A co-development led by officials at PARC (Osaka University's Photonics Advanced Research Center) with Mitsubishi Electric Engineering (Tokyo, also Japan) and German automation and sensing systems manufacturer IDEC (Hamburg) have developed a system they say can sort up to six different types of plastics for recycling.
|Laser equipped and robot run, this recycling system can sort up to six types of plastics.|
Most plastics recycling have employees positioned after their recycling systems to perform a double-check of the machines. Should the false material not be caught, a recycler's profitability can quickly be destroyed. "One PVC sleeve can ruin three good kilograms of PET," explained George Dadiani, who runs a recycling plant in the Czech Republic.
The new sorting system relies on laser sensor-driven optics. The laser sensing technology distinguishes various kinds of plastics by the reflectivity of lasers of five wavelengths; these serve as the 'eyes' of the robotic sorter. PARC and IDEC co-developed the photonics sensing technology while Mitsubishi Electric Engineering brings the robot to the system.
The system is getting a test run now in Japan in cooperation with the Nara COOP and Osaka University COOP. The project is supported by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. —Matt Defosse