TOMRA’s new AUTOSORT® boosts sorting accuracy of plastic contained and food packaging

Asahi Koseki K.K is the first company in Japan to introduce the new AUTOSORT® unit and is now reaping the benefits of increased productivity and improved operations. 

Tokushima-based Asahi Koseki manufactures crushed stone and recycled pellets and RPF (Refuse Paper & Plastic Fuel) from waste plastics. The company installed TOMRA Recycling’s latest AUTOSORT® technology in 2021 and has since benefitted from much higher sorting accuracy of plastic containers and food and commodity packaging.

Asahi Koseki established its waste plastic recycling business in 2006 and since then has used TOMRA Recycling’s optical sorting technology to produce recycled PO (PolyolefinA) pellets and solid fuel from waste plastic. The company recognized the importance of optical sorting machines in generating high purity material fractions that can be further processed and recycled. In 2021, in a bid to achieve optimal sorting performance and be fully equipped for future sorting challenges, Asahi Koseki decided to replace the older generation AUTOSORT with the latest generation unit.

Prior to installing the new TOMRA AUTOSORT® unit, Asahi Koseki relied on eight manual pickers to improve the sorting accuracy and recover more mixed plastics by sorting general plastic wastes (including PE (polyethylene), PP (polypropylene), PS (polystyrene) and PET) from impurities before feeding them into the sorting machine.


Thanks to the introduction of the new AUTOSORT®, PP and PE which were sometimes mixed can now be separated using TOMRA Recycling's SHARP EYE technology. SHARP EYE can identify even the finest molecular differences in raw materials, improving the optical detection with no additional power consumption.

The previous generation AUTOSORT® enabled 13 types of materials to be sorted, but the new model has almost no restrictions and allows for more detailed settings. Another important and game-changing technology featured by AUTOSORT® is TOMRA Recycling's patented FLYING BEAM® technology. The illumination unit delivers light to every corner of the belt width through an in-built light in the scanner box and can easily correct the white balance of the sensor for differences in sunlight depending on the season and time of day. This reduces energy consumption by up to 80% and results in high performance with excellent light efficiency and lower operating costs.


Mr. Urushibara, President of Asahi Koseki, comments: "We have noticed a significant improvement in sorting purity/purity levels, even visually. We are impressed with the high processing capacity, which allows us to maintain stable quality, even when we increase the processing volume while there is some overlap at the time of feeding. The fine air nozzles allow us to sort materials as small as 15mm. The FLYING BEAM unit is housed which makes it is less susceptible to dust and easier to maintain; we only need to clean the glass part of the sensor. Whenever we have any issues, TOMRA’s aftersales service has been helpful and prompt. We are glad that we took the plunge and introduced the new machine.”

Masanobu Kawaguchi, Managing Director of TOMRA Sorting Japan K.K., adds: "It has been around six months since the new AUTOSORT® was installed for the first time in Japan and we are delighted with the high sorting accuracy of the increasingly complex plastic waste stream. This project will enhance our knowledge of sorting waste containers and packaging plastics in the Japanese market, and we hope to use it to help more customers with programming across various applications. We will also actively introduce the new AUTOSORT® technology to our customers through demonstrations so that they can see its true value for themselves.

“TOMRA Recycling has developed products for various applications based on the unique needs of the Japanese market. We will support our customers in achieving sustainable operations with the most advanced optical sorting solutions developed from global best practice, and we will contribute to the promotion of a circular economy model as a solutions provider with high technical capabilities.”