Tomra Launches New Autosort Technologies
Carlos Manchado Atienza, Tomra regional director for the Americas, discusses the significance of these new product launches for the company and the recycling industry.
The Tomra Autosort Speedair is an additional component to the company’s Autosort range.
During a virtual press conference, Tomra announced new advanced sorting technology for more efficient and smarter material sorting.
Under the theme of “Symphony of all Sorts,” Tomra Sorting Recycling formally launched two brand new products – Tomra’s new generation technology Autosort and Autosort Speedair. The company also outlined plans for the upcoming launch of a third new solution, Autosort Cybot.
Carlos Manchado Atienza, Tomra regional director for the Americas, told Plastics Technology that the Tomra Autosort combines different technologies into one machine.
Now incorporated as a standard is Tomra’s Sharp Eye Technology that increases the light efficiency while maintaining the same energy consumption, enhances sorting sharpness and improves the separation of difficult to target fractions. In addition, the unit also includes the latest and improved version of Tomra’s patented Flying Beam sensing technology, which features a range of benefits including better light efficiency that enables higher performance at low operating costs; compact design that enables flexible and easy installation; and enhanced light signal efficiency that results in improved detection.
Optional technologies include the new Deep Laiser, which stands out for its compactness and flexible range of uses. Its object recognition enables a deeper sorting sharpness to significantly improve the performance of the sorting process. Another application area is the use of Artificial Intelligence via Deep Learning.
“The Flying Beam technology in combination with the Sharp Eye is now a standard product and we can also add the Deep Laiser, which can detect materials we weren’t able to see before,” he said. “There were many changes made not just on the hardware but also the software.”
Manchado Atienza highlighted that the combination of Flying Beam and Sharp Eye can recognize materials more clearly. For instance, it doesn’t just detect that a material is PET but can also see if the bottle is blowmolded or thermoformed.
“These small chemical differences, we are able to see it much better, and that’s a huge step with this technology,” he said.
The Autosort Speedair is an additional component to the Tomra Autosort range. The highly customizable system is designed to stabilize light materials such as plastic films or paper on a high-speed conveyor, where it can generate higher throughput and enhance sorting quality.
The Autosort Speedair incorporates speed-controlled, fan-driven air inlets that generate a constant air stream over the conveyor belt to prevent material on the conveyor belt from moving. By doubling the speed of the conveyor belts up to 19.7 ft/sec, throughput is much higher, and the output quality is consistently high, the company says. As the first system on the market with no belt cover, access to the unit for maintenance is enhanced, chances of material blockage are much lower compared to conventional high-speed systems in the market, and machine downtime is minimized.
“We’ve more than double the speed but the central capabilities are even more important because customers want to handle more material in one step and we are able to do that with the Speedair,” Manchado Atienza said.
Another feature of the Speedair is identifying the material—such as if its high-density PE film or low-density PE film.
“Both are PE, but one is high-density and the other is low-density, and we are able to see the differentiation,” he said. “That’s really the goal of Speedair – to have more speed as well as be able to handle the detection.”
Tomra also gave a look to the upcoming launch of its first robot, the Autosort Cybot. The system features a new generation Autosort scanner, an electromagnetic sensor and a robot arm.
It is reportedly the first robot on the market that combines four technologies at once: Near Infrared (NIR) and Visible Light (VIS) spectroscopy, Deep Laiser and if required, induction for ferrous and non-ferrous metals recovery. Autosort Cybot’s robotic arm is capable of simultaneously sorting material into four different streams or fractions depending on the in-feed material size, color and criteria of the target fractions. The Autosort Cybot will available soon. It is another value-added component that complements the Autosort but can also operate as a standalone unit. It reportedly delivers an even higher level of quality control of recyclables such as HDPE, PET and PP.
The product launches were originally due to take place at IFAT 2020 and Waste Expo 2020, but with the events canceled due to COVID-19, Tomra adapted its plans and instead launched the new products on a digital platform.
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