Eyeme company developed and implemented optical recognition system (OWSS) together with plastic recycling company – REPRO-PET for automatic sorting of materials that allows to multiply the speed of sorting materials compared to manual labor. In addition, the ability to identify more than a thousand materials (by color and chemical composition) opens broad prospects for the industrial application of these technologies.
The economic effect from the introduction of this OWSS technology compared to the "Manual sorting" technology, with a capacity of 1000 kg per hour, can save up to 1 million €.
The equipment for automatic materials sorting with an optical recognition system allows to increase the speed of sorting materials and make the process quicker and more effective than doing it manually. In addition, the ability to identify more than a thousand materials (by color and chemical composition) opens up broad prospects for the industrial application of these technologies.
The main advantages of this technology are the following:
- a significant increase in labor productivity;
- a significant reduction in the use of difficult unqualified work;
- elimination of human mistakes in manual sorting;
- improving the quality of final products;
- saving of materials, human and financial resources;
- reduction of ecological impact on the environment.
Raw materials are delivered to the production site pressed into bales of 150 - 250 kg. Firstly, the bales are fed to a special device, called a "unbaling unit" splitting the bale into individual bottles, which are distributed along the main conveyor. Since the bale contains bottles of various colors: transparent, blue, blue, green, brown, black, etc., their further high-quality processing requires careful sorting by color.
In addition, almost every bottle has a glued label, which can be made from a variety of materials such as paper, PP and even PVC. Due to the fact that the presence of PVC in the final product is unacceptable even in the smallest quantities (this leads to spoilage of the entire volume of recycled PET), it is required (necessary) to remove all bottles with a PVC label from the total amount of the bottle.
Machine vision technology
Machine vision technology helps to solve this task. The main element of such system is the Optical Scanner, by using special “self-learning software”, is configured sorting PET bottles by color and other defining properties automatically. Each bottle passes through the camera's visibility zone and, depending on the color or other signs the scanner system sends a command to the corresponding compressed air injectors located along the main conveyor to dump the recognized bottle into the required storage bin.
Each sortable color corresponds to an injector with its specific "address" and location, and, accordingly, its own storage hopper. Such equipment helps to increase the purity of sorting to 99%, and to achieve productivity more than 1000 kg/h.
After the sorting, all material separated by color, moving to the next zone, called crusher. In that zone it is crushed and fed to the equipment complex for washing procedure.
The result of such processing- the production of high-quality PET flakes, suitable for the manufacture of packaging, film, even PET bottles.