Latest developments in plant design
The typical E-scrap plant design described above is well proven and widely used, but in recent years we have worked with customers to introduce some new and innovative alternative applications of our technology.
For example, we recently installed a COMBISENSE™ unit which uses a visual spectrometer sensor to remove visible copper, such as wire bundles attached to iron or small engines. When incorporated after magnetic separation, this solution makes the ferrous fraction much cleaner and far more likely to pass visual inspections at the steel mill.
Instead of using an eddy current separator first directly after the magnet, some of our customers have used our FINDER™ unit to recover all the metals, including the non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper. This is achieved using a Laser Object Detection (LOD) sensor within the FINDER™ unit. The bulk volume of the material – the plastics – is therefore removed upfront which means there is less material to go through the later sorting steps. Consequently, very few metals are lost, it is much easier to upgrade the metals and less footprint is required for equipment as only smaller sorting units are needed.
Finally, another new development implemented by some customers is sorting out PCBs before they enter the eddy current separator using either our COMBISENSE™ unit which uses color and electromagnetic sensors, or our AUTOSORT™ unit which uses near-infrared technology. By recovering the PCBs in just one step at this stage, there is no need to sort them from both the non-ferrous metals and the stainless steel and copper fraction. This potentially saves a sorting step and again makes the later sorting steps easier and more efficient.
Greater separation of E-scrap is a means for processors to gain a more robust trading position in the global marketplace. As sensor-based sorting solutions can be incorporated at different stages in the process, they are very flexible and can be used to target different valuable monofractions. Today, many of our customers are using our technology to target copper and other precious metals due to their high market value.
Looking to the future, we expect to see more and more forward-thinking E-scrap processors invest in flexible sensor-based sorting technology as a means of creating more monofractions to meet industry demand. This will put them in a much stronger position to shift stock, grow their customer base and, ultimately, increase their profit margins as the recovered monofractions can be sold at much higher prices and often traded locally, helping to close the loop on metals recycling.https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/databrowser/view/T2020_RT130/bookmark/table?lang=en&bookmarkId=a69be825-957e-473c-a81f-f02866dc9141