Tomra introduces next-generation flake sorting technology

Tomra launches of the new Innosort Flake for high-throughput purification of plastic flakes. Its features are claimed to enable simultaneous flake sorting by polymer, colour and transparency achieving high quality even from very contaminated inputs.

Equipped with a powerful sensor combination, the development sorts polymers by material type and colour, removing any impurities to create pure fractions. Thanks to its advanced near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer, the machine precisely detects various polymers, allowing for the recovery of recyclable materials from highly contaminated infeed, says Tomra. With this technology, plastics recovered from mixed waste, for example, can be sorted for recycling, giving access to more recyclable materials that otherwise would be lost or downcycled for lower-grade applications. For instance, polyolefins (PO), such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are often found comingled in the same waste stream. With the new Innosort Flake, mixed plastic fractions that have been shredded and washed can be sorted into clean fractions of PET, PP and PE and other materials that meet the quality requirements for extrusion and the creation of high-quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.

The company notes that plant operators profit from the machine’s colour sorting performance. Its enhanced optics, with a changeable colour background and dual-sided high-resolution cameras, is claimed to detect millions of colours and create single-colour fractions. Its high contrast imaging can differentiate between white opaque and natural, transparent and translucent flakes, reducing material losses and maximising yield.

The flake sorting development comes with up to four chutes and a changeable illumination background. This level of flexibility makes it possible to run multiple sorting and recovery steps in a single machine, leading to considerable time savings and less material handling, says Tomra. The new design has been created to give unrestricted access to the machine’s components enabling smooth maintenance with little downtime.

Data-driven analysis

In addition, Tomra Insight can be installed as an add-on service. The cloud-based data monitoring platform contributes to improving sorting performance. It helps optimise processes through data analysis: Identified inefficiencies and predicted maintenance further support the reduction of machine downtime and productivity losses. In addition, its real-time monitoring gives plant operators access to data anywhere and anytime to maintain process stability.  

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