This year´s 50th anniversary of IFAT Munich also marks an important milestone for TOMRA´s Recycling division, which commemorates two decades of successful business. Formerly launched as Norwegian company TITECH Autosort in 1996, the firm emerged from an R&D project starting in 1993.
Combining its established field-proven experience with its pioneering technology expertise TOMRA Sorting Recycling today designs and manufactures innovative, sensor-based sorting technologies for the global recycling and waste management industry.
Continuous innovation and technological advancements
Responsible for the introduction of the world’s first high capacity near infrared (NIR) sensor deployed for waste sorting, TOMRA Sorting Recycling remains a committed industry pioneer focused upon sophisticated methods of extracting high purity fractions from waste streams, maximizing both yield and profits.
The companies’ sensor portfolio has been expanded via significant corporate acquisitions like RealVisionsort, CommodasUltrasort, Odenberg and Best, whilst the use of both single and multi-sensor combinations has also extended the range of sensor-based sorting applications. This strategy continues to create new opportunities for companies to recover recyclable materials, allowing them to respond ever more flexibly to current and future market demands. Likewise, the number of collaborative applications TOMRA Sorting Recycling has developed with customers over the years has grown and assumed a distinctly international profile: Today over 4,400 of these systems have been installed in 50 countries worldwide.
Thanks to continuous innovation, automated sorting technology has experienced a quantum leap over the course of two decades producing dramatic improvements in sensor resolution. Advanced light sources now facilitate material sorting to degrees of accuracy and efficiency once unimaginable, while simultaneously reducing energy demands. Such technological advancements now permit the detection of ultra-fine objects – getting down as small as 0.5mm with some materials and technologies – while larger objects can be scanned with much greater accuracy.
Market trends and other push factors
The worldwide demand for recycled raw materials continues to grow, and rising labor costs in emergent nations are triggering the adoption of automatic sorting technologies. Sorting solutions for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) for example is also important in these locations.
With national regulations clearly setting the framework for waste-recovery rates and vigorously promoting the separation of many different types of materials into homogeneous fractions, sensor-based sorting underpinned by comprehensive service support right from the outset offers an ideal technical, commercial and environmental solution to meet these increasingly stringent targets.
Optimal performance, stability & security
In a marketplace where commodity prices are low, profit margins are tight and access to financing remains challenging, reliability and a consistently high product quality become even more important from the beginning of the planning process. TOMRA’s customers rely on expert advice in regards to improving waste management in every aspect. In addition to selecting the most effective equipment, this partnership role encompasses ideas and suggestions on how to recycle products and packaging, and recommendations about viable product modifications to make them easier to sort and recycle.
Thus, as Tom Eng, Head of TOMRA Sorting Recycling, explains: “A whole company’s future is on the line when you invest in equipment, it can be within the context of a multi-million euro plant. So we appreciate how important it is to get it right the first time.”
Eng continues: “Twenty years is a real milestone in the sensor-based sorting industry. Twenty years means that a customer can put their trust in our products. It´s all about bringing customers that feeling of security.”
The reason why customers can feel reassured, Eng believes, is very simple: “Right from the start, it’s been about people. We have quality people from day one who are still with the company today. That’s a wealth and depth of knowledge which goes way beyond the product that you sell.”
TITECH into TOMRA
The company has undergone an intensive rebranding program since February 2012 in order to become more clearly aligned with its Norwegian parent company, TOMRA Systems ASA. The company acquired TITECH in 2004.
The final step in TOMRA Sorting Recycling’s rebranding process was to rationalize its product portfolio by removing the word ‘TITECH’ from the catalog model names associated with its sorting systems last year. For example, the companies’ bestselling product, once known as the ‘TITECH autosort’, is now simply designated ‘AUTOSORT’.
Commenting on the rebrand, TOMRA Sorting Recycling’s Commercial Director, Jonathan Clarke, said: “By completing the rebrand within our business, we are significantly increasing the visibility of TOMRA worldwide. Synergies in technologies across business streams have greatly enhanced TOMRA Sorting’s ability to bring sensor-based sorting to new segments, markets and applications. We are now better positioned than ever to respond to customer and industry challenges faster than before, while still offering the best value products.”