TOMRA contributes to the circular economy by turning industrial waste into high-quality woodchip recyclates
TOMRA Recycling, the leading global sensor-based sorting system manufacturer, has announced that Tamatai Sangyo K.K., a company engaged in industrial waste treatment and woodchip production, has started using TOMRA Recycling’s X-TRACT sorting system in 2020 to realize high productivity and efficiency rates in the recovery of woodchips.
Until 2007, the woodchip production business of Tamatai Sangyo was mainly focused on the production of pulp raw materials from wood. Shortly after it shifted its focus to the production of paper, building materials, and biomass fuel from wood shavings. The incoming wood waste is collected from Chugoku Area and contains contaminants such as earth, sand, plastics, and metals – the majority of which was washed in through flooded waterways, a result of torrential rain in Western Japan in 2018. Since recycling wood requires pure end fractions the incoming material must be freed from any remaining contaminants. Thus, the company was manually removing foreign substances from their wood waste stream, but soon reached its limits when it aimed to increase productivity and improve the worker’s working environment.
After reviewing various sorting machines from manufacturers around the world, Tamatai Sangyo was most convinced of TOMRA’s services, expertise, and technologies. It did not take them long to install TOMRA’s X-TRACT machine, an X-ray transmission (XRT) type sorting machine featuring high throughput rates, accurate sorting, and great flexibility in program setup. The machine, combined with TOMRA’s service, has been the answer to Tamatai Sangyo’s sorting requirements and targets.
X-TRACT is equipped with the DUOLINE X-ray sorting sensor, which sorts materials based on their atomic density, which in turn, enables the sorting of materials based on their properties, regardless of their thickness. Thanks to the Dual Processing Technology both the differences in atomic density and objects that are in contact with each other can be recognized and be accurately sorted.
Looking at the sorting process, X-TRACT comes into play after the incoming material has been pre-sorted. Materials are fed onto the high-speed conveyor belt and transported to X-TRACT. Once the materials arrive at the sorting machine, its sensors detect and analyze the materials. Based on the analysis results, a signal is sent to the high-speed air valves that remove the target objects. Thanks to the machines processing speed high volumes of materials can be processed and recovered.
Before automating the sorting process, Tamatai Sangyo used to have four to six employees sorting waste by hand. With the installation of X-TRACT, the entire line can now be managed by only one or two people, allowing the company to allocate personnel to sales activities and other tasks, keeping employees more save and away from monotonous activities. The automation brings even more benefits: Tamatai Sangyo is now able to process approximately 100 tons a day and sells its pure end material to pulp manufacturers and biomass fuel manufacturers.
Sho Otsuka, Director and Plant Manager of Tamatai Sangyo, says, “We compared various sorting systems worldwide. Most sorting systems did not meet our requirements because they had difficulties in detecting overlapping objects. Fortunately, the sorting machines from TOMRA that are equipped with unique and advanced technology can sort even overlapping materials very precisely. The system has been programed to meet our special sorting requests. Today, the process and plant performance are perfect, and we are satisfied with the results we have achieved.”
Masanobu Kawaguchi, Managing Director of TOMRA Sorting Japan K.K. commented: “This was the 1st X-TRACT installed in a woodchip application in Japan. We consider it a very good reference to highlight the advantages X-TRACT offers to recyclers and the market as a whole.”
TOMRA Recycling develops cutting-edge sensor-based sorting solutions for a variety of applications while strongly considering the customer’s and market’s requirements. But the company’s activities are not restricted to Japan. As an impact leader, TOMRA Recycling supports the sustainable development of its customers’ businesses anywhere in the world, contributing to the shift to a circular economy.