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The Spanish Las Dehesas Waste Treatment Centre installed six AUTOSORT units from TOMRA.
The Spanish Las Dehesas Waste Treatment Centre installed six AUTOSORT units from TOMRA.

URBASER, the environmental management company with 128 plants in different Spanish cities, has automated two lines at the Las Dehesas Waste Treatment Centre through the incorporation of six AUTOSORT units from TOMRA

The facility, which receives over half the waste sent to Valdemingómez Technology Park, has optimised its packaging treatment process through the implementation of STADLER and TOMRA technology, supported by the experience of URBASER.

The Las Dehesas Waste Treatment Centre processes materials from both the rest fraction and the packaging fraction of waste collected in the city of Madrid. The facility has a rest fraction treatment capacity of 408,000 t and a packaging waste treatment capacity of 32,850 t.

The incorporation of the optical sorters improves the efficiency and quality of material recovery at the plant.

The upgrading project, which carried out by STADLER, consisted of automating the two packaging waste treatment lines which can also be used for the treatment of the rest fraction. 

Six TOMRA Sorting Recycling AUTOSORT units were installed in these two lines in a cascade arrangement. Two AUTOSORT units (one per line) are responsible for separating recoverable plastics and tetra-brik containers from unrecoverable materials. Subsequently, two more units separate polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Finally, the stream is unified in a single line fitted with one AUTOSORT unit to separate HDPE and another to separate tetra-brik containers, resulting in a mix which is then sorted by the remaining units.

AUTOSORT affords numerous benefits for the recycling sector in the form of state-of-the-art sorting technology, including the near infrared (NIR) sensor. The NIR sensor recognises materials based on their specific spectral properties while the VIS sensor can distinguish all the colours of the visible spectrum.

The combination of the two sensors means that these units can meet both basic and extremely complex needs, enabling simultaneous sorting by both material type and colour within a single modular sorting system. The units installed at the Las Dehesas Centre are fitted only with NIR sensors and sorting is by material type, regardless of colour. 

In the words of Luis Sánchez Vela, a director at STADLER España, the operational simplicity is very beneficial. It enables operators to adjust the configuration of the unit with ease so that the material to be separated can be changed whenever the need arises.

“The result is very satisfactory. AUTOSORT units provide excellent recovery rates and quality. The incorporation of these optical sorters improves the efficiency and quality of material recovery at the Las Dehesas plant,” continued Vela.

“For greater convenience, a central display system was installed to enable the operation of the units to be checked without having to view the display screen of each individual optical sorter. This enables changes to be implemented more rapidly and more precisely,” pointed out Fernando Cortés Moreno, Managing Director of the UTE Las Dehesas consortium.

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