FOR more than 15 years, TOMRA Recycling has been a global leader in the advancement of aluminium recycling and processing. This month marks a new chapter in the company’s impressive metal sorting history with the launch of its next generation X-TRACT unit which features a new design and breakthrough innovations. TOMRA’s x-ray transmission (XRT) technology combines innovative synergies in metal and diamond recovery, once again setting new standards in sensor-based aluminium sorting.
The new X-TRACT’s enhanced capabilities and machine intelligence significantly improve the high-throughput sorting of complex mixed metal streams to produce high purity, furnace-ready aluminium fractions. With a number of brand-new and enhanced features, the next-generation X-TRACT sets the stage for accelerating the production of circular metals as the industry moves towards a low-carbon future.
Faster, more precise detection
Offering groundbreaking innovation and high-speed sorting capabilities, the new X-TRACT features dual processing technology which increases the belt width’s capacity per metre. Its simultaneous single object and area processing allow operators to choose between high purity and high recovery sorting. Even adjacent, overlapping and composite materials can be instantly identified and separated using data-driven decision making.
The high-throughput sorting system features a next-generation DUOLINE XRT sensor, with two independent line scans positioned close to the input material for high precision detection and faster processing. Due to its close proximity to the material, the sensor also effectively detects copper wires and ultra-thin objects to reduce material loss and maximise profits. The X-TRACT’s new x-ray source offers variable power, with up to 1000w supply for high-throughput processing of multiple applications and grain sizes, from large fractions to fines (>5mm).
Enhanced capability and flexibility
The new generation X-TRACT is now capable of sorting with higher belt speeds ranging from 2.3 – 3.8 m/s, to maximise throughput and yields at the same time. To accommodate the faster belt speeds and higher throughput, TOMRA designers extended the unit’s sorting chamber and added new extraction ports to remove dust and reduce air turbulence.
With improved image capturing, the new X-TRACT delivers unrivalled sorting accuracy and its new intensity scale feature measures the relative thickness of objects. This eliminates the need for additional sensors and improves the detection of specific material groups, such as printed circuit boards (PCBs).
While TOMRA’s previous generation XRT metal sorting systems offered models that varied by application, the new X-TRACT is based on a modular machine concept. As a result, operators can choose between high resolution or high sensitivity sensor systems and different valve blocks. It also delivers greater operational flexibility and ensures easy upgrades to minimise long-term capital expenditures.
Machine trials in a production environment produce 10-30mm sized aluminium fractions with 99% purity levels. Alutrade, the UK’s largest independent aluminium recycling company and extrusion specialists, was the first company to trial the new X-TRACT and compare its results to the previous model. Andrew Powell, Director at Alutrade Ltd, explains: “Even during the trials, the new X-TRACT delivered extremely powerful results. It has created new market opportunities for our business, and we are looking forward to expanding our operations.”
Terence Keyworth, Segment Manager Metals at TOMRA Recycling, adds: “The new X-TRACT gives recyclers and smelters opportunities to increase their revenues with high-purity aluminium fractions while lowering their carbon footprint and having enough material on hand to meet market demand. The automotive and construction sectors rely on recycled aluminium to lower their carbon footprint – it’s a matter of being fast enough to supply the surging demand.”
Designed with the future in mind
The proven and robust design of X-TRACT has long convinced the most prominent industry players globally. Matthias Winkler, Product Manager at TOMRA, explains: “When our inhouse team set out to design a new generation of X-TRACT, it was a given that it needed to be sustainable, connected and built for long-term performance to reduce operational costs.”
Developing a new machine to meet the future needs of the industry involved collaboration with customers, design engineers, aluminium processing experts, metal application specialists and service teams. To extend the lifetime of the machine, TOMRA’s designers added enhanced sensor shielding in addition to a top-mounted x-ray source to protect its most valuable components and provide extra stability. The new sorting system, which separates aluminium from heavy metals and super lights in a single step, comes with a four-year extended warranty on the x-ray source and XRT sensor to consistently meet high-performance standards and service levels.
Tom Jansen, Segment Manager Metals at TOMRA, explains: “Our partners in the aluminium industry rely on the lowest downtimes and long-term performance. X-TRACT’s new design makes it faster and safer for plant operators to replace parts due to normal wear and tear with as little downtime as possible. The machine’s new catcher hood allows for easier access for maintenance, whether performed by a service team or on-site staff that have been trained by TOMRA.”
The new X-TRACT is also enabled for cloud-based monitoring, data-driven optimisation tools and remote access with the add-on TOMRA Insight service. With the ability to connect to the machine through online monitoring and digital services, TOMRA’s service team can identify potential issues before they arise and provide remote support to ensure low downtimes.
For further details about X-TRACT and highlights from the machine trials, please click HERE.