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TOMRA's new sorter separates plastic flakes by colour, polymer, and transparency simultaneously

A flake sorter in a dark room

TOMRA has launched the new INNOSORT FLAKE for the high-throughput purification of plastic flakes. Its enhanced features enable simultaneous flake sorting by colour, polymer, and transparency.

TOMRA's new INNOSORT FLAKE provides flake sorting to help the recycling industry recover more recyclable materials from any waste stream with ideal yields.

"Given brand and producer recycled content commitments, the market must address the demand," says Eric Olsson, plastics segment manager of North America at TOMRA Recycling Sorting. "Recyclers require solutions to produce high-quality post-consumer recycled content in sufficient volumes while demanding operational reliability and flexibility."

Any colour and polymer

Equipped with a powerful sensor combination, the new INNOSORT FLAKE sorts polymers by material type and colour, removing any impurities to create pure fractions. Thanks to its advanced near-infrared (NIR) spectrometer, the machine detects various polymers, allowing for the recovery of recyclable materials from highly contaminated infeed. With this technology, plastics recovered from mixed waste, for example, can be sorted for recycling, giving access to more recyclable materials that otherwise would be lost or downcycled for lower-grade applications. 

For instance, polyolefins (PO), such as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), are often found to be comingled in the same waste stream. With the new INNOSORT FLAKE, mixed plastic fractions that have been shredded and washed can be sorted into clean fractions of PET, PP, PE, and other materials that meet the quality requirements for extrusion and the creation of high-quality post-consumer recycled (PCR) content. 

Recyclers can profit from the machine's colour-sorting performance. Its enhanced optics, with a changeable colour background and dual-sided high-resolution cameras, detect millions of colours and create single-colour fractions. Its high contrast imaging can even differentiate between white opaque and natural, transparent, and translucent flakes, reducing material losses and maximizing yield. 

"The new INNOSORT FLAKE is designed to sort any colour, any polymer at the same time," says Alberto Piovesan, global segment manager of plastics at TOMRA Recycling Sorting. "It levels the playing field for recyclers and gives them maximum flexibility to respond to the respective market demands. If an operator wants to purify PET this month and produce a clean blue PP next month, it is technically possible with the new machine. What's more, it is cost-effective." 

New design with multiple benefits

"We developed the machine with the requirements of our customers in mind," adds William Zeng, product manager for TOMRA Recycling Sorting. "With its integrated cooling system and robustness, it delivers an even more stable performance in challenging environments and delivers reliable results for maximum output and profitability. Furthermore, with the enhanced technologies, recyclers already achieve very high purity levels after the first sorting step. Depending on the contamination level of the input material and the target purities, fewer sorting steps might be required."

The new INNOSORT FLAKE comes with up to four chutes and a changeable illumination background. This level of flexibility makes it possible to run multiple sorting and recovery steps in a single machine, leading to considerable time savings and less material handling. 

As a system only performs best when all components work seamlessly together, maintenance is crucial. The new design gives unrestricted access to the machine's components, enabling smooth maintenance with little downtime. 

Data-driven analysis

In addition, TOMRA Insight can be installed as an add-on service. The cloud-based data monitoring platform contributes to improving sorting performance. On the one hand, it helps optimize processes through data analysis. Identified inefficiencies and predicted maintenance further support the reduction of machine downtime and productivity losses. On the other hand, its real-time monitoring gives plant operators access to data anywhere and anytime to maintain process stability.  

Company info

875 Embarcadero Drive
West Sacramento, CA
US, 95605


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