycled polymers has been slumping in the past few months, some recycling machine manufacturers have maintained sales comparable to last year’s, and some have even defied odds and seen increased sales.
The Innosort also promises unmatched colour sorting performance. Its enhanced optics, with a changeable colour background and dual-sided high-resolution cameras, detect millions of colours and create single-color fractions. Its high contrast imaging can even differentiate between white opaque and natural, transparent, and translucent flakes, reducing material losses and maximising yield.
“The new Innosort Flake is designed to sort any colour, any polymer, at the same time,” said Alberto Piovesan, global segment manager plastics at Tomra. “It levels the playing field for recyclers and gives them maximum flexibility to respond to the respective market demands. If an operator wants to purify PET this month and produce a clean blue PP next month, it is technically possible with the new machine. What’s more, it is cost-effective,” he added, without proving details on price.
This January, Tomra announced a €50 to €60 million investment in machinery and equipment for a new recycling facility with a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year, scheduled to go into operation between 2024 and 2025. The plant will be built in an existing facility, which will be rented on a long-term basis.