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Tomra advances metal scrap sorting with new test centre

Sorting specialist Tomra has opened a new test centre for metals recycling at its headquarters near Koblenz, Germany. Recycling International attended the opening together with over 200 industry stakeholders.

‘We want to help recyclers make the most of their material,’ said company ceo Tove Anderson at the grand opening, held yesterday. ‘They are facing tight margins and steep competition. We want to illuminate and overcome sorting issues with our new technology,’ she points out.

‘Before, clients had to be patient when putting in a request for samples or a live demonstration. There were long wait times due to limited capacity at our previous test centre, where we test both general waste, plastic and metals,’ Anderson observes. ‘Expanding capacity for metals sorting with a dedicated line automatically means clients active in other parts of the sector now get our undivided attention.’

Two of the most important sorting solutions running at Tomra are the InnoSort and Autosort lines. They are powered by Artificial intelligence making use of a deep learning database containing thousands of material images.

‘The world is hungry for materials, especially recycled materials. Intelligent sorting can really make a difference,’ says Tom Eng, company senior vice president. ‘At Tomra, we’re all about sorting smarter, not just more or faster. We’ll be investing more in this topic in the years to come: it is the future.’

Looking ahead, he is proud to say Tomra plans to invest up to EUR 60 million in the construction of a new plastic feedstock recycling facility. The site, to be built at a yet undecided location in Germany, will have an initial processing capacity of 80 000 tonnes. Its output will cater mostly to the packaging industry and is scheduled to become operational by 2025 at the latest.

The new test centre is meant to demonstrate how Tomra is trying to push the limits of what the industry believes is possible. ‘It’s been a difficult time with many challenges, some familiar, some new,’ Anderson says. ‘We believe in our R&D team, engineers, lab specialist and the whole Tomra family. Together, we’re up for the challenge.’

Seeing as true innovation is based on teamwork, she called on the global recycling community to share their input to help improve modern-day recycling technology. ‘With a shared vision, we are ready to set new milestones,’ the ceo concludes with a champagne toast.

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