Optical Sorting Recycling

Two Brands, One Solution

Questions & Answers

The strategic partnership between NRT & Buhler Sortex combines the best of technologies for bottle and flake sorting, across Europe and North America

Who is Buhler Sortex?

UK based Buhler Sortex, is a leading global supplier of optical sorting solutions to the food and non-food processing industries and has been pioneering optical sorting technology for nearly 70 years. Commited to substantial investment in research and development, it has developed state-of-the-art technology including SmartEject™, PROfile™ and Label Reduction Kit to provide solutions for the most challenging applications in the packaging, construction, electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, construction and petrochemical recycling industries. This award winning company has completed over 20,000 installations for customers, in over 100 countries.  It has sales and services offices in over 80 countries to provide expert customer support globally.

What solutions does Buhler Sortex provide?

Buhler Sortex designs and manufactures a range of optical sorting equipment for sorting grains, beans, pulses, spices, nuts, rice, vegetables and fruits as well as non-food products such as plastic flakes. 

Single machines or optical sorting stations are available to recyclers in the plastics, packaging, construction, electronic waste, end-of-life vehicles, construction and petrochemical industries.

SORTEX optical sorters sort by colour, shape and non-visible properties, with superior precision, performance and efficiency.

The fully integrated Bühler Optical Sorting Station, for flake processing includes plant engineering, SORTEX sorting technology, mechanical separation machinery, pneumatic conveyors, pre-conditioners, and auxiliary equipment.

Who is NRT?

Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, NRT is a global leader in the design, manufacture and installation of optical sorting solutions. NRT is a member of the Bulk Handling Systems (BHS) Family of Companies, a worldwide leading provider of automated sorting systems to the waste processing and recycling industries Since its inception in 1981, NRT has been recognized as an industry thought-leader and innovator, and currently holds more than 35 U.S. and international patents. Today, NRT remains focused on technology innovation and offers industry-leading bottle sorting recovery and purity rates, thanks in part to In-Flight Sorting® and PET Boost® technologies. NRT holds strong commitments to equipment excellence and first-class customer service and support.

Why are these companies coming together?

As the demand for plastic sorting solutions continues to soar, Buhler Sortex and NRT are entering a strategic commercial agreement to offer plastics recyclers a complete solution for PET and HDPE plastic bottle and flake sorting. The combined solution brings together the very best of both plastic sorting technologies, with absolutely no compromise on quality, focusing on higher capacities and higher recovery, for a higher return on investment. 

The companies are bringing together more than 100 years of combined expertise in optical sorting, giving recyclers access to their  proven technologies, engineering expertise and extensive customer service and support networks.

What are the advantages of this collaboration?

This strategic alliance combines market-leading technologies from both optical sorting companies, including high definition colour cameras, PROfile™, SmartEject™, In-Flight Sorting® and PET Boost™, to offer recyclers optical sorting solutions that are second-to-none, focusing on high capacity and high recovery for maximum profitability.

The collaboration delivers PET and HDPE recyclate which meets the highest standards of quality and purity to achieve maximum return on investment.

Strategically placed in Europe and North America, with a presence in the key plastics recycling markets, this collaboration provides recyclers with unparalleled access to a wide range of capabilities, including a dedicated servicing network with first class service teams and installation expertise.

What are the objectives of this collaboration?

To provide a complete optical sorting recycling solution, for plastic bottles and flakes, with no compromise on performance or customer support.

What are the benefits for plastic recyclers?

Plastic recyclers will be able to obtain a complete solution which performs at the very highest standards from a single supplier. The solution focuses on higher capacities and higher recovery to ensure a higher return on investment.

Furthermore, the solution will deliver higher value PET and HDPE recyclate, which meets the highest industry standards for recovery and purity.

What machines are offered as part of this collaboration?

SpydIR R® – for PET bottles
SpydIR T® – for PET bottles
ColorPlus™ – for PET and HDPE bottles
SORTEX A range – for PET and HDPE flakes
SORTEX B range – for PET and HDPE flakes

What is the geographical reach of this collaboration?

The collaboration covers Europe, North America and The Commonwealth of Independent States. Both Buhler Sortex and NRT operate globally and will continue to serve all customers on a global level.

What solutions are being provided jointly?

The effective removal of unwanted polymers including PVC, PS, PETG, PA, PE, PC, PLA and PP, from PET bottles and flakes. In addition to unwanted colours and foreign materials. Solutions for PET can also group bottles and flakes by colour to increase the value of the recycled product.

For HDPE bottles and flakes, the Buhler Sortex and NRT solution separates HDPE from natural HDPE and also groups by colour and removes unwanted colours and foreign material.

Who is my point of contact? 

For Europe, recyclers should contact Mr Bernhard Gabauer, Segment Development Manager for Plastics on +43 664 965 7772 or bernhard.gabauer@buhlergroup.com.

For North America, recyclers should contact Mr Matthias Erdmannsdoerfer, President – NRT on +1 315 734 6400 or matthiase@nrtsorters.com

What are the benefits of SORTEX Sorters?

High definition precision sorting

The SORTEX A range inspection systems use rear and front, high definition colour cameras and broadband LED lighting to detect unwanted polymers, colours and foreign material with up to two times the resolution of other industry solutions. The winning combination of Bühler’s proprietary technologies ensures the accurate removal of contaminants in the smallest of PET and HDPE flakes for higher recovery and increased profitability.

Highest reject concentration

The tiered chute provides exceptional separation of PET and HDPE flakes, to enable easier targeting whilst the unique SmartEject™ system offers the most accurate ejection of defective flakes and foreign materials, for industry leading reject concentration, with minimal loss of good product.

Outstanding label separation

Equipped with Bühler’s proprietary Label Reduction Kit, the SORTEX A range achieves outstanding label separation in PET and HDPE flakes, by removing labels at the infeed, using the optional built-in aspiration channel.

Consistent reliable operation

Auto-calibration and product tracking provide consistent performance, together with sealed optical and control cabinets (IP5X), to ensure a stable and reliable operation in dusty environments.

Optimising productivity, lowering cost of ownership

Optimising productivity, with durable broadband LED lighting and long-life serviceable ejectors, reduces operational costs.

Over 100 pre-set and user defined product modes, with an automatic filter changer can handle multiple products, while the quick chute release system allows the operator to remove chutes without the need to re-align the optics, helping to facilitate different applications.

What are the benefits of NRT’s bottle sorters?

Outstanding removal of challenging polymers

NRT sorters use fast processing, infrared sensor technology to identify unique polymer signatures, for a higher recovery of PET bottles from polymer residue streams, including PVC, PS, PETG, PLA, PC, PE and PP.

Prioneering In-Flight Sorting for increased purity levels

While other optical sorters detect material over the belt and eject some time later, NRT offers In-Flight Sorting®, which detects and ejects material in flight. In-Flight Sorting® enables the use of transmissive detection, and eliminates motion-related error and belt interference, increasing purity levels and hit rates.

Single sort, high purity PET recovery

High purity, clear and light blue PET bottles are recovered whilst patent pending PET boost™ improves detection of thin wall PET, wet PET and full-sleeve labelled PET bottles, maximising recovery and profitability for the recycler.

Exceptional colour grouping for higher value product

Proprietary RGB Line scan cameras also enable exceptional colour grouping as well as efficient sorting of non-labelled PET bottles from labelled PET bottles. They also deliver outstanding separation of HDPE bottles from natural HDPE bottles to achieve the very highest levels of food-quality recyclate, separating food containers such as milk bottles and yoghurt pots from non-food items with ease.

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