Waste battery recycling firm G&P Batteries has increased the capacity of its automated battery sorting line, believed to be the first of its kind in Europe at its facility in Darlaston, West Midlands.
The technology is programmed to recognise and separate the most common battery brands which make up around 80% of waste portable batteries collected, while less common battery brands and chemistries are then removed by hand.
G&P has worked with the equipments developer Swedish firm Refind Technologies to expand the capacity of the line, which is now able to sort around three million battery cells per week.
The technology uses a sensor to capture images of each individual battery that passes along the machines main conveyer, comparing them to batteries that have been previously sorted and using compressed air to propel the batteries into different containers.
The machine also compiles data about the brand, model, size and chemistry of all the batteries that are sorted, which can be used for analysis.
Under its old configuration the battery sorting line could process around five batteries per second, and if running at full capacity, up to a tonne of batteries per hour. The company says the new set-up has now doubled the capacity, and will see it able to handle roughly 2,000 tonnes more batteries per year.
G&Ps managing director Michael Green, said: The vast majority of the volumes handled come from the most common brands and the original system streamlined our sorting processed and significantly increased the volumes we could handle. As the first company to install this ground-breaking technology we have been in an ideal position to work closely with Refind Technologies to improve and refine the system and this new version has doubled our capacity.
Whilst we will always require the expertise of manual sorters, for their experience in accurately identifying the lesser known battery brands and chemistries, the systems developed by Refind Technologies continue to make a positive impact on our business efficiency.
The companys site in Darlaston was hit by two fires early in the year, involving lithium waste batteries. However, G&P described the damage caused by the fires as minimal and has not seen any disruption to operations at the facility (see letsrecycle.com).