Plant visit shows Tomra’s vital role in the circular economy
To see plastics recycling in action, conference delegates were given a tour of Integra Plastics’ new, €40m facilities on the outskirts of Sofia, which opened in February 2019. The new plant employs 85 people and 14 Tomra Autosort machines. One Autosort is combined with the Laser Object Detection (LOD) system and two have been specially developed for this plant, to sort-out black flexible materials. There is input capacity here to recycle 40,000 tons of mixed-color post-consumer film annually.
Integra’s specialty is the production of top-quality recycled low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (PEHD), and polypropylene granules (PP). To see how this is achieved, conference delegates were shown Integra’s entire, the start-to-finish process for plastic recycling. This starts with the plastic waste arriving in bales, which are opened by a de-baling unit and cut by a large shredder. The shredded material moves along more than one kilometer of conveyor belts, where a magnet and a screen filter-out unwanted materials such as metals and other fine materials.
Next, the material is sorted by Tomra machines, if desired, into six streams, by polyolefin type and color, before the plastics are hot-washed. After washing and drying, the plastic flakes are finally cleaned of any remaining impurities, colors and/or materials through additional Tomra units, before being forwarded for regranulation. This is when the plastics are compressed, melted, filtered, degassed, homogenized, and transformed into pellets. In the final stage the pellets are packed into one-tonne bags, ready for re-use in a wide range of applications. Integra is able to produce customized resin qualities, such as different material grades combined with different colors, making this plant unique and trend-setting.
Responsible for developing the world’s first high-capacity near infrared (NIR) sensor for waste sorting applications, Tomra Sorting Recycling remains an industry pioneer with a dedication to extracting high purity fractions from waste streams that maximize both yield and profits.
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 is owned by Norwegian company Tomra Systems ASA, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Founded in 1972, Tomra Systems ASA has a turnover of around €876m and employs ~4,000 globally.
Source: Tomra Sorting