TOMRA highlights wood sorting solutions at LIGNA  

Provider in wood sorting solutions presents new X-ray and deep learning-based sorting solutions for waste wood processing at LIGNA 2023.

As the industry aims to increase the use of recycled content in the manufacture of wood-based panels and improve cost efficiencies, the recycling of waste wood gains importance. High-precision sorting processes are a gateway to accessing recyclable materials and creating a circular economy for wood. Cleaning steps are decisive for the quality of the end product and the amount of recycled content new wood-based products contain.

TOMRA Recycling Sorting is active in the wood industry for more than a decade and is committed to supporting the industry with its sorting technology. In the last few years, TOMRA has introduced a new learning-based sorting solution and continuously optimised its x-ray transmission sorting unit to best serve the market. At LIGNA 2023, TOMRA will detail the advantages of its solution for wood sorting applications at its booth and on stage.

The company’s wood sorting portfolio comprises X-TRACT for the recovery of clean wood chips from waste wood and AUTOSORT with GAIN deep-learning technology for sorting by wood type. Wood processors and recyclers using a combination of both systems can reap benefits in the production of high-quality mono fractions of Wood A and clean Wood B and MDF.

Sorting and cleaning waste wood enables easier access to limited materials and keeps material in continuous use. Moreover, using recycled wood comes with cost savings in both material supply and energy costs related to drying in the production process.

High-precision wood chip sorting

In the first cleaning step, TOMRA’s X-TRACT removes any contaminants from waste wood to create a pure wood chip fraction. Due to high throughput XRT technology, metals, inert materials, plastics and glass can be detected and sorted out by their atomic density. The machine’s technology can detect wood chips with nails, compound materials and overlapping objects, increasing recovery and purity rates. Recent updates to the high-power x-ray source that TOMRA offers with a warranty of 16,000 hours, provide a more robust sorting performance.   

TOMRA’s X-TRACT for waste wood applications

TOMRA has also recently expanded its service team to ensure minimal downtime.

Haunerland, technical manager at Rheinspan said, “We are using X-TRACT for several years. Since the end of 2021, we are using the machine with the upgraded x-ray source. Thanks to its stable performance and easy maintenance, we are producing more fractions.”

TOMRA’s new X-TRACT for wood sorting produces a fraction that can be further processed into mono materials that meet manufacturing standards. To deliver recycled materials that comply with quality standards, recyclers must recover different material types from the wood chip fraction, especially the high demand non-processed wood and particleboard production. Until recently, separating wood by material type has been a bottleneck in increasing recycling rates. But these challenges can be overcome with innovations in deep learning sorting technology.

Pure MDF fraction

TOMRA was said to be the first to introduce deep learning-based technology for sorting wood by material type in 2021. Available as an add-on for its AUTOSORT units, GAIN deep learning technology is trained to distinguish different material types, such as processed wood and non-processed wood. Thus, recyclers profit from operational flexibility and have the means to create high-purity fractions of one material type. Jose Matas, segment manager wood at TOMRA Recycling Sorting said, “Combining X-TRACT and AUTOSORT with GAIN, recyclers can profit from a wood sorting solution. The materials recovered help overcome current challenges like price volatility and the lack of sufficient high-quality recycled materials.”

Wood sorting process with TOMRA technology

TOMRA invites the industry to visit the team at booth D24/1 at LIGNA 2023. Visitors can listen to Jose Matas’ presentation on the LIGNA stage on 18 May 2023 at 10:20a.m. to learn more about the company’s solutions.