Resource Recycling News

MRF of the Moment: Retrofit features latest sorting tech

In the quest to generate higher-quality end products, Penn Waste turned to a number of equipment advancements.

The York, Pa.-based company recently opened a revamped MRF incorporating additional optical sorters and a robotic sorting system that uses artificial intelligence to identify objects. Bulk Handling Systems provided the equipment for the single-stream MRF.

The $3.5 million in upgrades help the company better adapt to changes in the marketplace precipitated by China’s imports actions. In response to demands for higher-quality bales, some MRFs are hiring additional manual sorters and slowing down their lines.

“While others are slowly adapting to the new reality, our system is running more material than ever,” Tim Horkay, the company’s director of recycling operations, stated in a press release.

The project involved installing three new NRT optical sorters and a Max-AI Autonomous Quality Control (AQC) unit. A new NRT SpydIR optical sorter removed small cardboard boxes from the container line. The plant’s HDPE sorter was replaced by a larger NRT SpydIR model. And the third new optical sorter, a NRT ColorPlus, sorts HDPE by color. The Max-AI unit uses artificial intelligence as it removes contamination from the PET stream. The early feedback is that the unit is doing 66 picks per minute.

Also as part of the upgrade, BHS installed a new eddy current separator. It moved the old HDPE sorter to the end of the line, where it was combined with an integrated MetalDirector, allowing it to recover the last few plastic and metal containers missed earlier in the line.

Overall, the MRF upgrades boosted capacity from 35 to 45 tons per hour, while also increasing recovery and product quality, and reducing headcount.

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