Stadler: New sorting plants in Asti and Parma

Stadler was commissioned by G.A.I.A. Spa and Iren Ambiente to design and build new recycling plants in Asti and Parma.

The requirements for the two plants were different: sorting of plastic packaging from separate collection in Asti, and sorting of plastic and paper/cardboard in Parma.

Inaugurated last October, the new plant for the sorting of plastic and metal packaging from separate waste collection plays an important role in waste management in northern Italy. The result of a 10 million euro investment, it will be able to process 50,000 tons per year of material from separate waste collection.

The G.A.I.A. plant will process materials coming from the Asti basin, the Iren Group (Turin, Genoa, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia), Val d’Aosta and others who may request its services.

Once processed and cleaned, the materials coming from the separate collections will be delivered to the National Consortia for the recovery of packaging, which will transform them into secondary raw materials and reintroduce them into the production cycles.

The new plant is equipped with modern technologies in line with the Industry 4.0 objectives of the industrial plan, and the machines support the work of the manual sorting operators, resulting in a high quality product.

The plant consists of a feeding and pre-sorting section, a mechanical and optical sorting line, a sorting cabin for manual selection of the bulky products and a storage and baling line.
A drum screen performs the first selection according to size, separating the materials into three streams. The main material stream, with sizes from 50 to 350 mm, is sent to the main sorting line, consisting of:

  • 10 optical separators to sort out plastic products
  • 1 wind shifter system to improve the 3D – 2D separation
  • 2 magnetic separators to remove ferrous metals
  • 1 eddy current separator to remove non-ferrous metals
  • 1 fine screen with 20 mm mesh to sift fine residue
  • 1 STT5000 ballistic separator and 1 STT2000 ballistic separator to increase the quality of plastic recirculation inside the plant
  • 1 bottle piercer to recover bottles even if they are filled with liquids

All the sorted plastics are stored in reversible bunkers. This material then feeds two independent pressing lines with special balers designed for plastics.

At the end of the process, the output materials are transparent PET, colored PET, light blue PET, HDPE, PP, Mixed PE+PP, LDPE+PP film, bulky plastics (4 different products), residue, fine residue, non-ferrous metals and ferrous metals.
The project presented multiple challenges, which STADLER resolved also thanks to its extensive experience in this type of plants across the world.

The Parma plant, soon to be completed and inaugurated, is designed to treat two different streams of material from the separate collection of paper and plastic. It is one of the most advanced plants in Italy for sorting paper and cardboard. For this plant, STADLER designed and built two highly integrated sorting lines that achieve a very high spatial efficiency by sharing the baling system.

The plastic sorting line, which has a capacity of 9 t/h, processes PET+HDPE+PP bottles, PE+PP film, bulky plastics, mixed plastic packaging, non-ferrous and ferrous metals, while the paper sorting line, with a capacity of 20 t/h, processes cardboard, mixed paper and deinking.

The two lines have different input areas but share the same output section and baling line. Each line consists of a feed section, a section for mechanical and optical sorting, a sorting cabin for manual sorting of bulky material and a storage and baling line.

In the plastic sorting line, once the bulky waste in the pre-sorting cabin has been removed, the industrial waste can be sent to a shredder. A big drum screen performs the first selection based on the size of the material (bulky, medium and fine).

The bulky fraction is sent directly to the sorting cabin, where operators sort it into three different fractions. The main stream, of medium sized material (50 – 380 mm), is fed to an STT5000 ballistic separator which divides the products according to their ballistic and weight characteristics into fine, 3D (heavy and/or rolling objects) and 2D (flat and light objects) fractions.

All fractions then pass through the plant where the following machines are located:

  • 3 optical separators to sort the different types of plastics
  • 1 wind shifter system to improve 2D – 3D separation
  • 1 magnetic separator to remove ferrous metals
  • 1 eddy current separator for the removal of non-ferrous metals

A movable conveyor under the first NIR optical unit of the paper line ensures great flexibility in the sorting process, while the second optical separator can work with either the positive or negative selection from the first NIR unit, optimizing paper recovery.

The paper sorting line starts with a PPK2000_6_3H ballistic separator which is specially designed to separate bulkier cardboard from lighter paper. The cardboard is sent directly to the picking cabin while the main stream (< 300 mm) is sent to two parallel sorting lines. Each line consists of a PPK2000_6_1 ballistic separator that removes fine fractions (< 50 mm) and two 2800 mm NIR optical sorters that separate mixed and deinking paper from the main stream. The sorted material is then sent to the picking cabin for manual sorting.


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