New System for Fiber and Film Sorting

According to Bulk Handling Systems (BHS), there is a way to get pure fibers and films.

An intelligent combination of sensor-based sorting technology and air technology is able to help recycling companies throughout the world “achieve ground-breaking recovery and purity results in some of the most complex and challenging plastics or fiber recycling applications”, the technology provider is convinced. BHS has announced a new plastic film identification and removal system, utilizing NRT’s FiberPure Optical Sorter with the option of a Nihot pneumatic extraction system. This solution could create a one-step approach, enabling operators to better capitalize on the evolving mix of fiber and film than with standalone air or optical equipment. Additionally, it could significantly lower labor costs.

1 BHS Polishing Screen
2 BHS FiberPure Screen
3 NRT FiberPure Optical Sorter
4 Nihot pneumatic extraction system
5 Nihot Rotary Air Separator (RAS)
Graphic: BHS Europe

According to the provided information, the combination of the NRT FiberPure Optical Sorter and Nihot air extraction system was designed to fulfill the market’s demand for a technology solution to separate plastic film from high volumes of fiber with high purity rates on both fiber and film. “In this application a stand-alone NRT is capable of detecting and ejecting on film or fiber and creates a high quality split between these materials,” BHS reported. “When the integrated Nihot air extraction system is installed, it will also upgrade the ejected materials with a density split creating an even more pure fiber and film fraction. The combination allows operators to use their existing sorting process for two- or three-dimensional sorting as it is easy to retrofit; the Nihot air extraction system can also transport materials to any desired position in the process, making this automated solution an easy retrofit with a fast return on investment.”

The process

From Single Stream to MSW, all 2D material coming from a BHS Polishing Screen is fed to the NRT FiberPure Optical Sorter using the entire width of the acceleration infeed conveyor. By use of an air curtain the material will stabilize on the belt. The NRT is in this case setup to target film depending on the material stream to maximize recovery. This is the optimal point in the BHS operation process for the simultaneous identification of film types followed by the extraction of these materials. The NRT detects and ejects material in flight and the plastic film fraction is aspirated via an opening above by a Nihot air extraction system. Non-ejected material (i.e. paper) lands on a default conveyor and heavier plastics (such as partially filled plastic bags) are captured in the far chute. At the end of the process the clean plastic film is captured in a Nihot Rotary Air Separator (RAS) which isolates the light material (fractions) from the conveying airflow and discharges the materials into a bay or onto a conveyor.

Industrial application

UK-based waste management company Biffa chose BHS as a partner for adding a specialized 8 tons per hour Glass Clean-Up System and Container Clean-Up System to its existing Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Aldridge, UK. As reported, the Container Clean-Up System (featuring a NRT FiberPure Optical Sorter and Nihot air extraction system) paid for itself in just nine months‘ time. The sorter removes additional three tons of fiber on an hourly basis from the existing container line, increasing mixed paper recovery as well as the purity of containers with the result that the container line manual sorting was significantly reduced. Based on the results of the Aldridge facility the company has ordered a second NRT sorter to upgrade their Edmonton facility as well.,,

Photo: BHS Europe