Recycling and Sorting

Recycling and Sorting

The ability to see “inside” a product or package is of great interest to those companies who are concerned with the sorting or categorisation for recycling of stock, products or raw components that have an identical outer appearance, but a different internal structure. Such types of samples are often difficult to be sorted by traditional visible inspection. X-raying a product may be the only way to identify differing types of products without conducting some form of manual, potentially destructive, internal inspection.

Typical sorting applications can involve the sorting of raw components into a production environment. Potentially rejecting bad or faulty components before they start their production run can therefore increase the overall production yield. It is also possible to use X-rays to grade raw components or indeed finished products, so that superior products can be identified and the appropriate cost premium applied, potentially helping to increase overall revenue.

Two examples of this type of application might be the identification of rotten fruit before it leaves the field by using a portable X-ray inspection system. By identifying the fruit at the source with an automatic non-manual inspection system, production costs can be cut as only the “good” will be processed.

The identification of fish is also an example of “grading” products. By X-raying Herring, it is easy to distinguish between male and female fish and thereby identifying the valuable Roe present in the females. Using an X-ray inspection system automates this process, thereby increasing throughput and potentially reducing costs.

Recycling applications could involve the identification of differing types of plastics so that they can be directed towards the appropriate recycling method.

Principle

>Most recycling and sorting applications utilise an inline inspection method using a linear scanning camera. This, in principle is very similar to “airport baggage” inspection systems commonly seen at airport security. One of the main differences between the systems is the greater integration of a recycling/sorting inspection system into a process line.

Whereas baggage systems ultimately rely on a final human inspection due to the diverse nature of the samples being inspected for, sorting and recycling applications are typically only looking at one product and for one anomaly. Therefore, with advanced image recognition software, they are able to effectively autonomously make judgments and send instructions to physically remove products at the next stage of the production.


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