Identification, assessment, scrap sorting
Waste recovery is one of the great challenges and opportunities of our time.
Next to packaging and biomass, end-of-life, or post consumer waste products (scrap) as they are also called, in addition to manufacturing waste, represent a significant share of the world's total waste. Whereas thermal disposal is the dominant recycling method for ordinary household refuse (after the separation of larger metal parts), industrial society scrap offers an interesting source of so-called secondary raw materials. Thus the phrase "urban mining" – in reference to industrial mining – was created to describe the technical recovery of usable materials.
While glass, paper and steel are regarded as closed loop recycling materials for the most part, the high-quality and completely separate recovery of plastics, rare-earth elements, nonferrous metals and composite materials such as fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP, GRP) continues to be a difficult, often unsuccessful process. This is why an inferior approach, so-called downcycling, is frequently used.
Furthermore, the often high demand for primary energy and the impact of CO2 emissions represent key factors for the economic feasibility and ecobalance of the chosen recycling method.
When sorting and recovering raw materials from scrap (whole or shredded components or composite materials), apart from energy-efficient technologies for separating the composites, the recovery systems require new measurement principles and sensor technologies to enable better material identification and characterization of the source and output materials. The sensor data and key values derived from machine learning systems are important contributors in selecting the optimal process parameters (such as in the pyrolysis or solvolysis of CFRP) and allow the recycled materials to be analyzed with respect to their material identity and their mechanical-technical properties.
Recycling processes require contactless technologies and high measurement speeds, which is why quasi-optic, acoustic and acousto-elastic methods are more suitable for real applications.
Recycling, Urban Mining, Recyclable Materials, Secondary Raw Materials