Grant brings film recovery technology to Southeast Institute

MRFs use different types of sorting – as well as human sorters – to separate recyclables into different streams. Materials that do not have an end market or cannot be effectively sorted are placed in final residues, which are generally landfilled or incinerated. Especially in facilities that adopt single-stream recyclables, the residue is a large fraction of the facility’s handling, at 15% or more. A secondary sorting concept is to plant mixed-materials or mixed-plastic bales, including residual bales, in a smaller number of facilities designed to sort and extract value from the MRF. AMP, an AI-powered robotic sorting company; Installed its own secondary shelf facilities In Colorado, Georgia and Ohio.

Expansion of the vortex system

A grant from the Film and Flex Recycling Consortium will help AMP pay to install one of its Vortex systems at the company’s second facility in the Atlanta area, which will take leftover bales. AMP is a member of the coalition and Financial support partner For TRP.

It was announced last fall, Vortex, like AMP’s delta-style robots, relies on the company’s vision system and advanced software to visually identify materials being dropped on a conveyor belt. But instead of using a Delta robot arm with a suction cup attached, the Vortex uses a series of suction tubes that slide down several inches to suck up the film.

“It’s a specially designed stimulation and separation mechanism to get the film out of the MRF environment,” Writz said.

Currently, film poses a problem at AMP secondary facilities, such as MRFs, Writz explained. The film has a tendency to wrap around and clog the detection equipment, forcing it to close. It also finds its way past quality control (QC) stations to paper bales. AMP facilities have been removing and removing film and flexible packaging from residual bales — those materials can account for 15% of MRF’s residual bale weight, he said.

Writz said AMP plans to install the vortex near the beginning of the address line to remove film early in the process. The AMP software is sophisticated enough to direct the Vortex not to select film if there is a risk of ingesting a nearby paper or other non-target object, he said.

Vortex said it targets monomaterials such as polyethylene bags and wraps, and won’t target flexible packaging made from multiple materials, such as bags and chip bags.

The facility offers fully automated QC on the separate film stream, he said.

Finding markets for small scale materials

Support for film and flexible recycling combinations is similar to that provided by TRP. PET recycling combination And PP recycling combination They provide funding for equipment upgrades.

Trina Matta, director of film and flexible recycling at TRP, said the grants pay recipients half of the cost of their projects. She could not disclose the value of the grant to AMP.

Matta plans to support five to six facility projects nationwide by 2023 for the Film and Plastics Recycling Consortium.

Reitz said the money will help offset initial installation costs and provide a blueprint that will inform AMP’s decisions on future installations at other secondary facilities. AMP Robotics Senior Public Relations and Marketing Communications Manager Carling Spelhag said this will be the second installation of the Vortex system – but the company would not disclose the first location.

Reitz plans to install the Vortex in the Georgia facility in the third quarter of this year.

The film bales produced at the facility will be a percentage higher than the high grade bales of color film filled with stretch wrap and other commercial/industrial PE films. As part of the experiment, the debris will be recycled through a mechanical and chemical recycling process.

That said, AMP believes pyrolysis, a still emerging market, could be a major recipient of the material because of its generally less stringent standards and ability to process PE and PP blends, he said. He was unsure how many tons of film the Georgia facility produces annually.

A big goal for the Film and Flex Recycling Coalition is to allow community recycling programs to accept films, Reitz said. “This type of infrastructure investment is a critical part of laying the foundation for residential recycling of these valuable materials,” TRP said in the announcement on its website. The group estimates that only 2% of American households currently recycle film at home.

“With the success of our project, other MRFs can point to how this is done with this technology,” he said.

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