Making polymer sorting more efficient

The Bühler Group has announced the Sortex E PolyVision that can identify same-colour polymer contaminants by analysing their chemical signatures.

Historically, removing same-colour polymer material from rPET flakes, such as clear PVC from clear PET, has been challenging for recyclers, as they cannot be visibly distinguished at such high processing speeds, without losing a lot of valuable flakes. Adding to this complexity, rPET flakes can be minute, so you need a sophisticated technology that not only detects ‘invisible’ polymers at high processing capacities, but also very small flakes.

According to the company, the Sortex E PolyVision has been exclusively designed to overcome the problem of removing same-colour polymer material from rPET flakes, such as clear PVC from clear PET. It features a patent-pending lighting system, which enhances detection of thinner polymer contaminants, as well as high-precision ejectors that remove delicate flakes, with little or no loss of good product. It can also be used as a three-in-one sorter or combined with existing technologies, in a fully integrated sorting station.

Bernhard Gabauer, Segment Development Manager for Plastics at The Bühler Group said: “Polymer contaminants that are the same colour as rPET flakes, such as Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene (PE) and Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), are difficult to detect using conventional sorting solutions that typically rely on either transparent or reflective sorting. But with the Sortex E PolyVision both methods are used simultaneously, enabling polymers to be identified by their unique chemical composition and removed with a much higher efficiency – reducing the contamination to below industry standards of 50 parts per million.”


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