A new benchmark for sorting aluminium alloys

The newly developed STEINERT PLASMAX | LIBS promises to sort three products in one run, undertake a novel multi-spot analysis and deliver purity levels of more than 95%. As a leading supplier of sorting solutions for the recycling industry, STEINERT is presenting its new LIBS sorting system during the ISRI Convention in Las Vegas (15-18 April 2024) and during IFAT in Munich (13-17 May 2024). Designed specifically to sort ready-to-smelt aluminium series 5xxx and 6xxx, it is setting new standards in efficiency and precision.

Numerous innovations, for example the novel multi-spot analysis for ideal material detection, form part of the STEINERT PLASMAX® | LIBS.

3 products in one sorting run

With a capacity of 3 – 6 t/h, the STEINERT PLASMAX® | LIBS enables one of the most efficient solutions for aluminium alloy sorting.

If you ask leading figures and visionaries in the recycling sector the direction in which they see metal recycling heading, they will often come back with: sorting aluminium alloys. STEINERT responded to this trend back in 2016 with the STEINERT LSS and is now launching the second LIBS sorting system. 

Replete with numerous innovations, the STEINERT PLASMAX | LIBS is the solution for high-purity separation of aluminium series and can handle large volumes. Delivering purity levels in excess of 95%, the new LIBS system achieves high quality levels, enabling the sorted product to be fed straight back into the production process. 

What is LIBS technology?
LIBS stands for “Laser-Induced-Breakdown-Spectroscopy”; a technology used to analyse materials down to their elemental composition. A high-energy laser beam is directed at the aluminium, evaporates material and produces a plasma heated to several thousand degrees, which then disintegrates into light emissions. Spectral analysis can be used to determine its elemental composition and aluminium can be separated with very high levels of precision.

Volume sorting with maximum precision
With a processing capacity of 3 – 6 t/h and three material discharges at the same time, the STEINERT PLASMAX | LIBS makes what is probably the most efficient processing of high-grade aluminium scrap possible and therefore meets all current industry standards.

The new sorting system brings together several technological innovations and combines them on the tried and tested STEINERT KSS platform - a symbiosis, promising maximum quality and reliability. The compact design also makes the sorting system very easy to integrate in existing systems.

Karl Hoffmann, Global Sales Director Metal Recycling at STEINERT, summarises what drove the development: “Precise sorting of aluminium with the STEINERT PLASMAX I LIBS delivers quality levels that produce an excellent basis for the increase in demand for recycled aluminium. Given the need to decarbonize the automotive industry and its supply chains, greater use of high-grade recycled materials is essential. I am delighted that, through the STEINERT PLASMAX I LIBS, we are able to present a technology that we have developed in house and that is once again setting new standards in the circular aluminium economy.”

A new approach to sorting aluminium
The material starts to be processed as soon as it is placed on the new feed system. A specially developed multi-stage feeder ensures that the conveyor belt is covered perfectly. 

Next up is 3D detection and an ultra-precise in-flight detection: in other words, detection immediately after the material has left the belt. With the aid of kinetic energy, the material flies in a stable parabola through the laser unit. The novel multi-spot analysis uses several laser measurement points simultaneously, which accurately strike the material at right angles, to guarantee optimum detection. 

The plasma produced when the laser pulse encounters the aluminium is analysed using AI and, a moment later, separated into one of the three discharges by a compressed air pressure pulse. 

Presentation in Las Vegas and Munich
Customers who have had the opportunity to test the STEINERT PLASMAX | LIBS so far are impressed by how it performs. They are able to achieve high throughput rates and produce high-grade fractions, enabling them to tap into new potential sales. The sorting system offers both operational flexibility and a key step towards a sustainable future through the efficient recycling of aluminium alloys.

The presentation of the new STEINERT PLASMAX | LIBS in April at ISRI in Las Vegas and in May at IFAT in Munich promises exciting insight into this and other sorting solutions for the future of metal recycling. We warmly invite anyone interested in this system to get in touch with our recycling specialists and learn more about the sorting system of the future.