Tomra AutoSort devices find home in Turkey
Serkan Orhan of Tomra says its new installation in Turkey has brought new levels of plastic recycling automation to that nation.
Photo provided by Tomra Sorting Recycling.

Tomra AutoSort devices find home in Turkey

Turkish recycling firm Burkasan sorts plastic containers and flakes using Tomra sensor sorting equipment.

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October 19, 2020

Turkey-based multiple materials recycling firm Burkasan, which has several recycling facilities in that nation, is using Tomra Sorting Recycling AutoSort and AutoSort Flake machines at a new plastic recycling facility. The plant has been designed to sort up to five tons per hour of plastic scrap, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) containers, according to Tomra.

Tomra calls it the first time a recycling plant in Turkey has been outfitted to process mixed plastic containers “using the most advanced sensor-based sorting solutions from Tomra Sorting Recycling to get excellent results in the production of PET flakes and HDPE granules.”

States Vedat Kılıç, board chairman at Burkasan, “We set ourselves the target to produce the best raw materials out of [scrap] plastic by using Tomra’s optical sorting machines. Technological equipment is of utmost importance for us, and a prerequisite for reaching the product quality and capacity we targeted. On our way to achieving a purity level of 99 percent, allowing us to offer our products to the major global companies, we chose to work with Tomra as a global leader in providing state-of-the art sensor-based sorting solutions.” 

Kılıç says a compulsory deposit system is scheduled to start in in Turkey in 2021. “Since this practice will trigger a fast increase in the rate of [scrap bottle] collection in our country, there is a need for high-capacity facilities where the collected beverage bottles can be sorted and recycled. Therefore, we designed our new plant with the requirements of the deposit system in mind.”

Kılıç says, “We have plans for our new plastic recycling plant to process 2,500 tons of material per month, and to thus obtain a minimum of 1,500 tons of high-purity PET flakes and HDPE granules. It is [nearly] impossible to realize the same level of capacity and purity with manual sorting, regardless of the number of workers. Especially in times of the current pandemic and the need to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, manual sorting turns out to be a very challenging and costly method while product quality cannot be guaranteed. We can gladly say that we overcome all these problems with Tomra sorting machines that sort our incoming materials precisely [and] can achieve 99 percent purity.”

Tomra says its AutoSort is located “right at the beginning” of the Burkasan plant, following pre-sorting operations using a bale opener, magnets, eddy current and ballistic separator designed to remove fines, metals and two-dimensional materials. Later in the line, Tomra’s AutoSort Flake “takes over the task of burr removal and sorts material by color, metal and polymer type even if the material mix contains the smallest pieces of foreign substances,” states Tomra.

Serkan Orhan, Turkey and Middle East sales manager at Tomra Sorting Recycling, says, “Based on proven Flying Beam technology, Tomra’s AutoSort guarantees a perfectly homogeneous light distribution for better detection and sorting throughout the process, thus allowing for higher performance and operational efficiency. Moreover, it detects substances that cannot be identified in a manual sorting process, and consequently further increases the purity levels of sorting.”

Looking ahead, Kılıç remarks, “In the beginning, we focus on obtaining high-density polyethylene granulates and PET flakes, but our aim is to make an additional investment to produce PET granulates. In the medium term, we plan to achieve ’bottle to bottle’ recovery. If the Turkish Food Codex gives consent, we’ll target the production of raw materials for making PET bottles that can also be used in the beverage sector.”

Germany-based Tomra Sorting Recycling designs and makes sensor-based sorting technology and equipment for the global recycling industry. It is part of Norway-based Tomra Systems ASA.