From an ecological point of view, it makes fundamental sense to recycle raw materials such as wood and non-ferrous metals instead of burning or discarding them at the end of their initial useful life. In addition, the demand for wood is rising - partially due to the fact that products of all kinds are increasingly being made from renewable raw materials. At the same time, efforts are being made to restrict the utilization of forests to some extent (forest conversion) or to prevent it completely (protected areas). As a result, the exploitation of waste wood is gaining in importance.
In Germany, more than two million tons of bulky waste are generated annually. Depending on the regional disposal concept, up to 50 percent thereof consists of wood, predominantly old furniture. Manual sorting creates, on the one hand, employment opportunities for low-skilled personnel; on the other hand, however, it can be cost-intensive. This can have a negative impact on the actual recycling ratio.
Recyclability is furthermore dependent on sorting quality. Pre-sorting by the consumer only helps to a limited extent, as a lack of knowledge concerning the precise material composition leads to many incorrect discards.
Trained employees in waste-management companies can easily recognize wood-containing parts from pre-crushed bulky waste, but they are not infallible. Until now, commercially available sensor-based sorting processes on the basis of conventional color-camera technology have been less able to reliably detect wood-containing components from chunky waste mixtures. Prior shredding of the entire bulky waste is laborious and the sorting results remain inadequate.
The imaging methods which we utilize generate additional information which a sorting employee does not have. Our vision: By means of an “intelligent” system, bulky waste can be sorted accurately and fatigue-free - even without prior shredding.