Sharp Eye Technology separates PET trays from PET bottles

Sharp Eye Technology separates PET trays from PET bottles

Tomra Sorting Recycling says new application is made possible by higher light intensity.

May 14, 2018
Edited by DeAnne Toto
Equipment & Products Plastics

Tomra Sorting Recycling has introduced Tomra Sharp Eye technology, which the company says makes separating single-layer polyethylene terephthalate (PET) trays from PET bottles possible and enhancing the previous capability of Tomra’s Autosort machine to separate multilayer trays. Small but critical differences in the chemical properties of PET food trays and PET bottles mean they must be separated for equivalent-product recycling, the company says. Additionally, artificial intelligence embedded in Tomra systems enables seamless analysis of sorted products, making future plants smarter.

Valerio Sama, Tomra Sorting Recycling Product Manager, says, “We expect our new Tomra Sharp Eye technology to be welcomed by collection-and-sorting plants and by PET regeneration centers. Demand for this is likely to grow because the widening international adoption of on-the-go lifestyles is increasing the use of plastic drink bottles and plastic trays used for fruit, vegetables and other foods.”

According to the company, the key to this technology is an enhancement of Tomra’s Flying Beam technology, a near-infrared (NIR) scan system with point-scanning (eliminating the need for external lamps) that focuses only on the area of the conveyor belt being scanned and allowing a wide range of calibration possibilities. When the Flying Beam Technology is combined with Tomra Sharp Eye technology that introduces a larger lens for higher light intensity, even the most difficult-to-distinguish properties can be detected, Tomra says.

“Tomra Sharp Eye technology allows our customers to achieve higher and more consistent quality for new plastic food-grade packaging,” says Carlos Manchado Atienza, Tomra Sorting Recycling Regional Director, Americas. “Thanks to our new technology, we can recognize molecular properties and differentiate between monolayer and multilayer trays from bottles. It is a definitive step to recover, recycle and reuse.”

A Tomra Autosort machine with the new Tomra Sharp Eye technology is available for demonstrations by appointment at the company’s test centers around the world.

A video of the new application is available at

Tomra Sorting Recycling designs and manufactures sensor-based sorting technologies for the global recycling and waste management industry. More than 5,500 systems have been installed in 80 countries worldwide.

Tomra Sorting Recycling is part of Tomra Sorting Solutions, which also develops sensor-based systems for sorting, peeling and process analytics for the food, mining and other industries. Tomra Sorting Solutions is owned by Norwegian company Tomra Systems ASA.


Packaging PET