pieces of mixed aluminum scrap
Recycling Today archives

Sortera Alloys to expand

The company will relocate to a larger facility in Markle, Indiana, where it will be able to process 150 million pounds of scrap annually.

September 7, 2022

Sortera Alloys Inc. of Fort Wayne, Indiana, will expand into a new 200,000-square-foot processing facility in Markle, Indiana, following a formal groundbreaking in the fourth quarter. The company says processing will ramp up in the first quarter of 2023, adding that the site has the option to expand to 400,000 square feet.

Sortera’s technology combines artificial intelligence, data analytics and advanced sensors to sort aluminum alloys from existing streams of mixed alloy scrap, commonly called twitch, that are typically shipped abroad for processing or used to produce secondary aluminum grades. The resulting aluminum scrap created by Sortera’s sorting process will be recirculated into the manufacturing industry to be used in high-value applications, such as automotive cast and flat-rolled products and building, construction and aerospace extrusions, according to the company.

In July of this year, Sortera announced that it had raised $10 million in funding to advance end-of-life recycling for automotive metals. The funding round was led by Assembly Ventures with additional funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Novelis Inc. The company also announced a commercial agreement with Novelis Corp. this summer. Through that agreement, Atlanta-based Novelis says it will be able to effectively separate mixed automotive scrap into individual alloys and recycle them back into the same products, allowing the aluminum producer to meet original equipment makers' needs for performance, durability, safety and design.

"The new facility represents a significant milestone for Sortera as we look to scale our operations and capture a large chunk of the 4 billion pounds of scrap alloy that is currently sent overseas,” says Michael Siemer, CEO of Sortera Alloys. “This will allow us to fill the increased demand for high-quality recycled alloys in the domestic market, specifically with automotive customers.”

Siemer says the company is grateful to the town of Markle and to The Zacher Co., a commercial real estate company based in Fort Wayne, for their help.

The facility will be in Markle, roughly 25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne, off Interstate 69. Sortera says it plans to move its existing operations from Fort Wayne to the new facility. Once fully operational, the facility will employ approximately 110 workers. 

Ben Pope, vice president of commercialization at Sortera Alloys, says, "Sortera's low-cost, scalable sorting process enables aluminum manufacturers to use roughly 5 percent of the energy required to manufacture aluminum from virgin material, enabling customers to reduce their CO2 footprint and pursue sustainability and circular production goals. Our new facility is a perfect fit for our first mass production location. We are excited that Markle has the right workforce and is a special place that is proactively looking for partners to enhance their community.” 

Markle Council Vice President Nick Lund and President Matt Doss say Sortera will have a “significant” impact on the community “with little impact on our local environment.”