This release is available in Spanish.
TECNALIA Technological Corporation is studying an innovative method based on multispectral artificial vision systems to enhance the value of electronic scrap which currently represent 4% of urban waste in Europe.
The aim of this project, known as SORMEN, is to develop a technology for the separation of scrap metal from electronic waste based on a system of multispectral vision and incorporate it into the process of a recycling plant. This new machine overcomes the limitations of current, basically manual, methods which consume a large amount of manual labour and time and which are unable to separate metals whose characteristics of colour, shape and weight are similar.
The solution proposed by TECNALIA enables the separating of elements of the same colour - such as aluminium, nickel or stainless steel -, employing the recycling of these materials to the full. It represents a highly significant advance over other techniques of separation based on colour vision and useful for other processes such as separating lead impurities, from copper for example. In the case of aluminium, for example, the system designed by TECNALIA will enable the recovery of between 30 and 40% more of this metal.
Currently Europe generates more than 6.5 million tons of electrical and electronic waste per year, of which more than 90% goes to waste dumps.
One of the current problems facing the correct recycling of electronic scrap waste is that it contains many different materials that cannot be separated with current technology. Dismantling electronic equipment requires manual tasks, making the process labour-intensive and very costly. For example, with television sets, only the cathode-ray tubes are dismantled while the rest is crushed up. With other equipment, only the larger parts made of aluminium, copper or i
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