The Environmental Technology Park of Mallorca (TIRME) is responsible for the treatment of solid waste which alters in content and volume during the island's busy tourist season. TIRME's effective response to this challenge, which includes the use of TOMRA machines, has become respected across Europe as an example of best practice. TIRME recently upgraded its technologies by acquiring four new AUTOSORT machines. This investment has quickly shown how technologies have progressed in the last two decades by delivering higher recycling rates.
Upgrading the machinery at TIRME was implemented by STADLER, specialists in the planning and assembly of sorting systems and components. These installations were accomplished in just one month, taking advantage of a scheduled maintenance stoppage at the plant.
The new plant configuration
The four new AUTOSORTs have been installed at the back-end of the recovery process, taking on the work previously handled by three 14-year-old TOMRA machines.
The three older machines have been kept in service but reassigned new tasks elsewhere in the plant. Two MONOSORTs now cover temporary peaks. A single, 78.7-in (2000-mm) wide POLYSORT, which previously sorted out brick and mixed waste, has been reconfigured to sort one of the holiday island's most abundant types of waste, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles.
Of the new machines, one 39.4 in (1000mm) AUTOSORT sorts HDPE (high-density polyethylene), typically found in milk and juice containers, refillable plastic bottles, and plastic bags. The other three AUTOSORT units, all 23.6-in (600-mm) wide, sort mixed waste, brick and the last recyclable materials. After this is done, the only further step in the plant's processes is aluminum can recovery.
Luis Sánchez Vela, Director of STADLER Spain, said: "By incorporating AUTOSORT into the process, it has been possible to improve both the performance and the quality of selected material. This is increasing efficiency and obtaining greater economic advantages for the plant."
An important factor in these productivity gains is the flexibility offered by TOMRA Sorting's new machines. Simón Gili of TIRME's engineering and development team explains: "Input waste material changes through the different seasons depending on the type of tourism that comes to Mallorca. Both packaging material and technology have changed a lot since we relied on MONOSORT and POLYSORT units. The new machines are much more versatile than the old MONOSORT, which could only classify a single type of predefined factory material. Now we are able to easily change the machine configuration, depending on the needs of the moment and the materials entering the plant. With these modifications we have clearly gained in efficiency and now expect annual capacity to rise to 22,708 tons (20,600 tonnes per year). Without a doubt, the flexibility of TOMRA Sorting technology is an important added value."