Q: How would you describe your role at TOMRA Sorting and what does it involve?
My role at TOMRA Sorting is the management of our main Test Center Recycling in Koblenz. This includes the planning of customer tests, testing of new applications and giving technical support for Sales and Service. The customer tests are carried out by my team of specialist engineers, who – in cooperation with sales and customers - help to develop innovative process flows during the tests. The entire sensor Recycling portfolio can be tested and is continually being updated to reflect new developments.
Q: You have been testing hundreds of different applications from all over the world with your team. What was the most fascinating application and why?
For me the most fascinating application is the sorting of household waste. Looking at the sheer diversity of the incoming material, it’s really quite exciting to sort and extract the valuable materials from this mixture. Our Test Center has worked on testing and comparing various concepts for sorting household waste, before transferring these concepts to MSW recycling plants. And thereby our work helps in the more efficient use of resources all over the world. The most fascinating aspect of our work is just knowing that we are contributing to a more efficient use of resources all over the world.
Q: Regarding the tests, which developments have you seen over the last few years? (type of applications, size, countries etc.)
There is certainly a trend towards more complex sorting tasks and the development of complete processes for special customer requests. The requirements are constantly increasing, for example we often test the sorting of PET bottles from trays, or sorting HD from LD film and the separation of different aluminum alloys. It’s safe to say that the resolution and precision of our sorting systems have also been significantly improved over the years. Lots of tests are carried out for small plastic flakes and copper granulates.
Q: What was the most curious discovery you have made personally?
No two customer tests are ever alike. Depending on the actual legislation and the country the material is coming from, or depending on the further treatment of the sorted materials, the requirements for each customer are different. It is challenging to find the best configuration for each request.
In the tests, we try to do everything to meet the individual customer’s needs. In end effect, this means I’m continually learning something new and adapting this knowledge to meet new customer requests. Discovering this new information is what I personally find exciting.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
I like the wide variety of my work. It is a good mixture of work with the team, practical work, meeting with customers and sales, and organizing daily tasks. It is interesting to prepare the Test Center with newest available software and hardware, as well as to integrate new prototypes into the test setup. Sometimes troubleshooting in our Test Center means I have to completely start my daily planning from scratch, but this is what makes the work even more exciting. After 9 years with TOMRA, I am proud to state that we never ever had to cancel a planned test due to technical issues.
Thank you, Stefanie.