REDwire Optical sensors “operate flawlessly” in recycling application

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A total of 60 Baumer SmartReflect sensors and five O500 sensors support the functional safety of the largely automated sorting and waste disposal system.

Returning, sorting and recycling packaging materials is a must as many companies push towards greener operations. 

These materials often include used PET bottles and containers, as well as large quantities of cardboard packaging. Genossenschaft Migros Zurich, a large retailer in Switzerland, operates a recycling plant, which enables resource-friendly disposal of packaging waste. In doing so, the company relies on Baumer optical sensors

A total of 60 SmartReflect sensors and five O500 sensors support the functional safety of the largely automated sorting and waste disposal system.

Six days a week, from 4:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., approximately 200 trucks transport about 3,500 container pallets of packaging waste from the Greater Zurich area to the plant. Placed on pallets, these containers run through the extensive paths of the sorting system and are automatically emptied. In the final step, the empty “collapsible containers” are also automatically folded up, stacked and palletized. 

Before the sorting system was put into operation, this had been a manual process that not only took much longer, but was also “hard work.” Given the enormous amounts of PET and cardboard waste processed at the plant, one thing is almost unavoidable: heavy soiling of the plant by paper dust or sticker residues from PET containers. 

The Baumer SmartReflect ONDK laser sensor fits the bill in these conditions. The retro-reflective sensor does not require a separate reflector. Instead, a closed light beam is set up using a random machine part. The sensor is reliably tripped as soon as an object is physically interrupting the light barrier. 

At Migros, SmartReflect is used for detecting pallets as they move through the sorting system. No reflector means there are cost savings for installation and setup. Above all, a vulnerable element prone to damage by soiling in the sorting system's harsh environment is eliminated.

This is confirmed by André Römer, facility services manager and project manager at Migros Zurich. 

“Baumer SmartReflect sensors operate flawlessly and we haven't had any trouble so far. The great advantage of these sensors is that no reflector is required, yet we can still enjoy all the benefits of a retro-reflective sensor.”

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Baumer Inc.

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