Equipment, News, Sorting and separating equipment

Turbo Separator ideal for difficult waste streams

Separating different waste streams has come a long way since manual extraction was the method of choice – not that there were many options available. Commercial magnetic separation first began in the 1860s when brass was separated from iron. The world’s first eddy current separator is said to have been developed by the Bird Group in the UK in 1981. In the 1930s, optical separation was in its infancy, being used in the agricultural sector to separate fruits and vegetables. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it was being used in the waste industry on an array of products.

Yet despite the development of the technology there have always been issues when it comes to cleaning up the various waste streams. Whether it be due to the weight of a product (wood and concrete), or contaminated containers (yoghurt or butter still in a receptacle), there are still challenges ahead for those running MRFs – and getting a clean waste stream is at the top of the agenda.

Enter the Turbo Separator. Manufactured in the US, one of the distributors in Australia is waste specialist Wastech.

The Turbo Separator is designed for separation of different types of waste streams. For example, if users want to separate loaves of bread from the packaging, it can do so, which means that it can create a clean waste stream of bread that can be repurposed and recycled.

“The system is designed with a number of different paddles and screens within the unit,” said Wastech’s national business development manager Scott Russ. “The paddles will separate the bread and the packaging, and depending on your screen size, you will get a certain size of product that you want.

“There is no other type of machine that can do this type of separation in the marketplace in the world. That’s what’s unique about the Turbo Separator. It can tell the difference between something that is organic and not. It can even separate food from cans.”

Russ, who has more than 15 years’ experience in the waste industry, including more than a decade with Cleanaway, has not seen a product like it. He said it is possible to get a clean waste stream, or a product that you can repurpose, with about a 95 to 96 per cent efficiency in the separation of contents.

“You’re able to then divert the liquid from say, a milk container, or Tetra Pak,” he said. “You can separate the packaging in an outfeed conveyor. You can separate a food source to the point that we have a few customers in Australia that are separating coffee from coffee pods, using the Turbo Separator.”

How does the unit actually work? There are several internal paddles, which can be bought for the machine. The paddles work to separate each piece of waste – the type of paddle being used will depend on the type of waste streams that needs separating.

“The paddles will push those waste streams to different screen sizes,” said Russ. “It will then divert the waste stream down one conveyor and divert, say, liquid through to the pump to another area. Then it might divert the packaging to another outfeed conveyor so you can really segregate the waste streams. There is even one paddle that can be used for the separation of plasterboard so you can separate the paper from the plaster.”

The footprint of the Turbo Separator and its associated plant and machinery will depend on how many waste streams users are dealing with, and the appropriate infeed and outfeed conveyors needed to make sure all is running smoothly. According to Russ, the footprint would probably be an area of 10 by 10 metres at a minimum. And metals?

“Customers like to have metal detection in the system as well,” said Russ. “You can remove any ferrous products before it goes through the separator. Obviously, any metal going through the unit can cause substantial damage.”

The throughput of the unit depends on what people want to use it for. It is capable of processing anywhere from 600kgs through to 20 tonnes an hour. Wastech has already sold a number of units throughout Australia to different waste management companies and resource recycling businesses, with most units being sold capable of processing between five and ten tonnes an hour.

Russ said he is getting a few enquiries from Asia, but it’s not just the system itself that is piquing their interest.

“I recently had discussions with companies out of Asia that are wanting to get information on the system,” he said. “And while they have purchased similar systems in the past, they haven’t had the customer support and it’s unfortunately failed. The good thing about Wastech and its products is that we offer a very good reputation in the marketplace when it comes to back-up service.”

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