3 October 2019 by Lucy Pegg

Equipment news round-up (03/10/2019)

With news on: Whitham Mills to explore AI; BHS opens test centre; Biffa MRF revamp, and; UNTHA shredder at Meplas site.

Whitham Mills to explore AI

Whitham Mills is to formally explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology

The machinery manufacturer hopes that the AI will be able to predict machinery faults and maintenance requirements on customers’ sites, thus reducing baler downtime.

Whitham Mills is exploring how AI can be integrated into its baler technologies

It will investigate adding the new technology into the control panels on all new machinery to provide feedback regarding the health of the machine to both the customer and Whitham Mills’ team of service engineers.

According to Whitham Mills, the new technology will be capable of analysing working parts of the machinery, including oil levels, electrical health, working temperatures, pressures and consumable usage.

Ben Smart, managing director of Whitham Mills, said: “We are continually thinking about service response times and with the addition of AI we can pre-empt the breakdowns or planned maintenance for as little disruption to the customers’ operation as possible.

“In the future we’ll be able to anticipate things such as consumable usage and equipment servicing.”


BHS Sonthofen opens €3.8 German test centre

Recycling equipment manufacturer BHS Sonthofen has unveiled a new €3.8 test centre in Sonthofen, Germany.

At the site BHS will perform production-scale tests on all machines and processes offered by the company. The investment has expanded and modernised from the old test centre and has extensive facilities for mixing, crushing, filtration and recycling within the 1,720 square metre site.

The investment also includes a modern dedusting system that exceeds the requirements of the Federal Immission Control Act (BImSchG).

Dennis Kemmann, managing director at BHS-Sonthofen, said: “BHS-Sonthofen considers itself first and foremost a specialist that develops optimal process engineering solutions in collaboration with its customers.

“This is where we set new industry standards with the test center. The center allows us to map various processes and chain individual machines into systems on a much larger scale than before, as well as enabling us to set up more units overall.”

The test centre will be running by the end of September.


Biffa upgrades Aldridge MRF with TOMRA technology

Biffa has invested in sensor-based sorting technology from TOMRA at its Aldridge Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Walsall, West Midlands.

Five brand new TOMRA AUTOSORT units will sort and recover PET, PE, mixed plastics and metals at the facility

The Aldridge MRF is one of the largest in the UK and processes up to 300,000 tonnes of recyclable materials each year. The site now uses TOMRA AUTOSORT units to sort and recover the target fractions of PET, PE, mixed plastics and metals.

Th AUTOSORT units use near infrared (NIR) and visual spectrometers (VIS) to recognise and separate materials according to type and colour, extracting fractions with purity and value. Biffa also chose units with TOMRA’s SHARP EYE technology which enables single-layer PET trays to be separated from PET bottles.

Gavin Russell, sales engineer at TOMRA Sorting Recycling, explained: “By investing in the very latest technology, Biffa now has an extremely reliable and efficient solution in place, and is well-placed for any process changes made at the plant in the future.”

Neil Arlett, divisional engineering manager at Biffa, added: “We’ve installed TOMRA Sorting’s equipment at a number of our plants throughout the UK, so know what it can achieve in terms of improving plant efficiencies and material quality.”


UNTHA shredder installed at Recyck and Meplas site

An UNTHA shredder is tackling difficult waste at a new facility from Recyck and Meplas in East Yorkshire.

The UNTHA XR3000C mobil-e with two 132kw motors and 50mm screen has been installed at the category-3 licensed waste plant.

The site can receive, shred, treat, extrude and pelletise a range of materials including LDPE film and other plastic packaging from food factories, even if contaminated by animal by-products.

The site can also handle mattresses, carpets and biomass.

“It’s our mission to take tougher waste streams and turn them into something really exciting,” said Rob Andrews, Recyck’s managing director.

“We can process 200 mattresses per hour for future fuels, for example, manufacture one-pass biomass with minimal fines, or handle AD plastics for either remanufacturing or alternative fuel production.”

Julian Lamb, UNTHA’s sales director, said: “So many people are focusing on processing the ‘good’ – or easy – material but where does that really leave the UK’s environmental agenda?”

“Only by developing ways to treat dirtier, more complex material will be able to establish truly closed loop models that turn more ‘waste’ products into reusable resources.”

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