Tomra debuts Autosort Pulse for aluminum alloy sorting


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Jun 08, 2023

Tomra debuts Autosort Pulse for aluminum alloy sorting

Tomra Recycling Sorting business unit of Norway-based Tomra has introduced the

Tomra Recycling Sorting business unit of Norway-based Tomra has introduced the Autosort Pulse as a new sensor-based sorting technology for the recycling industry. The Autosort Pulse features laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) technology to enable high-precision sorting of aluminum scrap by alloy types.

According to Tomra, Autosort Pulse has "outstanding performance in the separation of, for example, 5xxx and 6xxx aluminum alloys." The machine's 3D object scanning detects each object regardless of its size and surface, while multiple single-point scans enable sharper detection of materials in any condition. Additionally, the machine can accurately separate overlapping and adjacent objects because of its artificial intelligence-based object singulation feature.

"Aluminum scrap consists of multiple alloys. Depending on the application, they contain a mix of different alloying metals that define the material's properties," says Frank van de Winkel, market strategy segment manager metals at Tomra Recycling Sorting. "To recycle a specific alloy without downgrading quality, it must be separated into specific alloy classes—a task that can only be done with the most sophisticated technologies, such as LIBS. Our team of in-house engineers has dedicated a significant time and effort in the development of this technology to make it excel in performance. Autosort Pulse gives recyclers the means to sort aluminum by alloy classes and produce furnace-ready products for demanding applications."

Conventional sorting machines, such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) or standard LIBS technologies are limited in maintaining high throughputs when sorting aluminum alloys, Tomra says in a press release. The Autosort Pulse combines technologies to ensure high-purity sorting results, and multiple material tests demonstrated that purity levels of more than 95 percent can be achieved using Tomra's new LIBS machine.

With a bulk infeed system and a processing capacity between three to seven tons per hour, operators can create high volumes of recycled content to meet industry standards across a wide range of applications. The Autosort Pulse's relatively compact footprint integrates an extensive set of advanced technologies and a conveyor belt, making it easy to install without the need for additional, complicated material handling equipment. The Autosort Pulse also is designed to protect workers from any potentially harmful or penetrating light emissions.

"We have a long-standing legacy in the metals segment, and our finger is on the pulse of the market," says Matthias Winkler, product manager at Tomra Recycling Sorting. "Based on our extensive in-house knowledge, we started developing the dynamic LIBS technology when we sensed alloy separation could help businesses reduce downgrading material. After an extensive innovation phase, we have now extended our product portfolio with Autosort Pulse to complement the new generation X-Tract. Customers testing the machine are impressed by its results and the operational benefits it offers."

In addition, the insights generated from sorting operation data play a critical role in facilitating plant operators’ goal of running a profitable business with little to no downtime and maximum output. Available as an additional service for Autosort Pulse, Tomra Insight is a cloud-based data platform that allows for data-driven optimization of sorting processes through near-live monitoring. With Tomra Insight, operators can anticipate operational issues and future maintenance requirements ahead of time.