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The latest remodeling of the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management Plant in Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real, Spain) includes two new AUTOSORT 4 optical sorting units.


The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management Plant of the Mancomunidad de Servicios Comsermancha (Comsermancha municipal services association), situated in Alcázar de San Juan (Ciudad Real), receives over 200 tons of residue daily from the 21 towns and 2 villages comprising the association. So Comsermancha serves a total population of 169,000 inhabitants. Its activity is focused on the collection, treatment and later elimination of the rejected fraction in a controlled dump and biogas management.

The plant’s successive automation, its modern treatment systems and the incorporation of new technologies into the MSW Management Plant’s sorting processes have positioned the town councils comprising the municipal association among leading Spanish municipalities to have implemented total waste management programs.


The waste management plant uses advanced units, which incorporate TOMRA Sorting sensor-based sorting technology. It has two sorting lines: one to treat remainder fraction, processing 70,000 tons a year, and another for the fraction from selective collection of light containers, processing around 1,500 tons per year.

In 2007 the plant purchased 2 TOMRA (formerly TITECH) units. Later, in 2013, these were updated and complemented by two new, latest-generation AUTOSORT 4 units. These are two optical separators featuring near-infrared (NIR) spectrometric sensors, which enable recognition and sorting of a large amount of materials by type and composition with total accuracy, obtaining extremely pure fractions.


Two AUTOSORT's [NIR1] units were installed, with a working width of 1,400mm, using dual-track technology. The PET fraction is separated in the first track of the first unit, while the remaining materials go on to the first track of the second TOMRA unit for the separation of HDPE. The reject from the first track of this second unit is redirected by conveyor belts to the second track of the first separator

The second track separates board from drinks containers, while the remaining material is sent to the second track of the second unit, where the final automatic separation is carried out to remove the mixed plastics fraction. In this way, four fractions are separated with optimum efficiency and purity using just two TOMRA units.

The third unit is a AUTOSORT with a width of 1,000mm. It is positioned in the flat fraction line for the separation of paper and board before the waste stream enters the plastic film separator. The fraction of film thereby suctioned off is of high quality while the process additionally generates a fraction of recovered paper and board.


Greater productivity and better working conditions with AUTOSORT 4

One of the AUTOSORT 4 units, with a 2,000-mm operating width, is set to separate paper and card, while the other, with a 1,400-mm operating width, has been configured as a double track for sorting PET and HDPE. This incorporation enables the plant’s recovery processes to be optimized, so that in the case of paper and card, total recovery has increased by over 2%, while for recovery of waste in general, improvement has risen from 3% formerly, to 6%, or 70,000 tons per year.

The AUTOSORT 4’s advanced technical features have provided clear benefits in terms of productivity, but also insofar as work processes in the plant. In the view of Jesús Sánchez Vela, the plant foreman, “the main advantage is the increase in recovery, with the environmental benefits this signifies. Yet the quality of the work of staff at the plant has also improved. They focus their efforts above all on monitoring the quality of the materials selected and overseeing the units. Furthermore, we can easily configure the sorting of sub-products, for which configuration of the plant according to operating requirements is helpful”.

Easy maintenance and energy savings
The AUTOSORT 4 needs less maintenance than the previous model, being easier to clean and using less power. The new concept of a valve block translates into greater accuracy and speed, while our FLYING BEAM® technology allows electricity savings of up to 70% by incorporating the lighting module inside the scanner itself. Furthermore, the unit’s compact streamlined design reduces maintenance to a minimum, with the ensuing savings in inactivity time and employee hours.


Our experience so far is positive. The new lamp design and height of the scanners reduces maintenance, especially when working with the remainder fraction, since previously more intense cleaning was required. Moreover, these new units incorporate a pneumatic system which, with a single push of a button, allows you to clean the valve block easily and adjust its position”, Sánchez Vela added.

“Adaptation of the new units was easy. Even though we had experience operating the previous TOMRA units, the AUTOSORT 4 has a simple interface that is easy to use and to set at a user level. It’s also important that if in doubt, we always have the support of TOMRA Sorting´s technical service” he concluded.