packaging line sorting solutions technogies

The facility is located in La Zoreda Treatment Center and includes PICVISA optical sorters.

In March 2018, the Consortium for Solid Waste Management of Asturias (Cogersa) approved the development of several works to advance in the improvement of waste management with a budget of more than 5 million euro. The first of the actions was the modernization of the packaging recycling plant (yellow container) to be able to treat up to 25,500 tons per year. Cogersa, which had already received some 11,000 tons in 2017, had foreseen in its Strategic Waste Plan an annual reception of some 25,000 in the following years, so the investment was based on guaranteeing the appropriate treatment of all the packaging waste that would be generated in the coming years.

The works developed by PICVISA consisted of the total modernization of the plant, increasing the treatment capacity up to 7 tons per hour, and the provision of new selection equipment, as well as the automation of the installation and the improvement of the workers’ safety conditions.

Optical plastic sorters

The project designed a plant consisting of a feeding system, primary and secondary triage, conveyor belts, trommel, bag opener, two ballistics, a film capture system, magnetic separation, induction separation, pressing, reject compacting and optical plastic sorters working on recoveries of over 90% and purities of over 92%. The plant’s optical separation system is made up of 3 ECOPACK Double Track units: two model 2500 units and one model 2000 unit.

Using the first two ECOPACK, which add up to a total of 4 tracks, the PET, the CBA, the HDPE and finally the MIX plastic are separated in this order. Before passing through the third and last optic, the unselected material goes back through an inductive sorter, in order to finish recovering all the non-ferrous metals. Finally, both the remaining material and the previously selected and correctly classified material pass through the third optic. Each fraction passes through a different track: the first one with the objective of classifying the material not yet detected and the second one to check the purity of the previous selections, thus guaranteeing the maximum quality with which PICVISA works.

Laser sensors

This system of cascade optical sorting was one of the many adaptations that the project required to fulfil the objectives and specifications of the installation. To ensure a continuous capacity in time, different innovations were carried out. For example, laser sensors were also placed in the boxes of the selected materials. These sensors measure the height of the different materials stored and by means of a local display, which shows the filling level of each box, the operator can decide which material to press first. Then, once the material to be pressed has been selected, the press remotely changes its pressing pattern to match the relevant material at the time.

But the biggest challenge of this project was to carry it out in only 182 days of the project, while at the same time complying with the demand and all these specifications required by the uniqueness of the work. In order to comply with the timings, Calaf Constructora had to develop a double shift work system that required a great coordination with the different actors of the project. Even with all the present difficulties, PICVISA successfully completed the project in December 2019 and the plant has been operating normally since the beginning of this year 2020. It is estimated that as of March it has already processed 7,000 tons of plastic waste, thus guaranteeing the correct recycling of these materials in Asturias.