40 machines: Montello S.p.A. uses Tomra sensor-based technology

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Separation conveyor belts (Source: Tomra)

Bergamo, Italy -– Montello S.p.A uses the latest sensor-based technology of 40 Tomra machines to give a new lease of life to tonnes of post-consumer plastic arriving from Lombardy. Technology is everywhere, mainly due to the use of Tomra Sorting Recycling optical sensors, which are capable of recognising the different types of plastic and so reduce the need for manual sorting to a minimum.

The machines are mainly used in the sorting and recycling of post-consumer plastic packaging. This means 150,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastic packaging waste are recovered and recycled every year and, for the environment, a reduction of about 200,000 tonnes/year in CO2 emissions. Added to this, the company sorts and processes around 300,000 tonnes of organic waste collected for recycling, from which it obtains biogas (to produce the energy to power the facility) and high-quality fertilizer. In addition to receiving plastic packaging waste from Milan and Bergamo, Montello also receives 60 percent of Lombardy’s plastic waste. The plastic from Milan (collected by AMSA) also comes with aluminium cans, which are therefore sorted and separated.

Six different lines

Tomra’s Autosort machines use spectrometry combining NIR (Near InfraRed) and VIS (Visible) sensors in a universal modular sorting system that can accurately and quickly recognise and separate a huge amount of material, according to its type and composition, to extract high-purity fractions. NIR technology is used for sorting polymers and the VIS sensors for sorting colours.

Sorting is performed by rollers, separators and suction units and, above all, by the high-resolution NIR (infrared) sensors of Tomra’s Autosort machines installed along six different lines: Materials are sorted by type of polymer and, in the case of PET liquid containers, also by colour, at a speed of 3 m/s. The extracted secondary raw material is then separated into: flakes of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) from beverage bottles; granules of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) from bottles for liquids such as detergents, and granules of LDPE (low-density polyethylene) and mixed polyolefins, from carrier bags and film-type packaging.

The secondary raw materials are then sold to produce new wrapping and packaging materials, objects, containers, building material, vases and other plastic items. There is also one finished product that is made by Montello: dimpled geomembrane, used as an insulating layer in the construction industry.

80 percent material recycling

At this facility, 80 percent of plastic is transformed into secondary raw materials, 20 percent into secondary solid fuel (used as a coke substitute at cement works and blast furnaces). Nothing is sent to landfills. „Of the technologies used in our production system, the solutions provided by Tomra ensure high yield and satisfaction“ said Angelo Giavazzi, Technical Production Manager at Montello S.p.A.

The facility ranks first among Corepla centres in Italy in terms of the amount of material processed each year and sorting efficiency (performance). Corepla is the Italian consortium for the collection and recycling of plastic packagingThis is also thanks to the cutting edge technology of Tomra Sorting Recycling.

Source: Tomra Sorting Recycling