Sicon introduces Laser Sort

The new recovery system has been designed to separate nonferrous metals and alloys in a single pass.


Germany-based Sicon has introduced the Sicon Laser Sort for the separation of nonferrous metals and alloys in one pass. 

Sicon says the Laser Sort bridges the gap between high-throughput recovery on an industrial scale and use of secondary grade-specific aluminum as a resource.

Using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), the Sicon Laser Sort tackles the growing demand for unmixed aluminum alloys and pure nonferrous metals based on the chemical element analysis of each individual object passing through the sorter, according to the company. Sicon says the recovery system is ideal for aluminum recyclers, secondary aluminum smelters and nonferrous smelters. 

The company says density-based X-ray transmission separation VariSort XRT has been one of the only solutions for the separation of cast and wrought aluminum alloys. However, Sicon says the X-ray-based solution remains restricted to the separation of few alloy types with higher copper and zinc content. 

With its specific in-line design, the Sicon Laser Sort can separate any kind of nonferrous metals and alloys in one single pass, including recovery of 5000 and 6000 aluminum alloy series, according to the manufacturer.

The laser sort offers, according to Sicon:

  • in-line separation of up to 15 different metals and alloys in one single pass;
  • direct supply of defined metal and alloy graded to the steel and nonferrous industry;
  • access to new customer base for the processing industry; and
  • no more downgrading of material, all metals are recovered at the highest value.

The Sicon Laser Sort is a complete recovery system in a compact stand-alone design. With input material ranging in size between 1 inch and 6 inches (25 millimeters and 130 millimeters) the unit is adapted to process higher throughput per hour at a belt speed of 10 feet per second (3 meters per second). 

With the release of the Laser Sort, LIBS technology is now available on an industrial scale for high-throughput applications, Sicon says. The Laser Sort directs a high-impulse laser on each individual material object to release a particle emission, which produces visible light. The emitted light is captured in the spectrometer where it is being analyzed for its material elements. Each material has its own unique element composition with a specific wavelength. As such, the Laser Sort can identify each material object passing through. As a compact system unit, the Laser Sort has an advanced feeding and distribution design, ensuring highest sorting accuracy and peak throughput performance with. With an included auto-focus for each analyzed object, the unit can further be customized by setting up different calibration elements reaching beyond the application of sorting alloys.

Sicon says extensive trials have shown that paint and other superficial covers can decrease detection accuracy. For optimum results, the Laser Sort also features a preceding laser for cleaning purposes, mounted prior the main laser. The first laser directs a laser impulse at the entering material object engraving a specific marker; the second main laser directs the impulse at the same location for the spectroscopy analysis.