Biffa upgrades its Aldridge MRF with the latest sensor-based sorting technology from TOMRA Sorting Recycling

Leading waste management company, Biffa, has invested in the very latest in sensor-based sorting technology from TOMRA Sorting Recycling as part of an equipment upgrade at its Aldridge MRF in Walsall, West Midlands.

Biffa’s Aldridge MRF is one of the largest MRFs in the UK processing up to c.300,000 tonnes of recyclate per annum. The plant accepts dry mixed comingled and segregated recyclate sourced from local authorities and commercial customers. Paper, cardboard, aluminium, steel, glass and plastics are processed at the plant.

Prior to the upgrade, five early generation TOMRA AUTOSORT units were used to sort plastic bottles by polymer type. The units had been in place since the plant opened in 2008 so when undertaking an equipment upgrade Biffa replaced them with five brand new TOMRA AUTOSORT units to sort and recover the target fractions of PET, PE, mixed plastics and metals.

The units combine near infrared (NIR) and visual spectrometers (VIS) to accurately and quickly recognise and separate different materials according to their material type and colour, extracting high-purity high-value end fractions. NIR technology is used for sorting materials and VIS sensors for sorting colors.  The five units installed at the Aldridge MRF are designed to be multifunctional to enhance the futureproofing of the facility.

Biffa has opted to install AUTOSORT units that incorporate TOMRA’s SHARP EYE technology. SHARP EYE enables single-layer PET trays to be separated from PET bottles and enhances the previous capability of TOMRA’s AUTOSORT machine to separate multi-layer trays.

Gavin Russell, Sales Engineer at TOMRA Sorting Recycling, comments: “We were delighted to be involved in this upgrade project at Biffa’s Aldridge MRF. By investing in the very latest technology, Biffa now has an extremely reliable and efficient solution in place, and is well-placed for any process changes made at the plant in the future.”

Neil Arlett, Divisional Engineering Manager at Biffa, adds: “We’ve installed TOMRA Sorting’s equipment at a number of our plants throughout the UK, so know what it can achieve in terms of improving plant efficiencies and material quality. The switchover from the old units to the new ones was quick and very straightforward, which meant there was virtually no disruption to operations at the plant and we’re already reaping the benefits delivered by the new generation TOMRA AUTOSORT units.”

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