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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Fraunhofer Laser Technology Research Institute develops laser scrap metal sorting machine

Fraunhofer Laser Technology Research Institute develops laser scrap metal sorting machine

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-01 Click:26

Fraunhofer ILT and Cronimet Ferroleg, a metal waste and recycling group based in Karlsruhe, Germany, have jointly developed a laser based metal waste sorting process. Their goal is to improve the industry's access to such raw materials. This development is part of the PLUS project funded by BMBF in Germany.

ILT stated that their newly developed sensors make the recycling of metal raw materials more effective than before.

Previously, ILT also participated in the EU project REVaMP: In this project, experts from Fraunhofer ILT have contributed their expertise in material analysis since January 2020, making important contributions to ensuring efficient supply of raw material resources.

The lifeblood of the German economy - industrial production

According to ILT, "Germany is an industrial producing country, so our social prosperity largely depends on the supply of metal raw materials such as chromium, nickel, copper, and cobalt. However, as their demand increases, these metals are becoming increasingly scarce commodities. Due to mineral resource shortages, the recycling of raw materials plays a decisive role in curbing shortages and is an important source of metal raw materials for Germany and Europe."

Recycling Metals - Balancing Ecology and Economy

·Improve resource utilization

Unusable scrap metal, such as pipes, metal plates, tools, old cables, electrical and electronic waste, and old parts from household or demolition, can be melted, classified as metal or alloy, and reused with almost no loss of quality.

·Emissions of less carbon dioxide

In fact, it is reported that once this new method is used, it will make the expensive, technically complex, and sometimes highly dangerous traditional mineral resource extraction no longer necessary, nor will it require transportation. Due to the high material value of these waste metals, this process can ideally recover costs and produce less carbon dioxide than the primary mining process.

·High risk solutions

The key to the problem lies in the fact that the price and availability of metal waste, as well as its recovery rate, depend on many interdependent factors: price fluctuations in the primary market, product lifecycle and its collection rate, losses during processing, technological recyclability, and the value of related alloys. The market is correspondingly volatile. If the price of primary metals increases, the supply of waste will decrease, and vice versa. These uncertain factors bring high risks to enterprises.

The Dawn brought by Laser Sensors

The development of laser based sensor technology has improved future metal recovery.

In this context, Fraunhofer ILT collaborated with Cronimet Ferroleg from Karlsruhe, Germany GmbH has developed a new laser based sorting process from Karlsruhe, Germany. This sensor technology was developed as part of the PLUS project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), making the detection and sorting of alloys in metal waste faster and more accurate. In 2020, the experimental factory was put into operation at the Cronimet Ferroleg base in Karlsruhe and achieved significant results. Among them, it is designed for processing high-speed steel, abbreviated as HSS.

"High speed steel cutting tools contain valuable alloy elements such as cobalt, which can be found in any hardware store, such as in drill bits or milling heads," said Dr. Cord Frick Bregmann, who was responsible for material analysis at Fraunhofer ILT and led the PLUS project with the assistance of doctoral student Fredrik Schreckenberg.

The common process is limited to laborious manual measurements of a few alloys. On the other hand, Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) developed by Fraunhofer ILT for PLUS is a technology that can recognize over 20 special alloys in even small waste parts - automatically, quickly, and without the need for contact. Frick Bregmann said, "In a very short period of time, we can process more waste and achieve higher levels of purity. Through this approach, we are building an important bridge between research and industry."

Future Technology in Europe

As part of the EU project "RevaMP for Efficient Use of Variable Raw Materials in Metal Manufacturing Processes" launched in 2020, Fraunhofer ILT is now contributing its expertise in material analysis at the European level. The project is planned to last for three and a half years, supported by an alliance of companies and research institutions from Spain, Poland, and Germany.

Frick Bregmann said, "Our goal is to put the knowledge collected in the PLUS project on a universal basis, regardless of the alloy involved. We hope to establish a sensor that can be installed in existing industrial factories to fundamentally improve the efficiency of the recycling process."

About the PLUS project

Project PLUS: "Laser based Special Alloy Sorting Experimental Factory"

The PLUS project was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from January 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020, with funding from the "r+Impulses - Innovative Technologies for Resource Efficiency - Pulse of Industrial Resource Efficiency" initiative.

Project partner: Cronimet Ferroleg.

Cronimet Ferroleg. from Germany GmbH

ILT, Fraunhofer Laser Technology Research Institute, Germany

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