Great Northern Fibers MRF retrofit has major impact on OCC and news recovery
In a bid to recover more value in existing materials, Great Northern Fibers LCC of West Babylon, NY sought to upgrade their fiber sorting line to a more automatic design. The fiber system alternates processing commercial fiber and residential dual stream news from Long Island communities on the same sort line.
The incoming material is heavily comprised of OCC. The system has an existing OCC screen to remove large cardboard, but a lot of small cardboard pieces were making it into the paper stream. That small OCC was ending up either in residue or as part of a mixed paper grade that wasn't as valuable as the sum of its parts.
To upgrade the system and recover more valuable fiber, Great Northern turned to Van Dyk Recycling Solutions of Norwalk, CT for a solution. "In my years of experience, I have discovered that not all equipment is of the same quality," says Joe Fiorillo, General Manager at Great Northern.
Van Dyk proposed a 2800 wide optical sorter to remove small cardboard pieces in the unders of the OCC. The optical sorter shoots positively on OCC, ejecting brown fiber from the remaining news stream. Results are twofold: by removing browns from the paper, the news grade is now clean enough to sell as news; the browns captured by the optical sorter are blended back in with the OCC and baled.
According to Fiorillo, the facility's OCC tonnage has dramatically increased and they can maximize their advantage on the currently high OCC prices. "The improved quality of the product produced has enabled us to get more money for the product, and also to find constant markets for it," he says.
The optical sorter's efficiency in cleaning up the paper lines has allowed Great Northern to eliminate six hand sorters, and because it can sort faster and handle more capacity, they have been able to increase their production and tph. Says Fiorillo, "we were running with a shift and a half. Now we can produce the same overall tonnage with just one shift and fewer people." Van Dyk Recycling Solutions completed the install in late 2020.
"What has impressed me the most about Van Dyk over the years is that every piece of machinery fits perfectly and is bolted together," says Fiorillo. "Van Dyk measures, and then remeasures, to make sure everything fits. The installation was on point and the Van Dyk install team was very professional."
The optical sorter is outfitted with a Deft Air wind tunnel on its acceleration belt to stabilize paper and prevent floating. When paper lies still, the optical sorter can increase the accuracy of its picks and can also process more material at a higher speed.
All residue is now centralized to one location where a reversible belt feeds two compactors, making the system fully automatic. Storage bunkers replace the original push through bunkers to eliminate double handling of the material. All materials are baled in a Bollegraaf HBC 120s baler from Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, which Great Northern finds to be a reliable workhorse.
"Van Dyk's service is impeccable," says Fiorillo. "When we call for assistance, we get an immediate response. Overnight delivery on parts is very reliable and, in an emergency, they will even deliver same day via courier. The fact that they keep all parts in stock is an amazing asset for their customers."