Tomra Recycling, based in Germany, opened its new flake sorting test center in Italy Sept. 22. The company says it will use the facility to develop new applications and solutions for sorting polyolefins (PO) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes while also expanding its service offering.
With a theme of “Testing is believing,” Tomra representatives welcomed roughly 100 participants to its opening event and guided tour of the new flake sorting facility, located next to its office in Parma, Italy, according to the company. The afternoon included presentations and demos highlighting the company’s long-term plastics strategy, the purpose and goal of the new facility and the numerous advantages it offers customers.
Fabrizio Radice, vice president and head of global sales and marketing at Tomra Recycling provided a detailed explanation of the rationale behind investing in a new test center. “We have observed an increasing demand for flake sorting tests and a strong market push for high-quality recycled plastics,” he told those in attendance. “This requires the purest material fractions across all plastics applications, and the respective technologies and solutions need to be identified, developed and optimized. This will happen in our new facility while closely collaborating with our customers and partners.”
Customers from around the world can ship their plastic flakes to the Parma test center to be processed by the company’s flake sorting machines. Based on the test analysis and results, Tomra says it will recommend the most suitable machine, process and sensor configuration for the customer’s defined sorting requirements and goals. Customers are provided with an entire business case tailored to their needs before making an investment, the company adds.
With the new test center, Tomra says its customers can enjoy extended testing capacities, shorter lead times and greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling tests. Situated in Parma, at the heart of one of Europe’s most important industrial regions, it can be reached via the international airports of Milan, Bologna, Verona and Bergamo.
In the second part of his presentation, Radice said Tomra is a “One Stop Shop Solution” because it offers a portfolio of sensor-based sorters for presorting and flake sorting that work in unison with each other and allow greater operational and financial benefits as well as in-depth application knowledge, consultancy expertise and ongoing service support.
Alberto Piovesan, segment manager, plastics, EMEA & Americas, presented the company’s flake sorting strategy and position in the plastics segment
He said, “Within only 1.5 years, we established a place where new ideas and innovations are born to best respond to current market trends. More importantly, we are working on solutions that are indispensable for any sorting and recycling plant targeting to successfully upgrade plastics.”
Strong emphasis was also put on the new trends in plastics recycling and the implication these trends have on the industry. One of the trends is seen in a discrepancy of input and output qualities. Whereas input materials are expected to come with lower qualities, the required output must feature the highest qualities possible, the company says.
Addressing these challenges, Tomra says, makes the application of the latest sorting technologies critical.
Ida Semb, product manager at Tomra Recycling, offered more detail and presented the key features of Autosort Flake and Innosort Flake, which are used for the recovery of plastic flakes (whether PET, PO or polyvinyl chloride) as small as 0.079 inches, or 2 millimeters, and deliver the purity rates demanded by the market. The company says Autosort Flake excels in high-end applications where the level of contaminants is low, but the quality requirements are particularly high, while Innosort Flake is applied to more contaminated streams and is available with a PO-specific sensor. With its 78.7-inch (2-meter) width, Innosort Flake provides accurate sorting result while sorting up to 6.7 tons per hour, the company adds.
At the close of the presentations, Semb and Robert Glaser, technical product expert, flake sorting, joined Piovesan for the demo session. All participants were guided into the test center to witness the machines in action.
Radice concluded the event by saying, “We are excited about having guided you through this inspiring and informative day. Our key message is that we are dedicated to shaping the plastics recycling segment and contribute to it with our comprehensive expertise, technologies and, finally, our passion and commitment to enable greater circularity of our resources. With our new test center, we are moving ahead and focusing on the development of new solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. We are your partner and live up to our promises. We invite you to come, test your material on our machines and believe in what is possible in upgrading plastics.”