The pioneers of the selection
Interview with Christoph Bach Sales Director EMEA, TOMRA Sorting Recycling.
TOMRA Sorting Solutions has more than 10500 sorting units in operation worldwide. In the last 20 years there was a very good development for TOMRA Sorting Solutions, not only in sorting of refuse but also in mining, food and other applications.
TOMRA started its recycling sorting operations 20 years ago with the sorting of beverage packages and you understand how far we went, when you see what we are sorting today… we have a big range of applications worldwide. The Recycling segment is very important to TOMRA and so is the recycling industry if you think in terms of benefits also to the environment. The Italian market started off in 1999, and is now a very important market for TOMRA Sorting Recycling: we have sold 400 sorting units that are now in operation. Italy is a strong market with great potential. We are working with a company called Orion, an agent but well supported by the company.
Recycling Industry: Potentially the market in Italy could be even wider as the manual selection in recycling sites is going to be soon abandoned.
Christoph Bach: The recycling market is increasing in Europe as the European Union tries to increase the recycling target and the recovery target. TOMRA Sorting Recycling has a parallel growth of 3/4/5% a year in the recycling industry: we see our customers asking for a better quality of the recycled product and for a higher percentage of the recycled material.
Recycling Industry: What are the latest technologies at TOMRA Sorting Recycling?
Christoph Bach: We have launched in the last few years a flake-sorting machine that improves the quality of the PET sorted, to achieve a high quality for beverage recycling. The machine is able to sort material, colour and other impurities etc. We have already sold more than 50 machines of this type. We have also launched a new X-ray based sorting system to sort for example heavy metals in aluminium and in general there is an on-going development of all our products. At the end of November we are launching a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy technology, at an aluminium show in Germany. One of our targets is to achieve the first position technology-wise; to accomplish this goal more than 8% of our yearly turnover is spent in R&D activities.
We also have a plant in Germany – a large recycling plant, not a small laboratory - where customers can go and bring their material so that TOMRA Sorting Recycling can test what is the sorting solution that best suits the client’s recycling needs, the sorting technology that is better for their recycling plant. TOMRA Sorting Recycling is not only a supplier of sorting units, but also a provider of expertise, on the recycling process as a whole; a little machine is not enough for the customer, the customer wants information on the complete sorting plant and on the best solutions to make the plant efficient. For instance, if you start at the beginning with the right pre-treatment of the material, the final product can be of a higher quality. That is why TOMRA Sorting Recycling also wants to understand the clients’ needs and their type of recycling plant, and where to put our sorting units. TOMRA Sorting Recycling is unique, different from the competition, as we give our customers the maximum security, which is key as the client invests money.
TOMRA Care has different elements: from finance to service onsite 24h day, 7 days a week. Customers invest their money and units have to work h24, 7/7. TOMRA Sorting Recycling is next to them from the beginning to the end. Our assistance does not end with the machine supply, but with the end of the product lifecycle.