Griñó Ecologic has installed three AUTOSORT 4 sensor-based sorters at its packaging sorting plant in Montoliu de Lleida. These units are fitted with near-infrared sensors to separate the polymer and tetra-brik fractions and they operate in a treatment line which processes 3 t/h of light packaging waste.
In October 2013, the new light packaging sorting plant built by Griñó Group in the Lleida town of Montoliu went into operation. This plant treats segregated municipal waste deposited in the yellow container: PET, HDPE, plastic film, tetra brik, aluminium, ferrous metals and mixed plastics. These materials, once sorted, are baled for transfer to the final recycler. The plant serves a population of over 440,000 in Lleida province.
The new facility is fitted with state-of-the-art technology in the form of three AUTOSORT 4 sensor-based sorters. These units feature fourth-generation near-infrared (NIR) sensors that identify and sort the different materials with the greatest speed and accuracy. The plant currently processes an average of 3 t/h, but is designed for increased capacity in order to adapt to the constant growth in quantity of packaging waste collected.
Two AUTOSORT [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.
Albert Mateu, Director of the Treatment Division at Griñó Ecologic, has outlined the advantages of this innovative technology: “Automatic separation by sensors enables treatment of a greater amount of material, considerably increasing the plant’s overall performance and lowering handling costs. Moreover, the result is high-quality sorted material”.
This is not the group’s first experience with TOMRA Sorting’s sensor-based technology, since it has another light packaging sorting plant, which was automated in successive phases and fitted with TOMRA´s sensor-based sorting technology. This plant, situated in Constantí (Tarragona), treats 5 t/h of packaging waste, serving a population of 810,000 throughout the province. It was also treating light packaging collected in Lleida province until the start-up of the Montoliu de Lleida plant.
"...efficient technologies with a higher degree of automation led us toward TOMRA equipment."
"Our company’s constant quest for more efficient technologies with a higher degree of automation led us toward TOMRA equipment. The experience at both plants has been highly positive. The results obtained at the Constantí plant were extremely satisfactory, a fact that also encouraged the use of equipment for automatic sensor-based sorting of waste in the Montoliu sorting plant”, Albert Mateu said.
The latest-generation equipment at the Montoliu plant is more compact, reliable, power-efficient and accurate. This equipment enables sorting of two different waste groups with a single block of valves where the acceleration conveyor divides longitudinally (double track), allowing the investment to be optimized since a single sorter can separate two fractions at once with the same effectiveness as two independent units.