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See how deep-learning artificial intelligence can revolutionize sorting and recycling of PET plastic and flake at NPE2024.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

March 26, 2024

2 Min Read
Tomra Innosort Flake system for PET recycling
TOMRA

Tomra Recycling will feature the company’s latest sorting innovations during NPE2024 in Orlando, May 6-10, 2024, at booth #S35185. Team members will preview Tomra’s latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology, based on deep learning, available for cleaning recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material streams.

In addition, the company will offer insights into the updates available on the recently introduced InnoSort Flake as well as the AutoSort Flake sorting solutions.

GainNext, Tomra latest breakthrough AI technology to improve plastics sorting accuracy, uses deep learning capabilities to sort objects that could not be separated by traditional methods. Combined with advanced AutoSort technology, GainNext classifies material based on sensor data and provides object recognition using an RGB camera to separate materials with high purity levels without compromising throughput speed.

One of the most recent applications for GainNext aids in creating a pure recyclable PET fraction by removing difficult-to-detect plastic contaminants, such as multilayer packaging, to create a clean PET bottle stream. Leveraging AI, the PET cleaner application targets the separation of white opaque PET from clear and light blue PET, which, until now, was difficult to solve.

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The latest advances in flake sorting and recycling.

Delivering high-throughput purification of plastic flakes, the new InnoSort Flake’s feature enhancements enable simultaneous flake sorting by polymer, color, and transparency, achieving superior quality with high throughput and maximum yield. Its advanced near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer detects polymers from contaminated infeed, so mixed plastics are sorted into clean PET, polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE) and other fractions for extrusion. Enhanced optics with changeable color background and dual-sided high-resolution cameras detect millions of colors to create single-color fractions.

For high-end applications such as bottle-to-bottle recycling where contamination of the infeed material is low, but quality requirements are high, Tomra Recycling offers the AutoSort Flake sorter. It features a powerful combination of NIR spectrometer, full color camera and metal sensor to deliver simultaneous material, color and metal detection and achieve both extremely high purity and stable throughput. A high sensitivity electromagnetic sensor detects and removes the smallest ferrous and non-ferrous metals contaminants down to 1 mm (0.04 in) with maximum precision.

Team members can also explain the benefits of Tomra’s related technologies including Sharp Eye and the patented Flying Beam sensing technology.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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