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Live from Cologne: the birth of a new test centre

‘I invite recyclers from all over the world to send in their scrap test samples and have them processed here with our recycling solutions.’

With these words, followed by a push on a big red button, Peter Funke, managing director of Germany’s sorting technology expert Steinert, officially opened the company’s new test and development centre.

Located in Pulheim, a 10-minute drive from Steinert’s Cologne  headquarters, the test centre features the firm’s latest technology all under the roof of a huge hall. Steinert invested EUR 7 million in the facility which is as big as a football field.

Studio Steinert

In pre Covid-19 times, Steinert would have invited recyclers from all over the world to fly in and participate in the opening ceremony. But the pandemic forced Funke and his team to come up with an alternative: a live stream video show from the test centre floor.

For this occasion, the front part of the hall was transformed into a TV studio with cameras, lights, camera-equipped drones, direction desk and a moderator – all against the backdrop of Steinert’s new metal sorting and separation line.

The whole world watches

Several hundred customers from 55 countries worldwide tuned in to the live stream of the opening event. ‘I am glad about the positive feedback from our customers,’ said Funke. ‘Of course I regret that the global recycling scene cannot be here “live” due to the pandemic. However, it’s encouraging to see how many people and businesses have put effort into adjusting to the new reality. I believe with this new digital experience, which we will be seeing more and more of in the future, we may have set the tone and certainly done our part.’

‘The place to be’

The opening show was co-hosted by Steinert’s technical director Dr Nico Schmalbein and Karl Hoffmann, the company’s sales director metal recycling.

Hoffmann called the new test centre ‘a big playground’. ‘For any testing of metal recycling, this is the place to be,’ he said, adding that data and testing could be checked remotely from every corner in the world because of digital tools and video cameras in the test equipment. ‘Change has come fast, boosted by coronavirus.’

A circularity frontrunner

The need for secondary materials will only grow, Hoffmann insisted. ‘And so will the need for smart recycling solutions. We want to play a key role in the circular economy, together with recyclers.’

The recording of the official opening of the test centre will be online shortly at

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