The recycling of metal scrap is an important and sustainable alternative to the mining of primary resources, and is aimed at conserving finite reserves of mineral ores. Such metal scrap is frequently contaminated, however, and is available only in various alloys sizes and geometries. Such scrap is currently manually sorted, to permit the valorisation of such contaminated, mixed materials. The PLUS project is developing an innovative sorting technology based on laser systems for sorting of mixed metal scrap. This will make it possible to efficiently recover and more cost-effectively valorise alloys containing high amounts of useful metals. More than twenty alloys are to be differentiated within various material groups, such as “high-speed steel”, for example. This laser-based sorting technology will thus make it possible to boost resources efficiency and the value chain simultaneously.
The cooperation partners are using laser-emission spectrometry methods for the industrial pilot installation. Compared to manual sorting, laser-based sorting offers the advantage that measurements of the scrap can be made quickly and without contact. In addition, the entire analysis process and single-fraction classification are to be automated in the course of the project, permitting greater efficiency in the use of such resources.